The good old days not all they’re cracked up to be

Duncan – Re: Move back in education?

Sept. 11 I don’t think so! I attended Ontario schools, too – in 1930s and 1940s from Grade 1 [five years old – Depression days, no Kindergarten] to Grade 13. Of the 150 of us who started high school, Grade 9, about 40 of us reached Grade 13 [1946], two classes of 20 each. About 10 who graduated from Grade 13 went on to some post secondary education.

Many of the rest didn’t graduate.

We had an English teacher who hated teaching and if I hadn’t already been an avid reader I

would never have picked up a book again. She wouldn’t even qualify today; a French teacher who didn’t speak French; an art teacher who crossed over to the U.S. every weekend and got drunk and whom the boys used to collect on Sunday night; a math teacher who probably would be arrested today for assault – he used to “clip” boys on the side of the head.

There were a few teachers who were good teachers who taught because they liked teaching. There were no children with developmental problems.

They had already been sent to the hospital in Smith Falls. There were several who repeated grades, which was a humiliating experience for them.

They were often bullied. They usually dropped out by 16.

I was one of the lucky ones and was able to continue on – even though I was a girl who was good in math and science. I was not even encouraged to continue even though I received a provincial physics and chemistry award.

This is a different world today. Teachers are well educated today and are there because they like teaching.

They want to be able to inspire students to want to learn. We were taught to pass exams.

Trudy Thorgeirson Duncan

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