Small-school benefit long forgotten

By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist

I attended a one-room school as an eighth grader. The teacher was a middle-aged widow from Chicago. I never quite understood her motivation in moving to New Mexico to teach in a one-room country school 30 miles from the nearest town, but we all got along fine.

The school building contained one classroom, a kitchen and her living quarters. We had indoor plumbing, and her restroom was separate. A piano presided over one corner of the classroom, so we had music along with our other classes.

The building was fairly new and playground equipment was sparse — swings and a merry-go-round. No landscaping had been done, so a couple of parents came and helped plant trees. The teacher turned the outdoor planting project into a botany study unit.

The total student population was about 16 kids. One of the bus driver’s sons and I were the eighth graders, so naturally we helped teach the younger students.

Joseph Joubert (1754-1824) wrote “To teach is to learn twice.” I can attest that observation is true because I learned things I’d missed or misunderstood in the earlier grades when later I became a teacher’s aid.