Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fifty Years in the School Room

Indiana School Journal, Vol. 45 (Mar. 1900), Issues 1-7, by Indiana Teachers Association, Indiana Department of Public Instruction, p. 136.

Fifty Years in the School Room

William C. S. Jordan, who is now finishing his fiftieth year in the school room as teacher of the Lexington school in Carroll County, was born February 12, 1830, in Rockingham County, Virginia, in the Shenandoah Valley. He started to school at the age of eight and had three miles to walk. He attended the country schools until he was fourteen, studying reading, writing, arithmetic, spelling and geography, and then took a term's work In English grammar and algebra in a town school. At this time he was called to take charge of a school some sixty miles from home, and worked twenty-six years at Williamsville and Milboro Springs.

At the solicitation of a former pupil, Mr. Jordan came to Cutler, Ind., and has labored faithfully for her people for twenty-four years. He has seen our school system grow into its present complex organization and has been one of the main factors in working it out in his county. He has always been conspicuous in teachers' meetings and has put forth every effort to farther the Interests of the teachers' and young people's reading circles.

Ther e is such a contrast in the length of time devoted to teaching by this gentleman and the majority of teachers who enter the profession that our attention is called to the fact and we look for its cause. It is no doubt true that many persons teach for a considerable period of time simply because they have got in the habit and can't break it. Others keep on teaching from the lack of something to do that will bring tbem more money, but there are a few who start out in the profession with a determination to accomplish an end and to stay with it as a life work until such an end is accomplished. The teacher with a goal ahead for a year's work, a month's work, for a series of lessons or for a single recitation, moves smoothly along from one point to another and is not baffled by any turn of affairs until such point is accomplished, while the one working without such purpose naturally becomes embarrassed in the presence of pupils and loses herself in the dissipation of energy. The person teaching with a specific purpose in view in every movement will be obliged to continue in the profession to preserve the fulness of her life.

Mr. Jordan expresses the thought very forcibly, for he feels what he speaks when he says, "The hardest task of my life is to say good bye to my fellow teachers and sever my relations with school work." Nothing can be of more value to the teaching profession than an earnest, conscientious, entire life devoted to it.

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