Thursday, March 6, 2014

From the GriggsDakota Attic: School has Changed


There is history in the old paper that has spent many years in the GriggsDakota attic. These are old report cards from the 1930s. Each student had one report card and it lasted for the whole school year. It was sent home every six weeks, signed by a parent to prove perusal, and returned to school.
 Much of Grandpa Sonny's school history was carefully preserved in an old silk stocking box tied shut with a scrap of yarn.
It is surprising all of the things that teachers were encouraged to grade. The list encompasses attitude, capabilities and conduct. The photo above is from a primary report card and the teacher did not fill this page out. 
 Other report cards grade habits and attitudes including posture and health habits. I am particularly amused by the "Suggestions kindly received." I would enjoy grading that trait in my own children.
 Teachers at the time were usually unmarried women. Occasionally the teacher was a man, he could be married and have a family. A teacher was never a married woman. 
 During this time many rural schools existed in townships. These schools were run by one teacher who taught all the students in grades 1-8.
In the careful cursive writing of an unknown teacher, there is hand written poem.  
It is a declamation. Declamations were memorized and performed by individual students in county contests. It is written in ink. There is no author on the page. It is probably copied from a magazine or possibly a book.  The teacher's carefully executed cursive words are still clear on the fragile paper.
 Grandpa Sonny can still recite some of the lines from the poem. 
Our attitudes have changed regarding children, teachers, and education. The declamation is a good example of that.
A Boy's Choice

I'd rather take a w'ippin' than a scoldin' any day,
'Cuz a w'ippin' makes you tingle, but you go right out an' play.
An' after w'ile  you're over it an' 'en at dinner, w'y,
Your mother's awful sorry and she brings a piece of pie
An' says she hates to do it, cuz it hurts 'er 'ist as bad
As it does anybody w'en she w'ips her little lad.

An' 'en at night she kisses you an' puts you into bed
An' tucks the cover in an' says you'r Momma's turly-head,
An' my. She ist so lovely an' she sits beside of you
'Ist cuz she feels so sorry over what she had to do.
An' 'en she leaves the candle burn an' says for you to call
If you want anything from her, an' you ain't scart at all!

But w'en you get a scoldin' she don't never bring you pie,
Becuz you'll surely break her heart; an' 'en she starts to cry;
An' my, you feel so sorry, an you wisht she wouldn't cuz 
It shows you how you've grieved her and how turble bad you wuz.
An' all day long she never smiles; an w'en you go to bed,
She never leaves the candle burn, or calls you turly-head.

An' sometimes, you see big w'ite things a-lookin' at your bed,
'At makes you scart an' pull the covers up above your head.
An' 'en you s'pose how you would feel if Momma wuz to die,
An' by-um-by you feel so bad 'at you 'ist start to cry.
So w'en she looks at you so hurt an talks to you 'at way
I'd ruther take a wippin' 'an a scoldin' any day!
And here is the boy who never had a whipping or a scolding in his long life in GriggsDakota.

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