Once Upon a Time
'A rural one-room school - Part Two'

by Bob Johnston

March 16, 2017


Once Upon a Time ...

Bruce County Memories


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To Read - A Rural one-room schoolhouse: Part One

Miss Ruby Eidt was raised in Saugeen Township. This letter describes her first four months as a beginning teacher placed in a one room rural school with seventy pupils. It was printed in “The School,” a teacher’s magazine, in 1915.

My bad boy---I had heard about him before I ever saw him. All former teachers had whipped him on a fair average once a day. His father could do absolutely nothing with him. Please pardon my conceit but I am proud of this episode in my experience. He had a dogged look and seemed to regard me as the enemy. I began by making a point to ask him about things of which I was not certain. This seemed to please him. He rebelled only once after that approach.

In the fall it was almost a daily occurrence that my “bad boy” came in with some weeds. We would hunt together until we found their names in “Weeds of Ontario.” He also had the best arranged insect collection---but the mice chewed their way into the wooden box and left nothing but pieces. I never felt so badly about anything and could hardly keep the tears back. The boy just smiled a bit and said:” I guess, Miss E. I was just getting too proud of it.”

Agriculture and Nature Study---was there ever anything more interesting? We are to have a school garden and our germination tests are proceeding nicely. Every day the pupils gather around the bottles and loud are the exclamations of delight when they discover a new sprout. Many pupils are having home plots as well. As many as could, took poultry too. Many parents smile and say “such foolishness” but I know there is a great deal of interest in it.

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Last week we took our nature study on the cow and found the interest of the children very keen. They examined the cow’s mouth and watched how she got up. In studying the hen some of the boys went out several nights to make sure a hen doesn’t put its head under its wings to sleep.

Whether my first year of teaching will be a success or a failure remains to be seen, but I do know my outlook on life has been broadened. I have had my moments of bitter disappointments and utter discouragement but so far have always been able to find the silver lining to each cloud.

Ruby Edit's letter was published in the 1985 yearbook of the Bruce County Historical Society and adapted by Bob Johnston for today's reader

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Thursday, March 16, 2017