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Monday, May 28, 2007

All The Elementary School Teachers Were My Favorites


How can you name a favorite teacher at Douglass? They were all favorites!

I was fortunate to attend Douglass in 1st through 5th grades. My teachers for those grades were:

1st Mrs. Dobbins and Mrs. Wilson (first row, left)
2nd Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Solomon (first row, right)
3rd Mrs. Webb and Mrs. Sneed (second row, left)
4th Mrs. Bowers and Mrs. McKesson (second row, right)
5th Mrs. Dobbins and Miss Charles (third row, left)
Mr. Thomas, Douglass Librarian (third row, right)

I mentioned them all because the classes interfaced with each other at one time or another, whether it was a party, gym, play, etc. you were taught by them all. My memories are listed from 1st through 5th grades.

1st grade – Mrs. Dobbins, oh what a wonderful teacher and so soft-spoken. 1st grade then was a time when you learned the alphabet, numbers, how to write your name, color, eat lunch, and recess! But the one thing I remember that stands out at that young age was, she taught that little boys should respect little girls.

2nd grade – Mrs. Cox, a true educator would teach us how to spell gymnasium, auditorium, and cafeteria. She thought if we were using these facilities we should know what the meaning of the words and how to spell them. She also made us eat vegetables that we said we didn’t like, but grew to love. She taught us that you can accomplish anything and don’t be afraid to try something new.

3rd grade – Mrs. Webb to us was the most beautiful model-like teacher. She taught us that if she left the room and put a student in charge. We were to obey that student as if she were still in the room. Again, that’s teaching respect for one another. We also learned to speak French so well that we would put on plays in the auditorium.

4th grade – Mrs. Bowers, the great enunciator, encouraged us on how to spell and correctly pronounce words. We would have a weekly oral spelling test. She made learning fun and of course the students left standing were treated to those little ice cream sandwiches in the cafeteria. We took turns going to the cafeteria to get the ice cream for everyone. Needless to say we had some great spellers and learned how to serve others. Incentives can be a motivation for learning!

5th grade – By this time, some of the teachers had started phasing out and going elsewhere. I was fortunate to have the very first teacher I started out with - Mrs. Dobbins. This time around we were a little more mature, on the brink of adolescence. She taught us social etiquette and that we should always be ladies and gentlemen. She also told us that the “lessons” we learned in her class we would carry into our adult life.

I just have to mention Mr. Thomas, the librarian. His love for reading was so evident and he always encouraged us to read, because knowledge is power!
I am thankful that I was able to experience the family-type atmosphere that we had at Douglass. I will always have fond memories of Douglass and all the wonderful people that helped to mold us.

Vicki Wood Smith

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Play To Win, And Win To Play

From Nathaniel Smith:

I remember in the first grade, Mrs. Carter (in picture, top).. she never played favorites. We all had good manners and training at home, our parents had good control of us back then and when we got to school, Mrs. Carter taught us to all be our own person. She could really bring out individual talent in all of us, and she made sure from our early start in school, that we learn the ways to retain what we learned.

Of course I was into sports, as was my classmate Bobby Joe (Johnson), and Professors Howell and Dobbins were our coaches. Coach Howell (in picture, bottom) shared his athletic experiences with us, especially to boost our confidence on the football field. He had a way to making you learn, so it would stay in your memory.
Sometimes we weren't very good, some of us were just out there trying to learn the plays, but we always played for fun. Everybody wanted to win and it was disappointing sometimes when we didn't, but the fun we all had as players, outweighed everything else.

It's Amazing What Mr. Baylor Could Make In Woodworking Shop

From Ozine Bly:

I kinda liked woodworking, making and crafting items from wood, so I automatically took a liking to the Industrial Woodworking class taught by Mr. Baylor (left). He was very knowledgeable about the correct angles to cut on the wood that would make the two pieces fit together perfectly, and he taught us how to do that well. Sometimes, it was amazing that he could take a piece of wood and make something wonderful with it. I learned from him that "hands on" was the only way to craft something nice.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

William "Bud" Hickman: Staying After School Cut Into Play Time

From William "Mr. Bud" Hickman:

I had Mrs. Carter (above, left) for Second and Third Grades:
She took me under her wing and helped me learn. Back then, teachers had to teach four or five different classes. I was the best at math. If you didn't get all your homework, they'd keep you in after school, and that cut into my play plans. We learned quickly to get it the first time..

I learned more math from Professor Howell (above, center).. he made algebra easy to learn. He taught 9th and 10th grade math, and when I was in 10th grade, he would teach the 9th graders math at the same time, so if you didn't get it the first year, you'd get a refresher course the next year. There was no way to ever forget it.
I remember Mrs. Woods real well, because they rented rooms from our neighbors right across the street from us on Walnut Street..

I played football, too, first as a linebacker, then in the backfield. We didn't have that many players, so Coach Kizer (above, right) switched us around a lot, both offense and defense, any place they needed us. We never got any rest.

Bobby Joe Johnson: Strict Teachers, But Effective

From Bobby Joe Johnson:

Mrs. Scoggins (in picture, left) was very strict.. you didn't come in her classroom playing around. She was right down to business, and she wanted you to be, too.. that allowed for no distractions.

Mrs. Weed (in picture, right) taught me math and some English. She was also very strict, which the teachers had to be with us.. You could learn quite a bit if you set your mind to it. Math was difficult, but history was easy. Parts of it were boring, but if you could pick up on events and their historic significance, you could do well. When I didn't have football or basketball practice after school, I used to shine shoes downtown for 10 cents a shoe. My teachers at Douglass always encouraged me to look ahead, always look down the road to the future.

Then there was the truant officer, Mrs. Taylor, oh so strict.. There wasn't an excuse in the world you could give her for not being in school.. sick, holes in shoes, didn't matter. She'd come looking for you. She wouldn't accept any reason you had.. you couldn't even fool her by ACTING sick. To her, there was never a reason to NOT be in school..

Joyce Long: All the Teachers Were Eager to Help You Learn

From Joyce Long:

Mrs. Carter (first row, left) was my first grade teacher.. she was the first to teach me how to read and how important it was.. she was very easy to learn from, and thanks to her, nothing was too difficult to comprehend.
Mrs. Maybell Woods (first row, middle).. I liked her because she was pretty. Whenever I ran up to her, she always hugged me, and that was important for my self-confidence.
Miss Jessica Weed (first row, third from left) was a neat, consciensious teacher.. she always encouraged me and because of that, I always liked to do the work she assigned.
In Home Economics, I learned to cook from Mrs. Dement (first row, fourth from left).. she was very thorough, and she didn't take no stuff. There were no excuses in her class.
Mrs. Cox (second row, left) did not teach me, but she did let me teach spelling in her class while I was still in high school. That helped me when I choose teaching as a profession.
Mrs. Scoggins (second row, second from left) was our English teacher and the director of our Glee Club. She also taught us piano.
I liked Mr. Kizer (second row, third from left), even though he was in football mode most of the time. He was strict in his teaching, with A, B, C, D, and F rows in his classroom. If you got to the D or F row, you had to work to get out of them, and he would always encourage you. We didn't have many classmates there. He taught math, which was my worse subject, but he taught it well, because I ended up teaching math later on.