Saturday, June 6, 2009

Five, Six, Pick Up Sticks (Part One)

Fifth grade. Oh My.  My teacher was Minnie R. and she was seventy-two when she taught us.  It was a year of strict rules, rulers being slapped on the desk, boys being sent to the office for corporal punishment, of silence behind three sided desk-dividers that she called our "inglenooks".  

One of her methods to "promote" reading in the classroom was to have us read aloud to the class, but the reader had to stop when he or she made an error.  That meant the poor readers in the class got through maybe a sentence or two before the next kid went.  Her theme was "self-control" and she liked to whack the side of our desks with her ruler as she patrolled the classroom looking for anyone breaking one of her many, many arcane rules.  

I shudder to think of her teaching methods in the classroom.  It was one of those years in which I kept my head down,  and tried to not get noticed.  I could see my classmates, especially three or four of the boys, being humlilated with her outdated methods of teaching and of discipline.  It broke my heart even at the time, but I knew better than to say anything lest the ruler come down upon my desk....

What I learned that I carry over to my teaching today:

 1) Shame and humiliation have no place in any classroom.

 2) Know when to step aside and let a younger generation of teachers have their turn in the classroom.


Brian said...

Although I had nearly straight A's all through elementary school, this one teacher I had for half of fifth grade gave me nothing but B's and C's and used to throw blackboard erasers at us when we talked in class. I, too, tried to keep a very low profile.

Suse said...

I agree!

Bossy Betty said...

Brian--That is terrible! Markers are much better to throw!