I’M JUST CURIOUS – School: then and now

by Debbie Walker

I believe most of us went to school as children, different years, and different eras in some cases. To start, just in my family, there was dad and mom’s generation. Yes, we all know dad walked 30 miles to school, rain, shine, or snow and that’s after the chores were done.

Mom I discovered was in the top of her classes. I know they studied the three R’s, ‘Reading and ‘Riting and ‘Rithmatic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick. Mom used to sing that for us.

Then there was my generation. Our school had four grades in the two buildings in town. One teacher for each of the two grade rooms. No kindergarten, just 1-4 and 5-8.

I imagine the teachers had plenty to complain about. I am reasonably sure my teachers have all gone to their reward by now. I bet they would have plenty to say about what their days were like.

After having volunteered in a classroom for two-and-a-half years, a thought crossed my mind. I have no idea what my daughter’s class days were like. I didn’t know how she was taught. What was the ‘theory’ behind the math style she was taught? The Common Core Math being taught now in Maine, oh, brother, it’s crazy!

I am not writing any of this as any kind of criticism of the teachers now. Believe me, from what I saw in those volunteered years I really don’t know how they do it without a volunteer or aide in their room. There is so much to be taught and, of course, there are children at different skill levels. My example would be the reading. The teacher must find a way to teach them all. They must make time for the computer-generated tests. And I don’t want to get started on that one!

There are possibly stations, in their classrooms, for their different types of class work. The teacher might be at the table teaching one level of reading to a group. There would be the group who sit at their desk and finish some class work, and there is probably a computer station for another group to get in their number of minutes for the week. There may be a library corner and a group will be there reading quietly, hopefully. Keep in mind now, the teacher must teach her group activity plus oversee the other stations. Imagine how that works out with one or two little ‘actors’ in the class.

Teachers must keep a schedule going all day. They must deal with morning break, lunch, and afternoon break. A lot of people think teachers get paid such a high wage. If you figured all the hours teachers work, including time they need to use on the weekend to prepare their classroom for the next week, hours they use up in the evenings, yes, divide those into their salary for hourly wage. They wouldn’t even be making minimum wage.

My intentions for this column was to give you a little view of the classrooms “then and now.” I’m sure you remember ‘then’ and I hope I gave you a look at ‘now.’ These are all my thoughts and opinions and not the responsibility of The Town Line.

I’m just curious how you remember “Then.” Let me know at dwdaffy@yahoo.com. Thanks for reading and have a great week!


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