As teachers ready themselves for the start of another school year, it seems appropriate to spend some time reflecting on professional responsibilities. Usually I read the list of responsibilities for teachers published by the National Popular Education Board in 1872. It’s amusing to see how much things have changed in the last one hundred and forty years. Here’s the list:
- Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.
- Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
- Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
- Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
- After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
- Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
- Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
- Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.
- The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.
I feel so honored to receive this letter from the University of Southern Mississippi, which has added a copy of my second book, Chalkboard Heroes, to its library collection:
There are many fine examples of talented teachers who have also excelled in the political arena. One such example is Stacey K. Guerin, an elected member of the House of Representatives for the state of Maine.
Stacey was borne in Kenduskeag, Maine. As a teenager, she attended Central High School in East Corinth, Maine. After she graduated in 1977, she earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Maine, and worked for a time as a teacher.
Running on the Republican ticket, Stacey was elected to the House in 2010 representing District 102. As part of her work in the House, she has sponsored a bill to establish a teacher appreciation day, to found an access to justice day, and to require background checks for child care facilities and providers. She also serves as a member of the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee and the Judiciary Committee. She is also a member of the Maine School Nutrition Association, the Maine Restaurant Association, and the Greater Banger Area Chamber of Commerce. She has also been active in 4-H.
Stacey currently lives in Glenburg, Maine, with her husband, Joseph, and their five children. The couple owns the RM Flagg Food Service Equipment Company.
Before you go back to school this fall, view this fabulous two-minute YouTube video entitled “Great Teachers Inspire.”
There are many examples of talented musicians who go on to become exemplary music educators. This is certainly true of Colyn C. Fischer, an award-winning violinist from Pennsylvania who now works as a middle school music teacher.
Colyn was born in 1977 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He began to play the violin at the tender age of three, concentrating on Scottish fiddling since the age of five. While just a teen, he studied under a number of notable American Scottish fiddlers, including John Turner and Bonnie Rideout, and several celebrated fiddlers from Scotland, including Ian Powie and Alasdair Hardy.
Following his graduation from Penn-Trafford High School in Harrison City, Pennsylvania, Colyn enrolled at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. There he earned his bachelor’s degree in music performance in violin from Wheaton College in 1999. He completed the requirements for his teaching credential at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, in 2005.
In 1993, Colyn garnered the first-place title in the American National Scottish Fiddling Championship, Junior Division. In 2005 he won in the open category in Texas, a title which he captured again in 2006 in Ohio.
Colyn first taught music in grades three through eight in the Silver Valley Unified School District in California’s San Bernardino County. He worked there from 2006-2009. Currently, Colyn teaches orchestra at Central Middle School in the San Carlos School District located in San Francisco, California. He also teaches the annual Jink and Diddle School of Scottish Fiddling, and gives private violin and fiddle lessons.