“The schools ain’t what they used to be and never was.”

Just read the weather description for Saturday through today and say ditto. It seems it will be like this through at least tomorrow and maybe even Thursday. The sun may deign to appear on Thursday afternoon, but then again, maybe not. My deck has been swept many, many times, but you’d never believe me if you saw the debris on it today.

From the time I was a kid, June was the second best month of the year. December with Christmas beat it out, but June meant no more school and the long anticipated arrival of endless summer days. All the other months paled in comparison. We used to get out early in June, usually before the public schools did. I guess that was our prize for putting up with nuns and wearing uniforms.  I remember the last day was always a half-day used for cleaning out our desks, returning school books and getting our report cards, the ones which announced we’d been promoted. That piece of news was always on the bottom of the back underneath the subjective appraisals about behavior and work habits. The front was for grades in all our subjects, and we had many. My favorite was always silent reading. I figured I got a good grade because my lips didn’t move when I read. We also got grades for penmanship, oral reading, spelling, arithmetic, geography, music, art, religion and science which was paired with health and safety. I don’t remember being taught anything having to do with health and safety so I have no idea what they mean. The back was the fun part: is obedient, is courteous, works well with others, takes care of property, does careful work, finishes work on time and puts forth best effort. The only time you got graded was if you got a NO which I did in the first grade for does careful work and puts forth best effort. I guess a messy paper meant a cavalier approach to learning.

I remember running home on that last day freed for a couple of months from the fetters of a desk, books and a nun in a habit.

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22 Comments on ““The schools ain’t what they used to be and never was.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    No sun here as well, so we might miss the Venus transit:

    • Kat Says:

      We’ll miss it for sure-still cloudy. 2117 is the next time-guess I’ll miss that one too!

  2. bob fearnley Says:

    In retrospect, I love the report card comments. Needs to make more productive use of down time made my card a couple of times …or were they the comments on my work evaluations at USPS… Thanks for some more good reading. While grading your students, did you ever drift back to the comments you’d received?

    • Kat Says:

      I didn’t ever think of my grades-don’t know why. I guess it had to do with my teaching English and always doing well in that subject.

      You’re right about the report card comments. Works well with others is a hoot as we seldom worked with others at anything and we couldn’t talk to one another.

  3. olof1 Says:

    They had removed all grades that didn’t have anything to do with the subjects we were taught when I started school, so nothing about how we behaved or anything else in our papers. But our last day was a bit different.
    We had already cleaned out our desks the day before so all we did was to go to school and gather outside it to sing songs and hear the headmasters speech. After that we got our grades but we only got grades after our third year, sixth year and after that all the three years we had left before High school.

    After that I stayed at home for a couple of days and then I went to my friends summer house and enjoyed life 🙂

    Have a great day!

    • Kat Says:

      I never had comments when I was in high school, only elementary school. I suppose they figured by high school we had the courtesies of life down pat.

      The last day was always just report cards in high school and saying good-bye for the summer.

  4. Hedley Says:

    Best Report card comment ever ? “Lack of interest is no excuse for bad manners”

    I grew up in a time of corporal punishment, beat you for anything including not knowing the answer. Then around the age of 13 down the Dorking Grammar School, Johnson left, Mrs Huggins arrived and it was a thing of the past. And today you can name names – Straker at Downsend was a sadistic bastard who brutalized childen for generations including my Uncles.

    • Kat Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I love that comment.

      We never had corporal punishment ever. Some states in the south still have it. I agree about the sadism.

  5. flyboybob Says:

    I was awakened at 4:45 this morning to the sound of Thunder and rain. This evening the skies in the western sky are black with towering cumulus clouds as storms are predicted over night. Rain would be very welcome since at five this evening the radio reported temperature in Dallas at 98 and Ft. Worth at 100 degrees.

    The end of the school year was always the best time because the long summer vacation had begun. In Dallas in late May, before all the schools were air-conditioned, the windows were opened and large fans circulated the hot air around the room. The sounds of the street poured into the classroom and provided a nice diversion from the lesson. Report cards were always the worst part of school. Math, reading, social studies and PE were graded on a percentage scale. U’s and S’s marked the grade next to subjects such as ‘self control’. I never seemed to improve my self control until Jr. Hight School when they stopped grading behavior. Corporal punishment was permitted by the principal via a huge paddle. The offending kid had to call out the number of each lick as administered by the principal out in the hallway.

    I think I was an undiagnosed ADHD kid. Of course, back then no one know about this affliction or any other attention disorders only that kids who had them were all given a U in self control and passed on to the next grade to become another teacher’s problem. Every day I am amazed that I grew up, learned to make a legal living and stayed out of the Viet Nam war.

    • Kat Says:

      I can’t imagine it being that warm so early in the summer. I’ll be glad to add both of ours and take the average as we’re at 52°. I hope the rain falls and falls!

      I knew Texas was one state with corporal punishment. By making the kid count the whacks, it seems to make it worse.

      We had S, U, and I when I was in elementary school as grades. The back was left blank or had a no or I. Grading behavior seems too arbitrary based on each individual teacher’s expectations.

      I have a couple of friends who have been diagnosed with adult ADHD. Like you, they were never diagnosed as children as the diagnosis didn’t exist.They just got to the point as they got older when they could control their behavior better.

      I think your best feat was becoming a pilot!

      • Bob Says:

        Now I know why I never wanted to fly an airplane that had a range more than four hours 🙂

  6. im6 Says:

    We really shouldn’t let the day pass without a final message to our pal, MDH:

    • Kat Says:

      I’ve always wished this was longer!

      I watched the festivities this morning. It was sad knowing all of it will be ending when we finally get to see the concert tonight. I have enjoyed it all.

  7. Zoey & Me Says:

    Those were the days. I found the Catholic system to be far more encouraging than public school. Maybe because of class size or just the fact that we were getting older and elementary school was always positive. I nearly dropped when I got my first “F” in 7th grade.

    • Kat Says:

      I was in a Catholic school for almost my whole education. The nuns I had in high school were amazing and some of the best teachers I’ve ever had. The nuns in the picture were the ones I had in high school: Sisters of St. Joseph.

  8. Hedley Says:

    No Robbie, no Cliff…Oh my

  9. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    I have absolutely no memory of any last days of school except for graduation day and I have very little memory of that. Plenty of memories about school and summer but no memories of the transitions from one to the other. Interesting.
    Ditto on the weather up here. My heat came on. My winter clothes are put away and I don’t want to haul them out. It’s a bit chilly. I will make do with knitted shawls because they are piled on a chair near the door ready to hand.
    Enjoy your day.

    • Kat Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      My memories of high school graduation is one I won’t forget. We were the first class to graduate outside, and we were in the front og the school on a bleacher. The girls were in the front and the boys in the back. The wooden sign which said Class of 1965 fell over and knock three guys off the bleachers and knocked one of them out. The powers that be never noticed and eventually he came to, stook his seat and went up when his name was called.

      Ny heat shocked me when it also went on today. The house was 63°, and I didn’t mind a bit of heat. A sweatshirt and socks with warw sneakers was all I needed.

      Enjoy the rest of your evening. Stay warm!

  10. Hedley Says:


    • Hedley Says:

      Once upon a time,there was a band called Dexy’s Midnight Runners that produced three rather exceptional albums. Best known in the USA for “Come on Eileen” here is “Geno from their debut effort “In search of the young soul rebels:” – a personal favorite of mine

      Beset by the usual demons, Kevin Rowland has drifted in and out but strangly this week there is a brand new recording by “Dexys” called “One Day I am going to Soar” . Generally, it has had terrific reviews but is only available as an import (hello amazon.co.uk)

      I saw DMR ten years ago at the Festival Hall, it was a terrific show. I sat next to the Fat Scotsman and his buddy. The Fat Scotsman was there instead of his buddy’s girlfriend and was charged with getting the beers. His chum kept calling the girl who had dumped him and f bombing her on what she was missing

      Hope that you and im6 get to hear the new disc, might be worth risking the import

      • Kat Says:

        My Dear Hedley,
        I love the video! Do you have the album yrt? If you do or when you do, let me know if I ought to be heading to Amazon.co.uk!

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