My years in the classroom

My years in the classroom

Posted: Friday, January 21, 2011 12:02 am
By: Hyla Richardson, Special to The Press

The effort made by the teachers and pupils were the accepted way of doing things for no other methods were presented. There were small compensations that were much appreciated. The parents of the children placed their faith in the teacher and expected the pupils to do what the teacher wanted them to do. The pupils offered little resistance when they were asked to do their work. The older pupils often lent a hand to work with the younger ones. Not only did it help the younger ones, it strengthened the older ones as they reviewed the work.

An older couple lived between the school and home, and I often stopped to visit them. Sometimes I would be offered some treat such as a hot baked potato or a fried apple pie. I enjoyed visiting with them and my stopping gave them an opportunity to see another human in a day when no other person had been seen by them.

Shortly after Christmas I told the superintendent that I wouldn’t be back at that school because my husband would be coming back from Europe and we would return to the city where we had been living before he was drafted into the army. He returned in February.

School ended at the end of eight months and I turned in my last monthly report and a compilation of all eight months’ records and everything tallied. I got my last check of $102 for a total of $816 for the school year and I thought that would be the last check from the county.

That was not to be true. As luck would have it, on the first day of the next school year, we were in town waiting for the bus to come so we could go back for a two-week visit with my folks before returning to the city. The superintendent saw us as we waited and walked over and told us he needed someone to be principal of a two-teacher school. After a discussion, we decided that I would take that position. The superintendent told me to report after we returned, and begin the third week of school. He had already found a substitute until a certified teacher could be found.

Upon our return, we moved into a house that went with the school and I began the year to teach the upper four grades. I found that the pupils were good pupils. A teacher had taught there 10 years, and she had taught them well. She left to teach math in the high school in the county seat after having been at that school all those years. 

There were incidents that happened that made me decide soon after Christmas that I would not go back the next year. When I told the pupils that I would not be back, I was told by one of the seventh grade girls that they had made up their minds that they would get rid of any teacher who came so they could get the other teacher back. They wanted me to stay, but the decision had already been made.

I applied again for the one-teacher school where I had first taught and I was placed there again. Almost all of the same students were still there and I continued for a total of three years at that school. Those who were in the fifth grade the first year I was there finished the eighth grade that year. 

I no longer had to walk to school because we had purchased a pick up truck and my husband took me to school in the morning and came for me in the afternoon. At that time I didn’t know how to drive a motorized vehicle.

During the second year at the one-teacher school I decided to go back to college and work toward finishing my degree. In the county in which I taught, there was a two-year college and I had to go to a four-year college in the next county. 

The college I attended had classes on Sundays and I enrolled. All during that school year I went and then I continued the next summer and I realized that it would take a long time at that rate. However, I was determined to earn my degree even though I had many responsibilities toward caring for my family. I continued to go to college through my third year at that school.

wcp 1/20/11


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