Up early, everybody, this crisp late-August morning, for this is the day we clean the school! True, it is an afternoon affair, to be followed by a wienie-roast and a bonfire at night, but the excitement begins at daybreak. Margie Ruth gathers up the pails, brooms and mops, soap and cleaning rags and such necessaries, while the boys feed the rabbits and finish the morning chores. Then Daddy loads the big iron kettle into the back of the truck, already well-laden with sacks of cucumbers and the three children, and away they go. The kettle will be dropped at the school house, and after the pickles are delivered to the factory, and the wienies and buns and ice-cream procured, back will will come the hilarious family to haul the water and get it heated. Meanwhile Kooi and mother (and the corresponding Koois and mothers in all the families of the district) are hurrying through the routine tasks of home and preparing the "extras" that everyone will want to supplement the wienies at the outdoor supper. And after a hurried dinner, everyone will gather to one of the nicest, friendliest annual affairs our community knows.
School will begin the day after Labor day, as usual. This will be Miss Lita's third year with us, so there is an atmosphere of confidence; maybe not so thrilling as when a new teacher is coming, but thoroughly comfortable. There is merriment by fits and starts, as the work spins along, but there are also moments of silence broken only by the splashing of water and the rubbing of cloths. At those moments one's thoughts go racing down various bypaths; and one of the paths is in this direction: What do we owe our teacher?
Duty Begins Far Back
Our duty begins far, far back of this day of cleaning the school! From earliest babyhood our child was being prepared. To be fair to the teacher we need to send to school a child who is well physically, normal mentally, stable emotionally; one who is self-reliant and amenable to discipline. No teacher can do her best with a rude ill-mannered, helpless child. It is our place to do the preliminary nursery work.
We owe the teacher a child who is clean, well and pleasant, one whil will obey instructions and who will cooperate.
Having so prepared the child in his baby years, we owe the teacher throughout the years of schooling proper home care for the child; food, rest, health habits. Even more important than these material things, we owe our teacher our confidence and trust. We owe her an attitude which will hep instead of hinder her; we owe her interest without interference. Almost invariably a teacher wants to be successful in her teaching and to be friendly with all her patrons. Since she is frequently young and inexperienced and may naturally make mistakes in judgment, it is the duty of parents to be ready to go a little more than half-way to keep the atmosphere free from friction.
So many of us do not realize how much responsibility the teacher takes off our shoulders in raising our children; how much training she gives them that we have neither time nor ability to give. If parents will co-operate with teachers by giving every child the sort of home atmosphere he deserves -- a home where he gets proper nourishment and rest and the right kind of sympathy in all his activities, they will find that the teacher will furnish her part of the training which is needed to build good citizens. -- Hope