Mr. Wilson and Dictation

When I was in sixth grade (1961-1962), my primary teacher was Mrs. Judy Isaacson.  One period each day, she taught Home Ec.  Mr. George Wilson would come from the high school to cover that period.  I do not remember whether he taught math or science.

One day, Mr. Wilson was late getting to the classroom from the high school.  As he was coming down the hallway, he could hear our class.  We were being quite loud. 

As Mr. Wilson entered the classroom he yelled “Quiet!”  He instructed us to take out a pad of paper and a pencil.  He then opened one of the books we were reading for English class.  He instructed us to write down what he read – to take dictation.  He began reading and we started writing.

Not having ever taken dictation, we could not keep up with him.  After several minutes, I politely said, “Mr. Wilson, would you please slow down?”  He paused briefly and looked in my direction.  He then returned to his reading without slowing down.  After several more minutes, I blurted out, “Slow down!”

Mr. Wilson stopped reading, looked at me, pointed at the door, and said, “Get out!  Stand where I can see you.”  I got up and went out in the hall and closed the door behind me.  Mr. Wilson could see me through the class door window.

The sixth grade classrooms were on the south side of the 1952 addition to the school.  My classroom was next to the fifth grade classroom, so where I was standing, I could see the door to Mrs. Spangler’s office and Mrs. Spangler would be able to see me if she left her office.  I was embarrassed enough by being kicked out of class but deathly afraid of that door opening.  I kept my eyes on Mrs. Spangler’s office door and hoped that it would not open.

Unfortunately, the door began to open, so I moved over to by the fifth grade room door and hoped Mrs. Spangler didn’t see me.  No such luck.  Mrs. Spangler was headed to the Superintendent’s office.  She stopped and told me to go to her office, which I did.

A few minutes later, Mrs. Spangler returned and took me into her office.  As I walked into her office I looked at her paddle which was hung on the wall.  She asked why I was in the hall and I explained.  She told me I was wrong to snap at Mr. Wilson and was to apologize to Mr. Wilson.  She took me back to the classroom and I apologized.  As she left, she told Mr. Wilson to stop by the office before he returned to the high school.

At the end of class Mr. Wilson went to Mrs. Spangler’s office and the class went to recess.  Exiting the building for recess by the principal’s exit, we could see Mr. Wilson getting a lecture from Mrs. Spangler.  They were in her office with the door closed and she was talking to him and wagging her finger just under his nose.

Mrs. Spangler was a unique person.  Her philosophy of education was that it takes an entire community to educate a child.  Teachers teach, students learn, parents support and take care of their children, school support staff and administration assist the teachers and each other, and the community supplies the school with the needed financial, emotional, and spiritual resources.  I thought I was in trouble but Mr. Wilson got a much more serious lecture.

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