My years in the classroom as a teacher
Posted: Friday, August 27, 2010 3:01 pm
By: By Hyla Richardson, Special to The Press
WCP 8-26-10 My first venture into the field of education as a teacher was in the fall of 1940 when I became a teacher of the lower four grades in a two-teacher school.
I had just finished two years of college and had received a Permanent Professional Elementary Certificate.
That certificate qualified a teacher to teach all grades one through eight. During those two years in college I had taken courses that were designed to teach those who wanted to teach how to teach.
Psychology courses were also included in the required courses along with many other subjects that were designed to make students who wanted to teach become good teachers.
I’m sure that those subjects helped me in several ways. However, I found out that each person must develop his own methods to get the desired results.
That school was located in the community where my mother had grown up and I knew most of the students and some of them were my cousins.
I had the choice of walking the three and one-half miles or riding horseback to get to that school.
When I walked, I crossed a river on a swinging bridge. It was made of strong heavy wires and boards woven into the twisted wires.
On other days, the horse I rode waded the river unless there had been heavy rains. If I rode when the river was up, the mare swam across.
The woman who was principal had been teaching at that school for several years and the distance from her house to the school was at least seven miles.
Sunshine, rain, snow, or sleet, she rode her horse day after day. There was no such thing as calling off school.
Each room had its own stove for heat and it was also used for cooking prunes and whatever else the government provided during the winter. Those foods were added to the lunches the children took from home. The day began at 8 a.m. and ended at 4 p.m. There were three short recesses, one in mid-morning, following lunch, and the last one about the middle of the afternoon.
The games were simple ones such as town ball, similar to baseball, jumping the rope, hopscotch, London Bridge, and ante-over. I enjoyed the games with the students.
Before Christmas came, I decided that I might be able to earn more than the $53 a month somewhere else. I persuaded a friend to take my place. She didn’t have a teaching certificate.
However at that time, it was possible for a person to take a teacher’s examination and be allowed to teach after passing the test.
That was what my friend did and finished the school year and at that time it was eight months in length.
Editor’s Note: Hyla Richardson is a retired school teacher who now resides in Dresden. Her column will run throughout the school year on Thursdays in the Weakley County Press. This column is a historical account of the retired teacher’s years in the classroom.