Monday, April 13, 2015

Teaching Then and Now

Horace Mann has been providing insurance and investment services to teachers for 70 years.  I am a customer.  I received this celebratory flyer from the company and I was immediately transported back many years.  There I stand at the front of the classroom in the old Tipton High School building, these rows of desks fastened to runners such that the custodian can sweep, move the row, sweep, oil the wooden floors.  Each  morning the rows are a few feet left or right of the position they occupied the previous day.

The slate boards, the chalk rails, the blonde maple teacher's desk all as they were when they represented the furnishings in my fiefdom.

Now if you read my scrawls on the advertisement you might mistakenly conclude that I did not like my job.  But if you have been reading String Too Short to Tie for any length of time you know that I considered my job as a teacher to be the best job in the world.  Of course, that includes my tasks as a teacher from the office as principal of a school in the last eighteen years of my career.  Anyway, the reason I am happy that someone else is now occupying the teaching position is that teaching and life itself are ever-changing.  It is not that I would not appreciate the new technologies or even new techniques, but rather it is the case that we serve during a season of service in our lives, then we pass the torch on to the young, to those with the strength, enthusiasm, and endurance to carry on with the task.

Bless you, teachers, wherever you practice your art.  I would not trade places with you.  Nor, I think, would you want to trade with me.  It's all good.


Vee said...

I think I can smell the oil and feel the chalk dust in my eyes. The "good old days."

Secondary Roads said...

I'm finding this season of my life filled with marvels and wonders.

vanilla said...

Vee, "the good old days." Memories are wonderful, but even better, I awakened this morning to another day in which to make new memories.

Chuck, somedays I think it is a marvel that I am still here, and a wonder I can get out of bed to start my day. ;-)

Lin said...

I think teaching has changed very much since you left the role. Now, there is so much required state testing and prepping for that. And the parents---they are really difficult to deal with too. And everybody has "rights" and you have to be politically correct and all that stuff. Yuck. I think there are far too many obstacles to teaching the kids nowadays. I imagine if you went back you would find it frustrating.

vanilla said...

Lin, I am not unaware of the impediments to quality instruction today. I know I would be frustrated. The seeds of these circumstances had already germinated, nay, the plants were in full flower, by the time I left the ranch.