The new math!
Finally graduated from Catholic elementary school in 1964. Did seven years. Seems like a jail term in some sort of perverse way. It would have been eight but I skipped a year, grade three to grade five: Ms Upper to Ms Keller. Come to think of it now, in all of those years, I only had one male elementary school teacher. Mr Bowner. He was great: very theatrical and entertaining. Why was that? So many female teachers and so few male? Is it because youngsters in those early years still require the nurturing attention that can only be provided by the female sex? Feminists today would kill me for even suggesting such a thing. I don’t really know. Even in todays so called enlightenment school boards are trying to deal with the matrification of our Elementary School system, that boys are getting a raw deal. So they say! That they are becoming whusses, feminized, losing their religion. So they say! I don’t really think this is the case as this was the norm when I was in Elementary School some 55 years ago. If one were to check I do believe that one would find that women dominated the profession at this level for over a hundred years, two hundred maybe. I even remember reading about the explorer David Thompson and his schooling by the Grey Nuns of London back in the 1770s. Why are we so concerned about it today? Don’t know, don’t care, I don’t have an opinion on this. It seems to have worked.
Mr Bowner, our grade six teacher, decided to put together a school play. It was a musical, or more precisely, a musical revue. It was based somewhat loosely on Porgy and Bess. There we were, the entire Grade Six class in black face, singing and dancing, carousing and carrying on. Can you imagine that happening in today’s politically correct charged atmosphere? Nope, yet in those days it was all just innocent fun. People focused more on the entertainment value than the shock value. They didn’t think otherwise, or read between the lines, or over expostulate as they seem to do today on just about everything.
I do find it interesting that as one progresses through academia and the scholastic ranks, and the bolder, cockier and less enthusiastic one becomes with respect to scholarly pursuits, rebellious perhaps, that the male student requires the firm hand of discipline that only a male, Sister Mary Bernice excepted, can seem to provide. Worse yet if that male class of teacher is comprised primarily from the various religious orders of the day. Jesuits were the worst, the Oblates a close second, but tied with the Basilians. The Jesuits may have been highly intellectual but they were as firm and as dangerous in their physical and psychological prowess as their international reputation would suggest that they excelled at in the intellectual sense. No, ours were the Basilian Fathers: an order born out of the French Revolution. When it came to discipline they could give it out as bad or as good as any one religious law and order could. The only difference being was that the Basilians generally had a smile on their face as they were dishing it out. Jokingly they would say: “This, my young (insert name here), is going to hurt you a lot more than it is going to hurt me.” Then the customary whack, whack, whack and more whack. At least the Basilians were honest. The Jesuits, on the other hand, in some form of intellectual mind game or bait and switch logic, would try to convince us that the physical punishment about to be unleashed was going to hurt them a great deal more then it was going to hurt us. Intellectual existentialism perhaps, pedagogically speaking, but pure unadulterated nonsense nonetheless.
We don’t need no education!
Song of the day: