Exceptional Schoolteachers Taught In One-Room Schoolhouse

The three Rs were the basics in the one-room schoolhouse.

| Good Old Days

As with any elementary school, major emphasis was on the Three Rs. It is hard to comprehend how one teacher could lead one class each day for each grade, five days a week, and include all learning experiences suggested for elementary grades. Perhaps we had exceptional teachers.

Basic courses were taught each day. But each of these included much more than its title might suggest. Language included reading, grammar, penmanship, creative writing and an array of other activities.

In all classes, it seems preparation for life was included, and it was expected that often future lives were as farmers.

A class titled agriculture was held once a week for all students fourth grade and up, combined in one class and meeting weekly for the entire year. Content was educational and practical. We were required to measure our own corn cribs, for instance, and determine how many bushels of shucked corn it would hold. Some of the work sounded like conservation or ecology work of today: contour plowing, conserving moisture practices, dry farming, rotation of crops, testing seeds for satisfactory sprouting ability and many other learnings.

It seemed there were countless opportunities to coordinate class activities to reinforce total learning. This was quite an accomplishment to a teacher who was certified to teach directly after high school, providing she had selected "normal" classes in high school. All teachers were single; it was not legal to hire a married woman.

Edna Easter
Independence, Missouri

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