People are talking about school in ways that most of us have never heard before. Questions abound such as; should my kids go to school, should they learn on-line from home, and should I home school some or all of my kids? Parents are more nervous than the kids! As early as last year the only real questions were what school supplies are needed, and maybe do they really need a new laptop already? A little virus has changed everything about school as we knew it to be and the change is still a work in progress. So let’s take a break. I suggest a break of about 100 years.
Note that I will not be providing the exact address for the school shown in the images below in order to protect the school from the possibility of vandalism or theft. This school will be recognized my many photographers as well as people who live anywhere near the school. I just ask that if you recognize the school, please don’t identify it in the comments below but by all means please comment. I love to hear your thoughts on this school, other similar schools, or the blog in general. So without further delay, lets have a look at an old rural Alberta school that looks much like it would have looked when there were still more horses than cars.
I approached this school the same way I usually do which means I start from the front and work my way around to capture the building from all sides and angles. These are very old buildings so the inside is left to last. My assumption is that the inside will be either too deteriorated to enter or so soiled by the birds that I just don’t want to enter. However this school already looked different than most because the windows were intact and not even covered in plywood. Something special was waiting for me.
Once inside I was astounded by what I saw. The school was set up just like it might be in the 30s. There were different lunch boxes on each desk just as one would expect. It wasn’t perfect like a museum, it was perfect in an normal imperfect way. It was even a little bit messy just like a proper classroom should be. Of course the Union Jack has a prominent location and there is no Maple Leaf as 1965 hasn’t even happened yet.
Oh, Oh! The teacher spotted you coming in late. You know what that means. You have coal duty today. “Get over to the furnace and shovel some more coal in there but do it quietly and don’t you dare get your hands dirty”.
“You’ve got coal dust on your hands. Haul yourself over to the wash basin and scrub those fingernails until they sparkle like a wedding ring! I’ll be inspecting your hands after you’re done so be thorough or I’ll warm them up with the strap!”
Life wasn’t easy in those days but it sure was simpler. There was just you, the teacher, the other students and, of course, your school work. In those days few if any students even heard the word “cohort group” and a mask was something for Halloween or art class. You had to worry about bringing a bad note home from the school but not a bad virus.
Covid-19 is the new reality for teachers, children and the families they come home to. Take care out there. Wear a mask and wash your hands but don’t worry about stoking the furnace or shovelling coal.