For All Those Pupils Whose Lives Touched Mine
Education
5.5 x 8.5, 104 pp.
1 line drawing.
Pub Date: 04/01/1989
Wardlaw Books
  cloth
Price:        $16.95

978-0-89096-405-7

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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1989 Publication Award, presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society

For All Those Pupils Whose Lives Touched Mine

By Stella Gipson Polk

Picture a tiny building in the middle of a Texassized pasture in the years before World War II, before oneroom schools were abolished in favor of consolidated town schools. Picture children of all ages, all manner of backgrounds, all gathered in that room to learn their three R's, but best of all, to learn something of the world beyond the ranchland's horizons. Orchestrating the harmony of the classroom was the teacher, who was frequently younger than some of her pupils, and sometimes a skillful ball player, social worker, dramatist, friend, and lifesaver.

Stella Gipson Polk was all of these when she taught in the Hill Country and West Texas. With humor and pathos she relates her memories of the physical setting, the tightly intertwined communities, and the challenge of meeting the children's expectation that "Teacher can do anything."

The teacher had to be a skilled diplomat and quick, creative thinker. The master of the schoolhouse had to know what to do when a povertystricken child catches an armadillo for dinner and brings it into school for safekeepingon the day the school inspector is to visit. The shared experiences and mutual respect between most pupils and Teacher created a powerful bond, such that after half a century, some grayhaired pupils would still stop by to visit when passing through her hometown.

Stella Gipson Polk began teaching in 1918 and spent the better part of the next half century in the classroom. She lives in Mason, Texas, in the county where she and her brother Fred Gipson, author of Old Yeller and Cowhand, were born. Since her retirement in 1965, she has written several books on local history.

What Readers Are Saying:

" a warm memoir of those days. . . . Her charming descriptions of everything from school plays to surprise visits from the school inspector will delight readers young and old as they reexperience the three R's, rural-style, through her eyes." --The North San Antonio Times

" . . . a delight to read." --Fredericksburg Standard Radio-Post

" . . . offers insights future generations of teachers will find particularly intriguing. . . . lively, light reading for any teacher who wants to know how the experience differed in the past." --The Midwest Book Review

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