372T: Short stories about teaching

This is a book of short stories about education and teaching.   One of the stories concerns a teacher reflecting on the number of murderers and serious criminals who came through her English class and bemoaning that all she did was teach them rhyming iambic pentameter.    Another concerned an author who was awoken every Saturday and Sunday by children playing soccer with tin cans.   He tired of this so went down and made a contract of sort with them to play every Saturday and Sunday outside his window.  He paid what was then a good amount of pocket money.   Within three weeks they stopped playing.  The obligation had robbed them of the pleasure and he got to sleep in.

3 thoughts on “372T: Short stories about teaching

  1. Ann

    I don’t know the anthology; but, in case it helps you, the first is a passage that I have seen quoted in several places, and has been attributed to Naomi Joan White:


    I have taught in high school for ten years. During
    that time I have given assignments, among others, to a murderer,
    an evangelist, a pugilist, a thief, and an imbecile.

    The murderer was a quiet little boy who sat in the front
    seat and regarded me with pale blue eyes; the evangelist,
    easily the most popular boy in school, had the lead in the
    Junior play; the pugilist lounged by the window and let
    loose at intervals a raucous laugh that startled even the
    geraniums; the thief was a gay-hearted lothario with a
    song on his lips; and the imbecile, a soft-eyed little
    animal seeking the shadows.

    The murderer awaits death in the state penitentiary;
    the evangelist has lain a year now in the village
    churchyard; the pugilist lost an eye in a brawl in Hong
    Kong; the thief, by standing on his tiptoe, can see the window
    of my room from the county jail; and the once gentle-eyed
    little imbecile beats his head against a padded wall in
    the state asylum.

    All of these pupils once sat in my room, sat and
    looked at me gravely across worn brown desks. I must have
    been a great help to these pupils — I taught them the
    rhyming scheme of the Elizabethan sonnet and how to diagram
    a complex sentence.

    — Naomi John White, “I taught
    All.” The Clearing House, XII
    (Nov. 1957), 151.

  2. Selina wilson

    Thanks all. The passage is the one I remember and I am now pursuing anything that references this author. Selina


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