October 5, 1988
From This Distance the Old School Was Fine
By ELEANOR MARTIN
Am I the only one around who remembers the one room schoolhouse? I remember. I attended one.
"School days, school days dear old golden rule days, Reading, writing and arithmetic, taught to the tune of a hickory stick."
The teachers in those days really liked to teach. They were the teacher, the principal on down to the janitor, in the winter building fires in a cast iron stove, even binding up cuts and bruises.
On cold winter days when snowstorms blew in, we would leave our desks and form a circle around the wood stove. The younger students felt so warm and secure.
It's no wonder they picked up so much knowledge, hearing the adult classes at close range. The children of today seem to mature earlier, and are so smart, with high tech and related subjects- traveling down a road which I never knew.
The pay for teachers was very low and those who got into teaching for money soon got out.
No foreign languages were taught, and we did not have the equipment for chemistry. The demand was not great. Peer teaching was very effective, the older students helping the younger ones. Every one cooperated, that is why it worked so well.
Spelling bees were one of the school's Friday programs, a review of the week's spelling lessons. The pronouncer often was one of the older students. One Friday things were going along well until he came to the word biscuit and he pronounced it byscoot. It brought the house down. The teacher had to come to his defense. "Quiet! Quiet! Everyone can make a mistake." Long afterward he was known by his classmates as Mr. Byscoot.
The superintendent came to visit our school and asked a little boy what subject he liked best. Without hesitation he said recess.
When recess came we played "Annie Over," batting the ball over the schoolhouse roof from one side to the other.
I remember one teacher teaching us as if we were college students. He would say put your books away and he would lecture for one hour. In the hot September days, with no air conditioners, no fans, I was bored and wasn't interested in anything he was saying and would almost fall asleep. This at an early age.
After the consolidation of schools my school was claimed by fire. I now have only memories.
Some parents were upset over busing small children to school saying bigger is not always better.
I lived in Breckinridge County, went to school in Meade County, and received my mail in Hardin County. You guessed it. Big Spring, Kentucky.
In the winter when school was dismissed we would race home. My sister and I had to get in the wood for the night. We had a fireplace, but heated with wood stoves. When that was finished we would look for the cookie jar, and sometimes find a package of fig bars from Uncle John's Store.
Those were happy days, so carefree.