School Days

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Labor Day has passed and that “use to be” the beginning of a new school term. It was exciting to walk into the class of your higher grade, dressed in the latest school fashions and meet your new teacher. This lasted a few days until this little ditty surfaced. “School Days, school days, dear old golden rule days. “Readin’ and riting’ and ‘rithmatic’ taught to the tune of a hickory stick.” Let’s take a trip back to the good old days. I do not remember seeing a hickory stick, but in every teacher’s, desk was a paddle. Corporal punishment was deemed necessary for discipline. You did not complain of this to your parent. Their rule was “If you get in trouble at school, you are in trouble at home also.” That kept you walking a straight line. My biggest offense was talking to my desk mate and that did not warrant a paddling. I confess that I did have to stay in at recess often. Thinking back, I know that few of our early grade teachers opened that drawer. The paddles did not follow us to SHS. A damaging affront sent you to the office to face the principal, and that was fearful. Compared to curriculums of today, SHS was lacking. We had no guidance counselors, physical education, Career and Technical Education, advanced placement, higher math and science and a strange subject called STEM. Even without the extravagant curriculum of 2022, our students received an education that produced teachers, ministers, doctors, nurses, dentists, lawyers, political leaders, business owners, successful farmers, military leaders and many other contributors to society. We did not have the curriculum, but we had outstanding, dedicated teachers who fulfilled our needs. Guidance counseling took place when you stopped by to visit a teacher. Recess outside in the fresh air kept us active. Discipline became a part of our lives not from the paddle but the example of our caring, dedicated teachers and ‘readin’ riting’ and ‘rithmatic. Write to Shirley at sptwiss@gmail.com.

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