Tender Teacher

Sharing stories about my personal and professional life as a teacher.

Archive for the ‘School’ Category

2) A Little Bit of Nothing

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It’s wonderful outside this morning at a crisp dry 66 degrees.  By the time I watered the flowers on the porch, the sweat that I had worked up while riding my husband’s stationary bike had dried in the friendly, mild breeze.  So, I’m delaying my shower for a bit, because I have a thought weighing on my mind, and I want to “throw it out there”.

So much has been written about our public schools, and how they are failing, and what to do about it.  Just had to take time to comment about this from my perspective.  When I was a child there were many children who grew up without an education.  An older relative of mine never went to school more than a few days, because she kicked the teacher, and wasn’t able to learn like the “other children”.  She was considered unfit for school.  There were many many children who were handicapped because of behavior or mentality, and they never attended school.  I don’t know the statistics of how many lower-functioning children did not go to school in the 1950’s and 1960’s, but I do know that all of these children would be in school today.   This is fortunate for them, their families, and our country, because they have a chance to become contributing citizens.

What seems to have been forgotten is that a lot of these children (who aren’t the best test takers even in ideal situations) are now included in the test results in most states in the US.  When I went to high school just the students in the College Preparatory Courses took the SAT.   Now, I understand that most high school students take the SAT.  How can we compare these previous scores to the scores of today and get accurate comparison?  Also, in most of the countries, who we compare our scores with, special education is either not available, or is just developing.  Again how accurate is that comparison?

There are so many variables when comparing test scores, not to mention the drastic changes in our society that have affected our children.  I think we should give up considering our teachers, and public schools as “failing”.   That’s a defeating and negative attitude.

We want our schools to be the best they can be, and we should ALL work towards that positive goal.  We all want our children to have the BEST education possible.  Let’s accomplish that by further implementing  what has been proven to bring up scores in the last eight or more years.   We should help our teachers with accommodations such as: more teacher aids, after school/summer programs, and better teacher education.   These accommodations/programs have improved the test scores of  schools in academic failure.   It just doesn’t make sense to take away the very programs that have improved our children’s education/test scores.  I wonder if the accommodations/programs were available for all schools, all the time, not just the “failing” ones, if our country would soon excel when compared to other countries.  Makes SENSE to me!

I’ll go take my shower now.


Written by kjskjp

September 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

1) A Little Bit of Nothing

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North Carolina Sunset

Image by discopalace via Flickr

Today is one of those lazy days of summer, even though it is September the 8th.  The temperature will be in the 90’s again today, and the land is dry and parched.  It has been hot in most all of the eastern states from the north to the south of the US since mid June.  In Ohio where many of the schools are not air conditioned the students and teachers have been melting in the temperatures of 80’s and 90’s.  I remember days like that, so, I am happy today that I am sitting here in my air conditioned North Carolina home.

The past three years since I retired have flown by.   I truly miss the satisfaction of seeing children learn to turn on their own self control, and to be able to accomplish a lot more than they thought was ever possible.  I miss most of all seeing the “light bulb” of finally understanding concepts shine brightly in my children’s eyes.  However, teaching was on my mind twenty four hours a day (My dreams were even about teaching.), and because of political pressures the stress level built more and more each year, especially for dedicated teachers.  So, I’m fortunate to be able to give my time to my family, who were sorely neglected, during those 28 years that I gave totally, the year around, to education.  HEY, there’s even a little bit of time left for me.  I got a manicure and a pedicure for the first time a few weeks ago!  AND here I am enjoying blogging.

Forties – School

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Downtown Marietta, Ohio along the Muskingum River

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I started to school in 1948.  Just want to try to paint a picture of what school was like way back then.  First of all, I think it’s important to mention that I liked school.  I went to an old school that was a two story brick building that looked very substantial.  It was built at the confluence of two rivers in Ohio, where the lazy Muskingum emptied into the beautiful Ohio.  It was a peaceful and educational spot, but the school had been flooded many times, and it had to be replaced when I was in the fifth grade.  The flooding had taken its toll on the coal fired boiler, oiled wood floors, plaster, and foundation.

You entered the school into a huge hallway that had two opposing wide stairways going to the second floor, and the ceiling was probably 24 foot high in the center.  The classroom ceilings were about twelve foot high.   My first grade classroom was lined on one side with chalkboards, and two sides with windows that stretched from the hot water heaters to the ceiling.  There was a cloak room located across the front of our room where you placed your coats, boots, and lunches.  You marched in one side door, placed your items where they belonged, and came out the door on the opposite side.  It was an imposing place.

Our wrought iron and wood desks and seats were attached to the wood floors with big screws, and the back of your seat was attached to the desk behind.   There were no adjustments for size.  Luckily, I was of average size, so they were comfortable for me.  I could appreciate that seating arrangement years later when I taught school, and a few restless children could move their chairs and desks around, and make a lot of noise which interrupted class for all the other attentive students.

My worst memories include walking by the huge black coal furnace in the basement to the lunch room.  I could feel the heat, and hear the fire roaring.  I can remember having to summons up courage to make that trip.  And then there was the time when I was turned around in my seat with one arm back on my desk, and whack, I felt like my fingers had just been sliced off.  My teacher had enforced the rule that you face the front, with a ruler!  Needless to say, there weren’t many discipline problems in those days.   If the class became too noisy the teacher would just quietly take out the paddle (which almost never was used), and she/he put it on her/his desk.  I can remember the room becoming silent, and everyone getting back to work.

One of my best memories is going to the board to do work.  Everyone loved going to the board, and they had their hands up begging to be chosen.  It was a wonderful way to keep everyone’s attention, and to give attention to individuals.  AND then there was the day I went to school and my art picture was hanging on the bulletin board (along with all the other children’s), and I felt so proud when the teacher told us how nice they were.   Another fond memory is of playing on the playground at three recesses each day that the weather was good enough.  There were so many games to learn such as: Mother May I, Jacks, Hop Scotch, Red Rover, Jump Rope, Fox and Geese, and of course, Hide and Seek, and It.  We got lots of exercise at those three recesses during our first through our sixth grade years. The change of pace and healthy exercise cleared our minds, and we entered the classroom ready to learn again.

Written by kjskjp

September 7, 2010 at 2:30 am

School has begun, or is about to.

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Excitement is in the air whether you are a mother, a father, a new student, a teacher, or a former student!  That’s probably about everyone.  I bet when you went to your favorite store you bought something new from the school supplies department.  Didn’t it feel good?

Don’t forget those nutritious lunch snacks!  They are fun, and something to look forward to at school.  OH, and the after school treats, low calorie, but they are special for boys and girls with good school reports.  This is just the beginning of making school enjoyable.

Written by kjskjp

August 28, 2010 at 5:46 am

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