When I was a kid the most common offenses in school were talking and chewing gum in class. I never could figure out why chewing gum was disruptive, although I could see where 25 kids all trying to get their point across at the same time could be.
Sometimes, the teacher, if she was going to be out of the room for a few minutes, would appoint a monitor to make sure nobody talked while she was gone - usually some prim and proper girl who never had a wrinkle in their blouse or a hair out of place, with a somewhat haughty, superior, daddy's little princess attitude, who would take down your name on a piece of paper if you talked, putting a check mark beside it with every additional offense.
When the teacher got back, the little tattletale spy would turn in her dossiers and, head held high, walk back to her desk in all the self righteous glory of being a good little citizen while the teacher perused the document to see who had been naughty or nice.
What I don't understand is why the teachers even cared who talked while they were out of the room and why they had to enlist the assistance of the little Mata Haris to enforce her gag order. Of course, I'm looking at this from the personal point of view of a habitual offender and recipient of enough check marks to wear out a perfectly good lead pencil.
Our teachers always seemed to have the ability to call on the most unprepared students when asking questions about the work they had assigned the night before.
"Charles what year was the War of Independence fought and who was our president at that time?
“Ummm... uh.... um... 1941, and the president was Harry Truman."
"Charles, why did you not turn your homework in this morning?"
“Uh... um... uh... the power went off at our house; I left it at home; I forgot the assignment” Or that old perennial, “I ran out of notebook paper.”
We had a girl in one grade who was deathly afraid of thunderstorms and when it would lightening she'd scream and run out of the room. Another kid who was a year behind me, when asked by the teacher why he hadn't come to school the day before, told her that his sister had died.
It was a small country school with all 12 grades and several of his siblings went there, too. So, when the teacher gave her condolences to one of family’s the older children, she caught the lad in a lie.
One teacher had done a lot of world travel and knew a lot about communism, and if someone could just steer him off in the direction of either subject, the history class was pretty light that day.
Teachers in those days were still afforded the power of the paddle and were not in the least bashful about using it. Now some of those old girls could swing a paddle with the aplomb of a major league baseball player and meted out the prescribed sentence with a gusto, which transcended her advancing age and regal demeanor.
Of course, the principal's office was to be avoided at all costs, a trip even the most hardened of class cut-ups had no desire to make. Needless to say, I knew what the inside of the principal’s office looked like.
But, looking back, I wouldn't trade my school days for any other period. I did manage to get a pretty good basic education and I realize the teachers were only trying to maintain a learning atmosphere in the classroom - and I never got any punishment I didn’t richly deserve.
It’s so different nowadays when teenage pregnancy and violence have replaced talking and chewing gum in class.
I guess they really were the good old days.
What so you think?
Pray for our troops, and for our county.
God Bless America
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