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Friday, 2 September 2016

Things Have Changed

Since the kids will be going back to school in a very few days (sorry kids) it got me thinking about my public school days.
I started school at a pivotal point in public school history.  Out in the country the old one room schools were still in use but their time was limited.
My first school (I went there for six grades.) was a small yellow brick one room school with a boys and a girls entrances, cloak rooms and chemical toilets.  It was still being heated with a wood stove at the back in 1954 just like in pioneer times.  We had a huge grey and white crockery barrel with a spigot at the bottom which the big boys kept filled with cold water from the well for hand washing and drinking.
Both sides of the building were lined with high windows that opened at the top for ventilltion.  The windows were raised just high enough that little people in desks couldn't see anything out of them but sky.  The front wall of the room was lined with chalkboards in front of which loomed the teachers desk.  One corner at the back held an ancient bookshelf floor to ceiling lined with dusty old books no one had looked at in years and the other corner held the water crock and a work table.  The desks were arranged by size in rows down the middle of the room.
One teacher looked after eight grades and ruled with an iron fish, a long pointer and a whipping strap.  Even the older boys lived in fear of public punishment with 'the strap'.
In those days you could still teach public school with a grade eight education but things were about to change drastically and continue to change with alarming speed for the next several years.  At the end of my sixth year there was a new school built that had (gasp) separate classrooms for all the grades, central heating and air conditioning, a library and a gym.  Would you believe that both boys and girls all filed into the building through the same door?  This little country girl  was in shock.  The next year my family moved and guess what....I was back in a one room school again.


7 comments:

  1. I would love to hear more about your early schooling. One room classrooms were common in the country here, but I never attended one. I am pretty certain that boys and girls used the same door too.

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  2. it seems so long ago that a bookcase in the classroom was the library. I went to Catholic school where we had 16 classrooms, 8 for the boys on one side of the building and 8 for girls. We were not allowed to mix and woe to any who was found on the wrong side. The schools today are multi million dollar buildings but most still don't have air conditioning. I hear my grandchildren complain all the time. You sure were lucky to have had it then.

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  3. BTW, Delores, is that your grade school class picture?

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    1. Yes it is...probably grade one or two. That's me, first on the left second row up,

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  4. Wow times have changed I never went to a one room school house but My Hero did. I love looking back at old class pics. B

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  5. That school picture is fantastic! I was going to ask which one was you, but I see you already told Arlene. Do you still keep in touch with any of those kids? Evidently, you and I started school the same year, but our experiences are quite different, which makes it even more terrific to hear about yours. You've described everything so well, I can practically see it.

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    1. No, I haven't kept in touch with any of those kids. We all lived so far apart from each other there wasn't any visiting back and forth outside of school hours.

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