A Happy Childhood

One of my many blessings is that I had a happy childhood.  I ‘m so thankful that my parents were Christians who took me to church.  I learned about Jesus and what was right and wrong.  I had a huge extended family that showed me unconditional love.

This brings me to the point of this message.  Many children do not have happy, secure, loving home lives.  As a teacher I have seen many children who are sad because of broken families, alcohol, and drug abuse.  Many are being raised by single parents, grandparents, aunts, or foster parents.

During my 28 year career as a teacher I saw many students who were negatively affected by a difficult home life.  Now as a substitute I see this problem getting worse.  I often have students make comments about their home life.

I’m going to share 4 conversations that I’ve had recently with children that have broken my heart.

 

boys-in-creekThe first incident happened near my house.  On a very cool day there were children playing in the little creek by my house.  They were out there for hours.  I saw no parents or adults around which is unusual these days. Finally I went out to talk to them.  One little boy’s tennis shoes were so wet and muddy that he had taken them off.  I told him, “Your mom is going to be so upset about your shoes.”   He replied, “I don’t have a mom.”  Later I found our his mom was in rehab and he lived with his grandfather.  How sad that a mother puts her drug habit ahead of her children.  The people who don’t work with children don’t realize how often this happens.  Prayers for this child, his mom, and his grandpa.

Another sad conversation occured at the end of the school year while I was substituting in a first grade class room.  The assignment was to complete a four part organizer for writing.  They were to list or draw 4 things they planned to do over summer break.  Most kids wrote about going on vacation, riding their bikes, or visiting grandma.  One little boy drew four pictures all pertaining to his dad.  I sat down beside him while asking him what his scribbly drawings were.

Here’s what he said they were.

  1. Fishing and hunting with his dad.
  2. His dad taking him to shoot guns.
  3. Riding a four-wheeler with his dad.
  4. Hanging out with his dad.

It was obvious that he didn’t see his father very often.  I quietly asked him if he lived with his dad to which he responded, “No.”  I asked him if he saw him very often.  He stated,  “I see him sometimes.”

This scenario broke my heart.  I could sense the yearning the boy had to spend quality time with his dad.  I pray that this little guy got to spend time with his father.

The next incident happened in a third grade classroom.  A sweet 8 year old girl was writing in her journal.  The assignment was to write a story that starts with “I wish…”sad-girl

She wrote about how she wished her grandpa hadn’t left her grandma.  Then about how her grandpa kept his house cleaner than her own house was.  She continued on about how she wished she could go see her grandpa.

Needless to say she was affected by divorce.  I’m sure she missed the security of having grandparents in a loving marriage.  I just can’t imagine my grandparents being apart.  How fortunate I was to have grandparents who loved one another and me.

The last child I’m going to tell you about was a little boy in the second grade.  For some unknown reason he told me he lived with his dad and step-mother.  He proceeded to tell me that his mom lived out of state, and he didn’t see her very often.  The reason being that her husband wasn’t very nice to him.

Oh, the emotional pain these kids go through is heartbreaking.  This made me think about how much I love my children and my husband.  It reminded me that I would never allow a man to be mean to my children.  Also, I have always loved my children so much that I would never have wanted to live in another state without them.

Please say a little prayer for this boy, his mom, and step-dad.

What can be done to help these children? Maybe you can be a mentor for a child who is in a bad situation.  CASA is an organization that helps foster children. casa You could be a CASA volunteer or donate to this group.  Could you be a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters Organization or lead a Boy or Girl Scout troop?  We all could get an angel off one of the trees in your local stores.  angel-treeJust showing kindness to a little child may make them a little happier for a while.

If you had a happy childhood, you should thank your parents if they are still living.  If not, you may want to share with a loved one how special your childhood was, and tell them how thankful you are for it.  Unfortunately many children can not say they are thankful for a happy childhood.  Thank God,  I am one who had a happy, secure childhood.

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School in the 50’s-60’s

My elementary school was three stories.  The floors were wood and were oiled to keep the dust down. It definitely was a fire trap.

Until I was in eighth grade my school contained classes from grades 1-12

The teachers wrote on chalk boards and it was an honor to be the student who got to go outside and dust the erasers on the old oak tree.

The school now is all on one floor.  The floors are tile with a few rugs the teachers have bought themselves.

Elementary schools now are pre-school to 5th grade.  Middle school 6-8th grades and high school 9-12 grades

 

Now teachers write on white boards with dry erase markers or smart boards with electronic pens.

Our school was heated by a coal furnace which produced steam heat.  We had no air conditioning.

Going into second grade was exciting because you began learning to write in cursive like grown-ups.

In first grade we learned how to count and write our numbers to 100.

Many schools today have geothermal heating and air conditioning.  In some schools you can’t even open the windows.

Now many educators see no need to teach cursive writing since everyone has access to computers.

Presently most first graders come in already knowing how to count and write to 100.

They are taught to add, subtract, and much more.

Fourth graders had to memorize the multiplication facts.

Fifth graders started on fractions.

Algebra was introduced as a freshman, and geometry as a sophomore.

Today both fourth and fifth graders can use calculators to do multiplication problems and they were introduced to fractions in kindergarten.

Kids in elementary school are introduced to simple Algebra and geometry terms.

The only extra curricular activities for girls were cheerleading, FHA, or Glee Club. No girls sports except high school track after the consolidation of the 3 high schools.

There were no African-Americans in my elementary school.  Segregation was still enforced.  In seventh grade one Hispanic family moved to town.  In ninth grade integration started and there were African-Americans in my high school.  A few students from Cuba were enrolled, too.

In reference to discipline the teacher and principal were always in the right.  The paddle was used.  For most students if they got a paddling at school, they got a whipping when they got home.  Writing lines was also a form of punishment. Class sizes were larger and no teachers had instructional assistants.  In fact the principal didn’t even have a secretary.  The smart girls in the school got to help him out during their study halls.

 

 

Now days girls can play basketball, softball, volleyball, track, and tennis.

 

 

Today in our schools we have a more diverse population.  It is common to share a classroom with African-Americans, Hispanic, and Asian students.

 

Now teachers use behavior charts and give awards for good behavior.  No paddling allowed.  The only punishment used in elementary schools is to walk laps for getting your clip moved down. Many don’t respect the schools’  authority,  and many parents blame the teacher for their child’s bad behavior or grades.

Since the consolidation of the high schools the principals have had secretaries.

If you lived within a 1/2 mile of the school you walked to school.  No parents walked with the kids and no crossing guards.  Most others rode the school bus.  Parents very seldom drove their kids to school.  Most mothers were stay-at-home moms, didn’t have an extra car, or couldn’t drive.

It was a big deal if a policeman showed up at school.  High school kids could smoke cigarettes out behind the school.  No other drugs were ever heard of in elementary or high school.  Boys brought knives to school and I don’t ever remember anyone getting stabbed or shot. No sex education until high school.

Old reel projector

In elementary school we only had books , paper and pencils, and a chalkboard.    When in high school  a new teacher sometimes showed old reel type movies in history class.  Other than that I don’t remember any kind of media used in the classroom.  I never remember working in a group in grade school.  I do remember a  group project  for a history class and working with a partner  in biology when dissecting animals.

Very seldom do you see a child walking to school.  The bus picks you up right in front of your house and when you get off waits until you get into the house.  Lots of parents drop their kids off at the front door of the school and pick them up.  There are after school day cares to care for the children of moms who work outside of the home.

Students, teachers, and parents aren’t allowed to smoke on school grounds.  We have in school policemen.  There have been many school shootings reported throughout the nation.   Sex and drug education is part of the curriculum.

Presently teachers use the smart board to write or teach in all educational areas.  The chrome books are a huge part of a student’s education.   Use of the internet has caused the use of encyclopedias  to be a thing of the past.   Group work is common  in classrooms today.

 

In the 50’s and  60’s special needs children didn’t go to public schools.  Blind and deaf students went to their own schools(KSB & KSD).  ksd ksb_editedSeriously handicapped students just didn’t go to school.    I think this changed about 1963.

Each day the teachers chose 2 students to say prayers and read from the bible daily during the noon announcements when I was in elementary schools. prayer                                But now prayer has to be initiated by the students.

From 3-8th grade students were allowed to walk home for lunch or walk downtown to a local restaurant.  Some piano students even walked to their piano instructors house for their piano lessons during school hours.  There was no supervision during these times.   Before consolidation  the entire school had recess at about the same time.  Yes, from high schoolers to first graders would be out on the playground.

Teachers just taught what was in the text book.  Individual work was done.  No group learning was done in elementary schools.  We had very few academic group sessons in high school.  There was nothing such as common core then.  Standardized tests were given, but they were not published by the media.   Much less stress was put on teachers and students to raise scores.

In my opinion the school systems do a better job now in most areas, but there are a few things that were better in the 50’s and 60’s.  I’ll let you be your own judge on what is better and what is not.  I’m open for comments about what you think is better or worse now.

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The Day I Made Time Stop

Yes, I Made Time Stop

Whoever said that time never stops for anyone was wrong.  Read on to learn how I made time stop.

Teachers have all kinds duties besides teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic.  One year mine was breakfast duty which included wiping off tables and making sure there were no food fights or screaming across the cafeteria to a friend.

It was the Monday in the spring when time changed to Daylight Savings Time.  The round clock on the wall by the kitchen was an hour off.  It was just like the one in my classroom that was battery operated. (Which reminds me that we had to furnish the batteries ourselves.)

I thought to myself, “The kids are being good so I’ll climb up on this table, help out the custodian,  and change the clock to the correct time.”  When I got up on that table I tugged, but the clock was harder to get off the wall than the one in my room. So I gave it a stronger tug.

You won’t believe what happened.  Sparks flew out from behind the clock!  Not little sparks, but huge ones!  That clock was not battery operated!  It was an electric clock, and I had just pulled it off the wall.  Here it was dangling from the wall!

How I kept from being electrocuted and dying right there I don’t know.  Not only did I stop time in the cafeteria,  but all the clocks in the entire school stopped.  Also, the bell system ceased to work.

My principal told me I was fired.  But I guess he was just joking because I was fortunate to be able to teach 10 more years after this incident.  Here I was trying to help the custodian out and I ended up costing the school around $400 and almost losing my job.

It’s a funny story now, but believe me it wasn’t funny at the time.

Moral to the story:  Don’t try to make time stop.  It won’t work. But keep trying to help others out, even if it doesn’t.



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Is This Your’n?

is this_edited*Teachers have lots of funny things that happen in their  classrooms. Here is one of the funny teacher stories I’ve heard throughout my career.  The incident happened to a fifth grade teacher who I worked with at an elementary school in Kentucky.

 

Several fifth grade boys were in the restroom playing around when the teacher told them she was coming in.  She waited a few seconds .  When she peeked in there was water in the floor.

She asked the boys in her teacher voice, “Is that urine?’  Evidently she thought someone had peed in the floor.  One of the boys responded, “No , it’s not mine.”  She repeated in a louder voice, “Is that urine?”

Again, he answered, “No, Mrs. D.,  I swear it’s not mine!”  She asked the question again still getting the same response.  In her disgust she shouted ,  “Is it pee?”  I figure that young guy finally figured out the meaning of  ‘urine’.

As adults we often forget that many terms we use are over our kids’ heads.  This scenario reminded me of a time when I was a kid when I passed out.  Mom took me to the doctor and he asked me if I urinated on myself when I fainted.  I was dumbfounded.  I had no idea what urinated meant.  Mom rescued me and asked if I had peed on myself.  The moral to the story is….Parents, teach your kids the official word for pee.  It is not number 1 or pee.  It is urine.

Until next time

Mrs. B.

 

*PicArt was used for the picture.

 

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A Halloween Surprise!

spiderAt an elementary school in Kentucky where I taught learning disabled students Halloween was just around the corner.

5 male students were in my classroom, believe it or not,  quietly doing some seat work.  So I figured I would start cleaning

out a filing cabinet that was in dire need of organization.

I had worked about 5 minutes straightening and organizing the files when I stopped to help one of the boys with a

math problem.  I saw something black out of the corner of my eye and looked at the floor and saw a black blob which

looked like it had 8 long legs.  Yes, it was a spider.

Since it was so close to Halloween I just knew the boys were trying to scare me with one of those black plastic

spiders that you can buy for Halloween decorations.  “Oh, guys, you can’t scare me with a plastic spider!”  I laughed.

As soon as I said that I started to reach down to pick it up.  A scary thing happened.  It moved!  It was a real spider!

It was huge.  I screamed as the boys cracked up laughing.  I stomped it flat and made one of the boys put it in the trash

can.  I had disturbed it in the stacks of papers in the filing cabinet.    I’m sure those boys still remember Mrs. B and

how she wrongly accused them of trying to scare her with a black plastic spider.

Another surprising moment I had happened in that same room though with a different small group of students.

I had purchased a box of alphabet cereal for the students to practice spelling out their words.  When they had spelled the

word right with the ABC cereal they could eat their spelling word.  We did this once a week before the test.

It was time for us to start this activity so I walked over to the shelf where I kept the cereal.  I picked up the box and

guess what hopped out of the box?  A little gray mouse!  You should have heard me squeal.  I can’t remember where he

went or if we caught it.  But I do remember how fast my heart was racing.  The box of cereal got thrown away and from

then on I kept the cereal in tightly covered bowls.

mouse

Now, how did you like those two stories from my 28 year teaching career?

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