Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Learning More Than Learning

Back when kids had it all.
It was my day to help out in one of my grandsons’ classes.
A few hours spent with a group of 6-year-olds.
Inquisitive. Enthusiastic. Happy.
What could be more fun?
The teacher was bustling about the classroom as the kids gradually assembled. As they took off coats. Stowed backpacks and gear.
The bell rang.
“Class!”
The noise slowly subsided as the kids found their seats.
“Class!” she said again.
A few more sat down. Looked at her.
“Everyone’s eyes up here!”
This time, she managed to collect all but one.
“EVERYONE!”
Finally, all eyes were on her.
She proceeded with the day’s instruction.
I was suddenly remembering my own school days.
We assembled in an older building. Dark hallways. Tall ceilings. The smell of decades of chalk dust and wood varnish in the air. Creaky wood floors.
Our teacher, a larger woman, would always approach the classroom from the direction of the staff room. Because of the floors, she could be heard the moment she stepped from the stairwell.
Instantly, there was a commotion as kids found their seats and set out textbook and scribbler.
Because woe be unto anyone who didn’t have their book open and their mind obviously ready to learn when our teacher appeared in the doorway. We didn’t know exactly what would happen, but we knew it would be something earth-shattering. Even the class clown knew to sit down and shut up.
A few days ago, I asked my Dad what he did when he was in school. His reply? “We were expected to be sitting quietly with our hands folded together when the teacher appeared.”
Huh.
Today’s kids have everything necessary to learning.
Why do I feel they are missing something?

16 comments:

  1. Although I do feel as though kids these days are less respectful, I worked in my kids' classes all through their elementary school years and I have to admit that I think a controlled atmosphere in which they feel comfortable is more conducive to learning (and particularly to being comfortable asking questions) than I was back in the day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a point! I was never very comfortable asking questions . . .

      Delete
  2. They are missing that trembling anticipation we felt as teacher took over our lives for the day.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I went to Catholic school during my elementary years, and it was a sorry student indeed who wasn't quietly reading when Sister entered the classroom!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Yes, there are a FEW differences, then and now!

    Our teachers from Gr P to 6 never had to call us to order. Even the bad boys! There was much more respect granted to the teachers then. I was shy with them, but I can't say I was ever scared of them; maybe I was lucky.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We respected them. And knew that if we were struggling, they would take us home, feed us and work with us until we mastered the concepts.

      Delete
  5. Oh yes….it is VERY different nowadays. Too many of the students disrespect their teachers. But they get it from home---the parents blame the teachers of not doing their job. Ugh!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're so right! It's funny. When I failed, my parents got after me. Now, if a child fails, the parents get after the teacher!

      Delete
  6. We played in the school yard until the bell rang, then lined up outside the classroom and marched in to stand beside our desk to say good morning Mrs (or Mr) then we sat with hands on our heads until roll call was finished. Things changed a bit from Grade three onwards, we no longer had to stand by our desk or sit with hands on heads for roll call. (attendance)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Growing up changes us in so many ways! :)

      Delete
  7. Oh, yes children of this era are missing something. This brought back a load of memories. I do feel we were more attentive then than now. However, I must say the children of today are probably a bit smarter than we were or our children. Hugs for this one!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're right! My kids and grandkids were taking concepts in math by grade nine that I studied in grade twelve!

      Delete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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