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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

One Day, One Room

Okay...how many of you attended a one room school?  Hands up please.  I said hands...oh...nobody?  Good grief, I just slipped over the edge from vintage to antique.
How well I remember that first day.  Girls and boys entrances, cloakrooms, chemical toilets, rows of desk ranging from miniature to adult sized, high windows, chalkboards and the teachers desk up front.  There were musty dusty bookshelves (which were to become my best friends) and a wood stove (yes, you read that correctly).  A big clay barrel with a spigot was filled with freshly pumped water every morning for noon hour hand washing and drinking water.  
We were sorted according to grade and installed in the correct seats.  This is where we would sit for the remainder of the school term.  No jockeying for position next to best friends.  No problem.  I didn't know one single person there.
Not one row of seats had a full compliment of occupants.  I think maybe there might have been 20 pupils.  Not much of a work load for the teacher you might say until you realised she had eight grades to keep organised and working all at the same time.
Ah that first day of school.  Everyone dressed in at least their second best for the occasion with strict instructions to 'not get dirty'.  Yeah..right.  All through grade school little girls always wore dresses or skirts.  Never did you see a girl in shorts or slacks.
At morning recess we were marshaled outside to the front yard for exercises.  One long row of kids from grade one down to grade eight.  "On the count of three every second child jump out to the left."  What?  Oh good grief, I can't remember which way is left.
Talk about panic.  Eventually we formed two shorter rows and off we went on the exercises until teacher decided it was time to go back in and get down to business.
Other recesses we had splintery swings and see saws to play on.  In warm weather we might have a game of baseball in the afternoon recess.  As I recall, that's how one of the bigger boys broke his leg.  
It may not have been the best education but I have always been glad I had the experience of a one room school.
Today the grandies are back to school...one very happy and excited, the other dreading another year of captivity.  I identify with the second one.


32 comments:

  1. WOW! That is so interesting...please tell more.

    DId you know Laura Ingalls?

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    1. JK about the Laura Ingalls thing.

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    2. Cute Joeh......no, we weren't on the prairie lol.

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    3. I wasn't kidding about hearing more.

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    4. I'll see what I can dredge up from my ancient memory banks lol.

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  2. When I started school there were easily 30-40 kids per classroom and that was the same for each grade.
    I'm curious about the one room school though. All children were taught in the one room, so why were there separate boys and girls entrances?

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    1. Doesn't make much sense does it. I guess because the cloakrooms were directly inside the doors and we wouldn't want girls taking off their coats and perhaps adjusting their clothing in front of the boys. Sounds silly now doesn't it?

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  3. No one room school here either. I have read about them (often) but would be intrigued to read more from you.

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  4. My hand was up. You had it fancy with chemical toilets; we had outhouses. The potbelly stove burned coal. Water came from the neighbor's well with an outside hand pump; the bigger boys were chosen to go get the water. We played in the woods across the road; there was a swing set but not much playing room next to the schoolhouse as we were on a corner lot. I started first grade at age five, skipped second grade, and from then on was the youngest in any grade. It was not unusual for that to happen - three older siblings did the same thing. I doubt there were ever as many as 20 pupils in the eight grades. No, I am not over 100 years old and this was in Central NY state.

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    1. We had a huge yard with chain line fence around it. It was perfect for making leaf forts (you stuck handfulls of leaves through the links until it blocked out the view). We had our own pump and kids would line up at recess to pump and get a drink by cupping a hand under the spout.

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  5. We have what once was a one room school house near me. It is now a musium and is open once a month for a tour - a very short tour. Recently our school district voted to build a weight room in the newly renovated high school. The cost for this weight room is twelve million dollars. I have no clue on what a weight room has to do with education but it passed and we must now pay the bill. I wonder what your teacher was paid to teach all those grades.

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    1. I think it might be better if schools pared down to the basic essentials and spentmore time in the classrroom.

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  6. There is actually still a one room school house here where I live in the country. It is the Alternative High School for troubled teens, but it has indoor plumbing. So can I actually call that a one room school house? It's quite the cute little building. We also had a modern one room school house called the Boxberry School which housed grades 1 - 6 for some time, then they build a multi-room facility and moved to where they had lots of land for stuff like outdoor gardens and other activities. Much needed for special children who face multiple learning challenges. Very interesting post.

    I had to chuckle when you said "another year of captivity." True for so many, who see those years as drudgery and feel they will never end. Then, before you know it, you are an adult and as one of my grandsons recently said to me, at age 20, "this adult thing is difficult." Oh, if they only knew!

    Have a wonderful day!

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    1. We though school was torture but after we got out into the working world we realized how easy we had it.

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  7. I never went to a one room schoolhouse either, I find it very interesting though. You have to respect a teacher who can take on the task of teaching all of the grades at once, even if it was only about 20 kids, some teachers today can't handle 20 kids in just one grade.

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    1. She seemed to have a standard plan that she ran through each day to keep us all busy while she spent time with a lower class.

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  8. Why do girls wear dresses? How did it happen that men were able to evolve into pants while women were left in skirts. I believe we all wore skirts at the beginning. What a battle it was for women to be allowed to wear slacks in the workplace. Where did I get started in this direction?

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    1. All the way through high school we had to dress as if we were going to work...skirts and dresses. Even for the first few years of working it was skirts and dresses. What a joy when they came out with office acceptable pant suits.

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  9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  10. Yes, I did. Twice, now that I think of it. First grade at Castle Hill and part of 5th grade/part of 6th grade, way out in the country. Mrs. Olson taught 6 grades. Chemical toilets? Wow, we had old wood privies in the back of the school yard.

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    1. I had the same teacher for six grades..Miss Belfrey.

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  11. I've seen many one room schoolhouses here in rural Ohio, but didn't attend one. My elementary school has been torn down and rebuilt. Maybe it's OK.

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  12. I went to a two-room school but it was fairly modern compared to yours. We had flush toilets and running water, and a furnace. My mom taught at a one-room school with grades primary to eleven. Grade 12 went to a nearby town. Most of our community leaders here went to one-room schools as well. They did all right in life. You don't need a big school, or a modern school, or a school with a hundred and one "extras" to get a good education and learn to think!

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  13. I've seen many of them here in Vermont, but none are in use now. Mostly they're homes. In Brooklyn, we had no one roomers. We had big brick or whitestone buildings, 6 classes per grade, 30+ kids per class. There was a certain amount of anonymity with that many kids around. Teachers could and did hit you in those days if you tried to be a hooligan. Ah, school days...
    x

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    1. Yes...there was 'capital punishment' in those days. Maybe not such a bad idea.

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  14. My first day of school was in our spanking new schoolhouse. With a spanking new everything! (My next older brother talks of walking up the hill from the old school (carrying all of his books) partway through the previous year.) But for me, we were the first grade ones to start there! Recess was a free-for-all of running, shrieking and falling down. Emphasis on the shrieking. . .

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    1. You were one of the runners and shriekers no doubt...I was the one hiding in the bushes under the school windows reading a book and waiting patiently for recess to be over lol.

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  15. School days, the good teachers ... the not so good teachers, but I enjoyed my school days.
    The grandchildren went back to school this week, and it was nice to see that all five were looking forward to it - long may it last!

    I always enjoy reading your posts, thank you.

    All the best Jan

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  16. I love your artwork and follow you pots this very minute!








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