Saloma Miller Furlong's Blog
I cannot describe elementary schools in general, but I can describe the one I attended as a student, and I later taught in that same school for two years.
Ours was a little brick, one-room school built in 1965. It had a canvas curtain that was pulled and snapped together during class time. In the mornings and at recess, the curtain would get pulled back, so that all the students could participate in singing in the mornings and then have lunch at our desks at noon, followed by a one-hour recess.
We had two teachers — one for grades 1 through 4 and the other usually taught 5 through 8. Each teacher would teach all the subjects to all four grades. Normally arithmetic would be the first subject in the morning. Our teacher would start with the eighth graders and have the students exchange papers to correct and grade them. Then he’d assign a lesson to the eighth graders and move on to the seventh grade and do the same with them… then the sixth, followed by the fifth.
After arithmetic there would be grammar, spelling, and reading. In the afternoon there were geography and history lessons. Sometimes there would be German lessons or German spelling words. Once a week we read and did lessons from our health books.
While the older students were doing all their work each day, the lower grade students were doing the same.
We had three recesses each day — a fifteen-minute one in the mornings and afternoons, and an hour during lunch. The students played a variety of games on the playground. The boys’ favorite was usually softball.
The eighth graders have much to accomplish. They have to prepare for the eighth grade achievement exams, and they had to prepare for the eighth-grade spelldown, in which all the Amish schools in the community got together for a big spelling bee. At the end of eighth grade, the students are handed their report cards and their diplomas, which marks the end of school for them for the rest of their lives. This part was really hard for me… I wanted so badly to continue school, but it just wasn’t done.
So, this gives you an overview. For another post about my elementary school days, you can click here.