Recollections of a Teacher (Excerpt #2)

by Miss Day

After I had been teaching for two or three weeks, and felt I had the respect of all the pupils, I started playing games with them recess time. They did not seem to know what to do with their recess but used to just stand around till the bell called them in again. They were delighted with the games I taught them and were really thrilled when I continued to play with them. And instead of it creating a feeling of disrespect for me, a feeling of love and comradeship grew between us, for which I thanked God.

Sunday school was one of my duties too and I thoroughly enjoyed them. Our clergyman was with us every 5th Sunday. Other than that, we had a lay reader and I helped him by playing the hymns on a small organ. There were very few Church of England people there at that time.

The following year, his Lordship, the Bishop of Newfoundland was expected to visit and hold confirmation as the clergyman had such little time there. I thought I should help to prepare the children for confirmation. It was not too long since I had been confirmed myself and I could remember all I had been taught concerning it.

In chatting with the girls at recess time, I asked them if they would like to take some lessons in needlework, provided of course, they were satisfied to take them Saturdays. They were delighted to do this and very soon we were all doing a piece of work. Later, we had a nice little worktable when we had the school concert, and everything was sold. Our concert too was a success. I had sent to St. John’s for material. The boys and girls took a great interest in “Dialogues”, and I took part myself, much to their delight. The little ones enjoyed doing their little exercises. We had songs and recitations too. The parents were simply delighted with everything.

There were many funny happenings, far too numerous to mention. It was early in November we had our first fall of snow. To my surprise and delight, the bigger boys came to my boarding house with a catamaran (a sled used for hauling wood) to take me to school. This they continued to do whenever the road was suitably covered with snow, and what fun we had! Now that the weather was cold and we needed a fire in school, it was most amusing to see each boy and girl coming to school with a log under his arm. It was quite primitive but rather intriguing; also, warm and comforting.

The time soon slipped by, and I was bidding the children and their parents a fond farewell. I had spent three months there and I felt they were very well spent. I left with a thankful heart. We had a very stormy passage back to Clarenville on the “Ethie”, but I enjoyed every moment of it. I was determined to stay on the bridge with my father and had to don “oilskins” to keep from getting wet. We had a head pick and every time the boat would go down and come back again, my father would say, “Well done old girl”. It was customary for him to talk to his boat in an affectionate manner. He was a born seaman and regretted very much, years later, when he was obliged through ill health, to retire.

Upon my arrival home, I found a letter awaiting me from Dr. Blackall (Superintendent) requesting me to come to his office, which I did immediately. He told me he was quite pleased with my work in Hillview and asked me if I would accept the school in Westport, White Bay, for the remainder of the school year. I said, “Yes”, provided I could get my mother’s and father’s consent. He said he would telegraph my father, and I could talk it over with mother. She hesitated, but not for long. The weather being exceptionally good for that time of year, she thought I should go north before the winter set in. The “Prospero” was sailing shortly after, so it meant that I would be spending Christmas on board. Nevertheless, I intended going as I had given Dr. Blackall my word.

Reprinted with permission of the NLTA