Saturday, 28 January 2017

The Times they are a-Changing.

I was at the village school in Lincolnshire
from 1937 to 1942.   Yes, it was wartime, but the only trip out from school was a bus trip to Elksley Waterworks in Nottinghamshire.   I remember it vividly and just as vivid was the build up to it, deciding on the packed lunch, what to wear etc.

At Grammar School (1942 to 1949) I don't remember any school trips of any kind.

What about projects?  I remember one at the village school and I still remember the excitement of doing it.   We had to collect labels off tins which showed where they came from.   Remember this was wartime, so there can't have been that many surely.   Our teacher put a map of the world on the wall and we stuck a pin and a bit of the label in the right place.   Is that why I am still so interested in Geography?

At Grammar School I don't remember any - it was heads down, get learning. 

Today in our local, weekly paper (The Darlington and Stockton Times - published every Friday) is an article which shows just how much more exciting a place school is these days.

Two of our Primary Schools started by writing letters to one another - pupil to pupil.   Then, after reading about a character called 'Flat Stanley' they each drew Flat Stanley on card and coloured him in.   Then they sent their Flat Stanley to their pen friend in the other school, who sent theirs the same so that everyone ended up with a Stanley to call his own.

Now, for a week, each child kept a Diary about the adventures Stanley had with them.   Then both schools got together for a morning's Workshop of Art, Drama and Writing.   Back in their own schools the children are now in the process of writing stories about the character and the aim is finally to produce a book of stories.

Isn't that just a splendid idea?

I would love to know whether your school had projects and visits.   Times have changed so much.
In my day women teachers were not even allowed to marry (of course men could!!);  we only had one Mrs on the staff and she was a war widow.  Our Primary school teacher was one Miss Kirkbride - past retirement age but kept on because of the war years.  When the boys left to go to the Boys' School in the next village (at eight) their teacher was Johnnie Laws; a firm disciplinarian adored by all the pupils (and father of a large family).

Now my grand=daughter, who teaches in Glasgow and is on Maternity leave, is planning to take her baby into school to show to her class - all keen and eager to see her.

There is no doubt which is the best method is there, but we can't move ahead of the times in these things can we?



 

26 comments:

Share my Garden said...

Dear Weaver, I have the same clear memory of a map of the world on the classroom wall displaying, with pins and thread, the source of produce being imported into the country. I took in the paper wrapper that had been around my Christmas clementine. I still always look at the items I've bought to see their place of origin. (And often complain, 'how ridiculous, what does it cost to bring that into the country!') Our local restaurant has a twenty-five mile produce policy.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

As a teacher, I was always up for leading/arranging visits and practical activities. Theatre trips, residentials in Edale, art gallery and cinema visits, getting storytellers and poets in, helping senior citizens, working in nurseries etc.. However, towards the end of my career, these real life learning experiences were being squeezed out because of Health and Safety/Risk matters and the pressures of delivering the so-called National Curriculum with its attendant military guards. Nature never intended that teenagers would spend so much of their time sitting on their bottoms in stuffy classrooms but the previous trust and the freedom dissolved away.

Rachel said...

We had a nature table which I liked and we used to do things like write to Cadburys to get the story of chocolate and they sent out loads of stuff and then we would take it into school and I used to write to embassies to get maps which worked with Commonwealth countries but not others. We had school trips to Shakespeare plays and went to see Polanski's Macbeth (which I think is amazing looking back on it). My brothers' school had more trips than mine and they went to the Science Museum and places like that. We only went to London once to see A Midsummer Nights Dream and I saw my first black person in the street. Our trips were mainly local and often had a religious slant to them like going to see the film of St Bernadette and miracles and visions at Lourds.

Tom Stephenson said...

I remember two school trips - one to the Huntley and Palmer biscuit factory in Reading, and the other to the most powerful computer in Britain, if not the world, somewhere near Woking. The room which housed the vast computer was my first experience of air-conditioning. It contained a bank of 7-foot high, white boxes like giant freezer units with massive reel-to-reel tapes whirring on the front. It probably had about one hundreth of the computing power that an iPhone has these days. This must have been around 1959 or 60.

The Broad said...

I grew up in New England. The end of the school year was in mid June and when in elementary school we would go on a school picnic to a state park with a lake. Lots of food and lots of parents and teachers to monitor us all. When I was older I remember a school trip to see the film Beh-Hur! My final year of high school, after much preparation we went to the replica of the Globe Theatre in Stratford, Connecticut to see King Lear -- it was wonderful! Although there were projects, I don't remember what they were ...

Midmarsh John said...

Age 11 at primary school (London) we were taken to look at the excavation of a Roman villa and see the marvellous mosaic floors. We then went on to Chiselhurst Caves for a tour followed by a nature walk and picnic in a nearby forest.
From Technical School we visited several local businesses. The only one I remember was watching a ship's propellor being cast at a local foundry.

Mac n' Janet said...

The school trip I remember best was in middle school, after studying California history we went to the state capitol in Sacramento. When I was teaching we had a very popular unmarried six grade (11 and 12 year olds) teacher who got pregnant, her class was thrilled and 2 of her students decided they wanted a baby too, one managed it. I'm not sure how much of an improvement that is.

Joanne Noragon said...

I went to school in the 40's and 50's. I remember no class trips, though there must have been some. I do remember two outdoor recesses per day, plus walking to school and home, plus walking home for lunch every day, and back. Now exercise happens at a gym, or not at all.
I do remember geography, in every grade. We always knew where countries were.

Librarian said...

My 10-year-old nephew who lives in France sent us a "Flat Stanley" two or three years ago when he started learning English at school. My sister and I took Stanley to the palace grounds, took some pictures and sent Stanley, the photos and a description of what he'd been up to back to our nephew.

I started school in 1974, and throughout my school years, we had many outings, projects and other activities. It was always exciting and fun, and I remember them all vividly. Nowadays, there are so many precautions teachers have to take that I am amazed anyone is willing to organize anything at all. It starts with food restrictions and ends with religious and other particularities to keep in mind.

The Weaver of Grass said...

In my teaching days YP, the year tutor and I always took the final year students I taught to London for the day. Each year we did the same programme. Underground to Westminster Bridge, down the Thames to the Tower, round The Tower - a walk round some of the interesting streets and finally ending up in a park near to the station for our journey home. All the students had brought a packed lunch which - in theory should have made catering easy. But in practice they had usually eaten it within half an hour of boarding the train, so we always had to supplement food throughout the day. But they always enjoyed it.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Fascinating reading these accounts. Keep them coming please.

Derek Faulkner said...

I was at school mostly through the 50's and have been racking my brains to recall a school trip, but like Joanne, I can't. I can recall most things about school but not trips, I can only assume that we didn't have any.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Having a packed lunch instead of having to eat school dinners was always the best part of being on a school trip. Twycross Zoo, Laxton village, national coal board training centre, SHerwood Forest, Skegness and aresidential trip to Hunstanton - grat fun, were trips I went on in the late 70s early 80s.

Heather said...

I was at school from 1941 to 1952 and remember a map of the world on the classroom wall, and being pencil monitor aged 5 - such responsibility! The only project I remember was collecting autumn leaves and then drawing and painting them. I don't remember any trips but always an end of summer term picnic and a parents' day with recitations, songs and displays. Secondary school was interesting and enjoyable but again, no trips.
I didn't know about teachers not being allowed to marry. Our headmistress was married but then she was the boss! One of my grandsons has a wife who is an infants teacher and her class didn't want to have to call her Mrs.Martin - they had got used to her maiden name and seemed to think she would change too!

krishna said...

My son did that Flat Stanley project in school. Each of the child made one Flat Stanley, then they did activities with their own Stanley. After seven days they sent their Stanley to friend or relative. After spending seven days there, the all Flat Stanley came back to the school. After coming back, the children put a pin on a large map, where their Flat Stanley went.

Virginia said...

No trips when I was at school - but I was at a boarding school.

In my early teaching career (later half of the 70s teaching 7-11 year olds) we did some wonderful trips with parent help. We aimed at going out at least 3 ties a year. My class always had more parents than we needed, but all were welcome. History trips (early settlers houses around historic Wellington), biology - rocky shore at a nearby coastline. The local zoo and botanical gardens were perennials as was a wonderful farm where the children were shown sheep being drafted and learnt about mixed farming. The most memorable was my final one - a trip to a swimming hole called Butterfly Creek, which entailed a very steep climb over a hill and through the bush. Four of us (3 parents and me) were pregnant and I recall needing help over the top! The kids had a wonderful day and 35 years later one of them told me they still remember it. Mind you, they were the most perfectly behaved class anyone could ever wish for. I rarely had to frown at anyone! I'm still in touch with some of those students, they've grown into super adults..

the veg artist said...

Two things from my primary school, when I would have been around 10, I suppose (mid-60s). One was a trip to Bristol Zoo, where we saw a white tiger, and the other was a huge map of the world on which we tracked Sir Francis Chichester sailing around the world.

Chris Elliot said...

I don`t remember any outings in Primary school but, would you believe, a portion of the Roman wall was a 10 minute walk from our school. I never saw it until I was an adult. Unbelievable! However, in High School I went on a school trip to Paris. What an eye-opener that was!

Rozzie said...

I can remember being taken to both an ice cream factory and pineapple factory from primary school, but no outings from high school. And yes, we were given treats from both places. Naturally the ice cream was preferred!

The Furry Gnome said...

Lot of memories of projects here, and a few of trips. At some stage I went to Washington D.C. Our kids on the other hand - Quebec City, Greece, they had great times! My wife was a nurse, so she got three trips to Quebec City as a parent volunteer.

Alphie Soup said...

I've just checked out Flat Stanley. He's nearly as old as I am and he teaches geography to kids in the USA.
As for school excursions - at the small rural primary school, we went to a sawmill for an excursion. We had to write a composition about the excursion and I won the prize, a book. I was as pleased as Punch about the book and as you can see still want to skite about it all these years later!!
At secondary school it was the paper mill, which smelt to high heaven.
No fancy overseas school excursions for us.

Alphie

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

I went to "grade school" and junior high in Ohio from the fall of 1950 to the spring of 1950. We also walked to school in the morning, home and back for lunch and home in the afternoon. I remember several autumns when we made books of identified leaves ironed between sheets of wax paper. In Kindergarten we had a field trip to a dairy and visited the small farm within walking distance to see the chicks in their incubator. In 6th grade we took a train to the state capitol, Columbus, and had a tour. We gave elaborate Christmas programs which would not be allowed anymore, but involved a lot of memorization and costumes. We did learn the countries of the world and now many of the names are different! We also learned all the states and capitals. There were some pen pal projects. We also had banking once a week. This was connected to a real local bank and different students were tellers and kept records. I remember loving our nature walks. My children had more projects than I did.

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Sorry...I meant the spring of 1959.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks everyone for these glinpses into your schol days.

Frances said...

I was at school from 1949 - 1963 and only remember one school trip, from the grammar school, which must have been at "O" level age as we went to see Romeo and Juliet in Stratford. We were up in the gods and I remember being quite worried about the height and the gradient!

Fairtrader said...

Dear Weaver!
You do leave the most delightful little stories, both snowdrops and aconias ( known as winterscheaters here) and now this plunge in to schooldays. I took great pleasure in you springwalk with the glowing sun, beautiful!!!
I started school 1970, made a few intermissions and graduated 1989 first and later on 1996, my ministry. School changed a lot during these years, we started out with loads of money, we went for excursions and Theater and plenty of other things. From the first small school in the neighbourhood to the great University of Lund, and on to Stockholm.
I too remember the feeling of excitement, packing a lunchbox, going by bus to new places. Maths was my horror, all way through. In the late 70ties we had a large amount of students coming from Yugoslavia and Chile, that made school an arena for integration, it worked quite well. My teachers were also from the beginning only women, all of them could play the organ standing in every classroom, but some where married, I guess. No schooluniforms, everybody kept close watch for those who didn't follow fashion, like me, we couldn't afford it. Higher up, from 7th grade, more male teachers appeared, some the intense goals for schoolgirl crushes....