The Covid pandemic has caused people to raise questions about school that most of have never heard before. Questions abound such as should my kids go to school, should they learn online from home, and even 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, 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 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 do comment. I love to hear your thoughts on this school, other similar schools, or the blog in general. So, without further delay, let’s have a look at an old rural Alberta school that looks much as it did 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 with all of the accoutrements of a modern early century schoolroom. 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 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!”
“While (insert your name here) is scrubbing at the wash basin, let’s listen to some music as a special treat today. Now who would like to wind up the phonograph? Handle it carefully, we just received it from the commissioner and it’s the latest thing in music”
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 schoolwork. 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 shoveling coal.
If you visit the structures shown in this blog, or any other old and potentially abandoned structure, please respect the landowners” rights and obtain their permission to access and photograph their structures. Always exercise caution when visiting abandoned buildings as there are potential dangers such as crumbling structures, deep wells hidden by grass, and even spores of mould in the air.