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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Break From Politics

I remember school desks such as the one in this graphic, another of my Facebook finds:

39 comments:

  1. I had those after we moved to the suburbs when I was in the forth grade. Where I started school in West Philly we had desks like this.
    https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRxqFQoTCMDM6ZXg88cCFYmgPgodKooD9A&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.liveauctioneers.com%2Fitem%2F7082110_oak-and-cast-iron-buffalo-ny-vintage-school-desk&bvm=bv.102537793,d.dmo&psig=AFQjCNG_-wFgQ-9cr4JG_qu58MZYBekG1g&ust=1442224784233621

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    1. And I actually did learn how to spell fourth. ;-)

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    2. Oak and cast iron? Wow!

      Those desks must have been very difficult to move around in a classroom.

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    3. They were anchored to the floor in nice straight rows. 60 or 70 to a classroom, and all occupied.

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    4. http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-KaR1IYRRiko/VWr3nY8sTZI/AAAAAAAAb_o/S_o5Mpydiow/s1600/11218906_10204691436662779_8923476411495004425_n.jpg

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    5. Indeed. The pose is classic. Classes formed lines in the schoolyard to enter or leave the building, at the start of the day, at recess, at lunch, and dismissal. No one ever wandered about. You raised your hand and awaited permission to ask a question.
      Unlike this class, we also wore uniforms. White shirt, navy blue pants and a navy blue tie with the school's monogram. Black shoes. Boys in grades 7 and 8 wore that under a burgundy blazer.
      Girls wore white blouses under a navy sleeveless jumper with the monogram, which had to cover their kneecaps when standing, blue knee socks and B&W saddle shoes.

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    6. Viburnum,
      The pose is classic. Classes formed lines in the schoolyard to enter or leave the building, at the start of the day, at recess, at lunch, and dismissal. No one ever wandered about. You raised your hand and awaited permission to ask a question.

      At the private school for I worked 18 years -- the best years of my teaching career -- all of those procedures were followed to the letter. That little private school cranked out few graduates, but many of them went on to Ivy League universities. Basic, traditional education works! Forget the bells and whistles, which are distractions!

      I come close to meeting the goal of basic, traditional education in the homeschool group, but it's an uphill battle. A lot of parents are "drinking Kool Aid" without even know that they are doing so.

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    7. " Basic, traditional education works!"
      It does. Did we resent all the regimentation? Of course we did. You don't learn to appreciate the methods until you get out in the real world and discover that your peers are substantially lacking in knowledge that you take for granted.
      My pet peeve when my children were in public school was that they were allowed to use a calculator to do math. Seriously?

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  2. Oak and cast Iron in primary school, but on short boards so they could be adjusted, the the above picture captured the ones in High School. The former much more comfortable as I recall. Three classes in a room. There were six in my class.

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    1. Bunkerville,
      From K through 3rd, I was in the single-grade-level classroom. After that, I was in mutli-grade-levels classrooms. Worked like a charm! For example, while I was in in 7th grade, I also paid attention to what 8th graders were doing.

      Voila!

      The following year I entered high school; there was no need for me to "repeat" 8th grade. The only academic subject which gave me trouble in 9th grade: math. My grandmother tutored me on weekends and got me all caught up in no time.

      My grandmother was a mathematical and teaching genius -- and with only an 8th grade education, too. She also helped me with mathematics and computer science in college.

      I attended small private schools from K through 12th. Very advanced studies with hours upon hours of homework. Education at the university was "a walk" after that.

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    2. Same here, as I moved up in the same class room, I took the time to read. Reading, one of the best habits and pleasures that I learned to love so much.

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  3. In the private school I attended from 4th through 12th, we had desks much like the one pictured in this blog post.

    The school got the desks for free -- or nearly free. The county system had tossed them out. These desks were made of all wood. No metal whatsoever. A little sanding and painting, and the desks were just fine for decades of use.

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  4. The private school where I taught from 1978-1996 had desks exactly like the one pictured in this blog post.

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  5. We had freestanding little desks made of blond wood with an enclosed shelf below the top to hold books and writing implements, etc. The top surfaces held a narrow, foot long indentation meant to hold pens and pencils. Each desk had a matching chair.

    That was in elementary school.

    In Junior High we had seats with "writing arms" attached. The Junior High building, once an elementary school and a grim relic from the nineteenth-century, was the oldest school building in town, worn and beginning to crumble. It was a shock to go from our beautiful, clean, modern grade school to this prison-like old pile of bricks.

    We had assigned seats, of course, and on "my" writing arm someone had long ago carved a crude picture of a tombstone with these words inscribed:

    IN MEMORY of THOSE WHO DIED HERE WAITING for the BELL.

    Perhaps the good old days weren't so good after all, eh? ;-)

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  6. FT,
    on "my" writing arm someone had long ago carved a crude picture of a tombstone with these words inscribed:

    IN MEMORY of THOSE WHO DIED HERE WAITING for the BELL.


    Nobody ever did this in my class -- either when I was in school or once I started teaching.

    Kudos to my school for making the effort to avoid boring education. Although we did have one teacher that droned on and on into the lunch hour. We had stopped listening to what he was saying a long time before he finally shut up.

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  7. We had those seats through Catholic High School.
    Shelf under the chair for our books.

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    1. Ed,
      An open shelf under the chair?

      I hated desks like that! All my messy habits showed.

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  8. In elementary school I had two types. A double desk with a friend on one side and an open area underneath fit my books and later, a single unit with a flip open top for my books. And of course brutally heavy wood and steel chairs.

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  9. I can remember wood/wrought iron desks, bolted to the floor, with inkwells.

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    1. And fountain pens that used them. ;-)

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    2. We had cartridge fountain pens.

      My grandmother, however, had the old-fashioned kind of fountain pen, one with a gold nib. I wonder where it is now? I can't imagine that I threw it away!

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    3. Jon,
      None of the desks I used in school were bolted to the floor. I wonder why not.

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    4. Dave,
      I remember those desks with the flip open top for the books. One private school where I worked had those, but the kids were forever forgetting that something was on the top, and the result was stuff all over the floor. Quite quickly, those desks were replaced with a different style.

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    5. "fountain pens that used them"

      Yeah, what a mess!

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  10. Maybe having desks like that, where you felt hemmed in a little, might help with the discipline problems they have in most schools today! It wasn't easy to GET OUT!
    viburnum says "sixty to a class"...and they learned back then, imagine? And probably weren't air conditioned.
    It shows you don't need the best equipment to teach if the parents care, kids know what discipline is and teachers are good.

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    1. Air conditioning? ROFL. Open windows if you were lucky, and in the winter steam heat with pipes and radiators that would give you second degree burns if you touched them.

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    2. The first building that my school used (4th-9th) was a historical building, a brick and plaster structure with very high ceilings. No need for air conditioning!

      The building had been used by Mosby's Raiders during the Civil War. So when I say that the building was old, I mean it! The building had been standing there long before the Civil War. The structure had a staircase like the one in Gone with the Wind and a narrow, winding staircase elsewhere for the slaves.

      And the boxwoods! They were everywhere -- very tall and fragrant.

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  11. Replies
    1. I posted about that building a while back.

      No wonder that I love history so much, huh?

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  12. Z,
    Maybe having desks like that, where you felt hemmed in a little, might help with the discipline problems they have in most schools today! It wasn't easy to GET OUT!

    Could be.

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    1. what an absolutely beautiful building, AOW.....I love anything East Coast!

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    2. Z,
      It's such a shame that the building was demolished. What a loss!

      The rest of the country and newbies to this area think of Northern Virginia as "East Coast." But we who are natives of this region think of is as the Piedmont region.

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  13. Mr. B had desks just like viburnum's link - oak and cast iron. I had desks just like your post until 5th grade and in junior high it was all wood, similar style. For 2 years we got 'fancier' models with a lid that lifted up to store your stuff underneath. Wow! Then in high school it was those miserable early versions of these contraptions (tablet arm chairs: http://yuarmcha.com/tablet-arm-desk-chair/) that only a right hander could possibly use. In my music theory class of 13 almost HALF of us were left handers, so we sat next to each other and used the right arm on the desk to our left for support. :) No matter how you cut it, one's back always ached.

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    1. Weren't there fewer left handlers then as compared to now?

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  14. My classes were in the mid-40's range, and we learned. Not much discipline problems, so this wasn't the kind of burden on teachers that adds today. And they kids really play at recess, so those wiggly boys had a chance to run off all that energy. I

    'm not sure we accomplish much by keeping very young kids sitting for 5 hours a day. I'd be interested in hearing your view of how long and at what ages this is appropriate.

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    1. Bayside the,
      WhenI was teaching elementary school at the private school I mentioned above, the kids had a morning break of 20 minutes for free play and a lunch break of 45 minutes. Most students finished eating their lunches within 20 minutes, and the rest of the lunch break was free-play time. After lunch, it was the teachers discretion about having a break, but I usually granted an afternoon break of 15 minutes -- again, free play. We had quite a bit of playground equipment, including a basketball court, and open fields as well.

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    2. And, yes, the wiggly students had plenty of opportunity to run off their energy.

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