Vol.XIV No.VIII Pg.8
October 1977

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

It is "School Days again, and as I watch the buses gather the sheaves of this generation, another generation comes to mind. Reluctant boys walked through Bryant's meadow, and dropped books to throw green walnuts.

Male teachers were "Professors" in those days. Sounds stiff and formal, but actually' they were quite, human. For a three-question Latin quiz we were told each question would grade 30%, and neatness made the other 10%. I knew nothing, but copied the questions carefully, decorating my paper with Spenserian shades and curves. Professor Hinton gave me only 8's, and when I complained (naturally), his eyes twinkled as he said, "You signed the paper on the wrong side."

Prof. Bryant was Mr. School" in our town. If Calister ' missed a question he'd say, "Laymon, stand up and answer that question so you can laugh at Cal." And if Laymon did it, he'd say, "Oh, you're a dandy! If I had 40 boy's I'd name 37 of them Laymon Then he'd give Cal another chance.

Two boys asked to be excused one afternoon so they could attend a big "Meeting" at the Methodist church. He let them go. 'Then, the next afternoon he asked the boys to stand and tell the class what the preacher had said. They did, in great detail. Whereupon Prof. Bryant praises this as a remarkable feat, inasmuch as the big "Meeting" had closed the day before the boys asked to be excused.

Educational philosophies continue to cycle: old math, new math, and back to old math. The one-room class gave way to careful student grading, which gave way to one-room class, and now some more grading. The old discipline was "cruel", the new freedom "deprived the youngsters of needed discipline," so the latest thing is the old discipline. Even in our Bible classes, "modern methods" often turn out to be loaves and fishes borrowed from denominations, where they failed. The best teacher seems to be the living example of dedication to learning and living. This teacher attracts the pupil who wants to learn, and those two can have school on a log.

A certain grandpa "tested" two young would-be fishermen by placing a can of worms on one side of the porch and an empty can on the other. Squeamish youngsters had to carry the worms, one at the time, across the porch. It separated the fishermen (persons).