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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

 

COURSES OF STUDY, EMPHASIS DIFFERENT IN SCHOOL TODAY
Wednesday, June 15, 1977


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PIX #1 - Identify these teachers - After 45 years it was very difficult to idenitfy all of the faces in the above photo. Several people tried, so please forgive if some mistakes were made. The photo was taken in 1931 or 1932. Front row, left to right: Janet Miller, Mamie Cramer (Richards), next one unknown, Opal Van Dorn, next unknown, Alma Peters (Reiss), next unknown, Mabel Overholt, Mildred LaRoss (Harding), next two unknown. Second row: Blanche Wolf, Elizabeth Eisaman (Bloomgarden), Pauline Ray, Dorothy Ewan, next unknown, Edna Hatfield, Mildred Smothers, Marjorie Rosendale, Luella Moss, next three unknown, Third Row: Elizabeth Carter (Porter), Fern Augustine (Tong), Carlotta Zahm, Ethel Mowery, Mabel Bourquin, Pearl McCauley (LaRue), Mary Leisure, Marie Whiteman, Ida McDermott, Oneita Whiteman, next unknown, Hazel Stubbins. Fourth Row: Ina Sponslor, Katherine Snyder, Francis McCormick, Isabel Hunt, Ethel Crawford, Vera Eger, Catherine Griffith, Helen Crafts, next unkown, Alma Van Ausdall, Grace Thompson, Mary Chamberlain, Irene Plummer. Fifth Row: Ervin Kreischer, Ruland Smith, O.K. Caldwell, George Evans, Byron Stearns, Gayle Sommers, W.M. Hawk, John Swearingen, Les Crowl, Al Swady, J.M. Reed, Supt., Earl Smith, George West, C.D. LaRue. Sixth Row: Clifford Stubblefield, Dr. M.A. Prudden, school physician, L.G. Jones, George Knepper, next unknown, Wilbur Nixon.

PIX #2 - Edna Hatfield - She holds the record for long time teaching in Fostoria schools...53 years. She taught at Columbus Avenue for three years, then Corcker Street after it was built. She also did substitute teaching at junior high after retiring. During her years at Crocker Street she was also principal. They should never have demolished Crocker School, she said. It should have been mainteined to serve the children in the south end and thus eliminate busing. At 98, Edna Hatfield is still sharp about her teaching days, and always glad to see old students. I am indebted to her for assistance in supplying data for this series of articles.

PIX #3 - Ida McDermott - Anyone who went to "old Central" or the old Fostoria High will never forget her. She was an excellent teacher and principal... and a firm disciplinarian who commanded respect. she started at "Old Central" in 1892, becoming principal in 1895, and continued in that capacity until 1928. She continued teaching until retirement in 1931...a total of 38 years. "Remember, it is not the big things, it is not the conspicuous service that counts most, but it is simply being true to your stewardship", she said, in her farewell message to the graduating class of 1923, which I was a member.

There was a time in the Fostoria public school system when a strong effort was made to provide a balance between buildings and facilities on one hand with educational values...consisting of well trained and dedicated teachers, courses of study to prepare students for fruitful lives, and rules and regulations that would result in proper functioning of the schools for the benefit of both teachers and students.

My evaluation on that period stems from being a student in the local school system from 1910...graduating in 1923; and from a study of school reports published in 1900 and for later years.

It seems to me that more effort in later years and circumstances that have caused the shift.

I distinctly remember when the superintendent of schools visited the class rooms of the schools to be sure teaching techniques and results were satisfactory; when teachers' meetings were held regularly to discuss problems and improve teaching; when Parent-Teacher Associations were vitally interested in the schools results as related to education.

Also during the so called "better days" there was discipline in the schools. Whoever heard of assaulting a teacher? Such an infraction would have resulted in punishment, without interference from parents. The use of drugs by school age kids was unknown; and their use of alcohol was low in comparison to today. There was some smoking of tobacco, but again, at a much lesser level.

That period...produced many students in Fostoria schools who went on to continue higher education and who have made excellent records in their chosen professions.

Without preaching...without being too critical...it seems to me it is time for a return to former values in education, which calls for parents, who are the taxpayers, and those that administer school programs and teaching should compare notes on the basic needs of education. Elsewhere in this article are excerpts from earlier school reports which setforth criteria of another day...which are worth considering.

Here are some observations I have made in comparing the past and the present in regard to subjects taught in the public schools:

WRITING: I refer to penmanship, not sentence structure. Readers may remember when penmanship was considered an important subject...and rightfully so, since the ability to write legibly, so that others may read it easily and accurately, is of prime importance to communications. The teaching of penmanship involved the technique and practice of making vertical and slant lines, circles etc., so that the alphabet and numberals, when scribed on paper had good shape, uniformity and beauty as the student progressed in the study.

PHYSIOLOGY: How well I remember the subject as taught in the junior high when I was a student...the teacher was Ethel Pugh. It was one of my favorites, and I learned considerable about the human body and its function. Earlier than my school days they also taught phisiology. It consisted of such subjects as: parts of the human body; skin, nails and hair; food and drinks; tobacco and other narcotics. An understanding of the effects of the latter two could contribute to abstinence.

POEMS AND PICTURES: The beauty and thoughts expressed by the old art masters and poets of another day still remain with those who had the advantage of being taught those subjects in school. As a result their lives have been enriched, and I know that many poems can still be recited by them...even though perhaps not word perfect. Any knowledge many of us "oldsters" have of famous paintings and poetry we got from the schoolroom. Remember these: "Little Orphan Annie came to our house to stay"... "When the frost is on the pumpkin and the fodders in the shock"... "Between the dark and the daylight, when the night is beginning to lower"... and lots more.

BOTANY: This is a lost knowledge among most Americans today, because it has not been taught for so long. Today, the subject would probably be considered a part of the broader subject...enviroment. Fifty to seventy five years ago, students learned to identify many flowers, herbs, and trees that grew in the woods, fields and along streams. The wildflowers...dogtoothed violets, trilliums, dutchman's britches, johnny jumpups, purple gentians, etc. Knowledge of such matters develops respect and love for nature...a subject which is again gaining in popularity. Years ago botany teachers led their students to the wooded areas surrounding Fostoria for a first ahnd study and selection of wild specimens.

ARITHMETIC: One of the basics of education years ago waa arithmetic...which included the ability to recite the multiplication tables up to and including the 15's; also to add and subtract without the use of fingers. Today, kids are very delinquent in such abilities. They prefer the pocket computers. What would they do if batteries weren't available to operate them.

Yes, the 3-R's are still important in my book...as well as some of the others mentioned aobve. And, I realize there are differences of opinions. If more space was available it would be good to explore the subject further.

Whenever "dedication" has been mentioned in this series of articles I have thought of the many teachers who gained much of their experience by teaching in 1-room country schools before moving to the city schools by electric interurban and or foot. Then starting a fire in the old potbelly stove to warm up the room before the kids arrived.

That "dedication" also included going to summer school to get their teaching degree...and all for a salary of $25 or $30 per month.

That "dedication" included personal interest in the kids, their special problems, and often the kids' family problems. I know because I had a sister who was a teacher...and I have talked to many teachers.

Teachers do have real problems with some of today's youth...and their parents. The permissive attitude of today...the extensive use of TV in the home...plus myriads of other problems that have produced a decline in our society, which in turn has deteriorated interest in education as it existed some years back. History permits us to select the good and reject the bad from the past, and use it for our betterment. And, so I have selected from school reports just a little bit of data for these articles, for readers' interest and consideration. Hopefully, all readers...including teachers, students, parents, school administrators...will consider it with an open mind, and use the best of it to further a very important job...the education of our youth.

Space has not permitted tributes to all of the teachers and administrators who have served the Fostoria school system. However, I have selected two teachers for special mention, and you will find their photos and short remarks herewith.

Considerably more could have been written about our schools, and the people involved with them, but at least for not this is finished.