1947 - Back in the Day


When I started school in 1947, in a single room school house, my journey began in education which has never ended even after 67 years. In those days, we didn’t say “back in the day.” There was the Ontario curriculum which had been written back in the 1930’s and included agriculture. That was easy for me, growing up in rural Ontario but it was difficult for the ‘city kids’ who didn’t know a Holstein from an Angus nor even that they were breeds of cattle (don’t say cows).

It was expected however that upon graduation from Grade 8, all students would know how to read, write (not just print) and do basic arithmetic which included adding, subtraction, multiplying (must know the times-tables) and division. All of this Math was, of course, done without a calculator!

Ah the good old days. But not everyone could do all that the curriculum said they could; some children failed and some, more than once. They eventually left school and some that I knew got jobs and worked hard all their lives, but others did not.

Our teachers worked long hours and helped as much as they could, but with 8 grades in one room or 20 years later with one grade with 35 to 40 students in each room, not everyone was reached, not everyone was helped and not everyone succeeded.

The curriculum, the schools and the teachers have changed. Educators at every level are far more aware of the varied needs of each child; programs and systems are designed to meet those needs. Perfect? No, but it is improved and improving. Yet more help must be available so that every child can succeed to their full potential.

Guest Blogger of the Week : Don Bagshaw BA, MEd