STEWART: we don’t need no education

When the world realized that Adolph Hitler would not stop his push for world domination many countries knew it was time to act. The country boys and girls who were enduring the world depression said to themselves and in small groups it is time to stand up for our country.

Recruiters did not ask for education transcripts they just signed people up. Nobody knew where and what they would be expected to do. Most were raised on farms and knew how to shoot, and they were raised to obey orders. So, they joined up by the thousands and were ready to fight for Canada. Turned out in their new uniforms with pride they were new soldiers and ready to go.

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The problem was that these people found themselves in places like London, Paris, and Rome and they were dumbstruck by all the new culture. They did not know how to act or even order food, they felt stupid and they did not like it.

When they returned to Canada after the war, they vowed their kids would never be made to look and act so incompetent. Schools had been taught before by a handful of young girls trying their best to teach but after the war, times were about to change.

Since prosperity had achieved extra money that could could be set aside to buy teaching materials and hire new teachers. The new teachers had a free hand with education and were expected to teach children fully and properly. Class sizes were large, and each student was expected to work hard and learn. If it was found that was not the case the parents were notified, and the problem was expected to be resolved.

These were professional teachers who were trained to teach. As a result, kids like me were entrusted to teachers who knew what they were doing. Students were expected to be well behaved and if that was not done then corporal punishment was handed out to girls and boys. If you went home and complained to parents, they wanted to know chapter and verse of the incident.  You were to attend school to learn and to do as you were told.

Yes, class sizes were large, but the professionalism of the teachers could handle each class of students. I can say with total honestly, we had the best teachers, and they taught us well. Not all of us were going to university, so others were helped to learn carpentry, to be an electrician or plumbing and girls were helped into exploring nursing, office work or careers in home economics. In fact, we had one boy who was what we would suggest today as a slow learner and he was taken under the wing of a merchant who taught him how to be a valued employee and eventually the boy took over the business. Everyone became a useful and contributing member of society. Nobody got left behind and nobody got a free ride.

I should note that these teachers did not make big money and many shared apartments. We even had a teacher boarding in our house. These teachers were professional ladies and men. They dressed like professionals and conducted themselves professionally.

Things went smooth as silk with no Unions. Parents played a special role in the student’s education. Teachers were working as educators because they wanted to be teaching. They got some of us ready for university and others for trades.

Times have changed and I am not sure it is for the better and that is how I see it.


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