Visiting the one-room schoolhouse in the Tassajara Valley is one of the highlights of attending elementary school in the San Ramon Valley, as well as a long-lasting memory. But it's also fun for the volunteers who teach history to throngs of third grade students every year. This week, Roving Reporter Stan Wharton asked docents at the schoolhouse luncheon What do you like best about being a teacher here?
During the luncheon, docent Paul Sheckler read the following poem about life at the schoolhouse:
"Make your manners
This is 1888, not 1838, when kids were like wild Indians.
None of your ponies better break loose and eat Farmer Schmidt's cabbage again,
We've had enough of that nonsense.
Let's make President Cleveland proud with our Pledge and Bible reading.
He's for honest and fair government,
Good to have that for a change."
Kids in the third grade now in 2012 find the Tassajara one-room school rather quaint,
What with emphasis on drill and articulation and all that bowing and curtsying,
Impatient they are for fast answers and hi-tech stimulation.
For one day, the kids memorize old-fashioned virtues to live a happy life
Truthfulness, honesty, punctuality, cleanliness, and kindness
And with third grade naivete, they don't blink an eye.
Mistress Kurtz runs the kids through a morality in McGuffey's Third Eclectic Reader
And paralyzes fingers with quill pen dipping and labored printing.
Isiah blows out the flame to save oil in the lamp while at recess
Where the girls double tap the jump rope and the boys walk on stilts.
Today the kids need not wipe the blackboard, sweep the floor and clean the outhouse.
The superintendent will do all that."