Friday, May 29, 2015

A Wilson Dinner

When the Stanford job was finalized I had heard that this was the home of Uncle Eric’s folks.  I hadn’t given it much thought, with all the rush and activity of the wedding and the start of school.  One fall Sunday we were invited to the Wilsons for dinner.  Aunt Alma and Uncle Eric were there visiting, so we accepted and asked for the address.  We were told it was two houses up the street from our apartment, toward the school and on the opposite side. This was another “small world happening” that I ceased to be amazed by.  Aunt Alma and Uncle Eric were special relatives to me.  They always seemed in control of their lives and fun to be around.  We had a good visit before dinner and caught up on what their girls, Lenore and Marlene were doing.  Mr. Wilson had settled in Stanford as a young man and developed a farm where Eric helped as he grew older.  Winter wheat was the favored crop because of the short growing season.  Initial preparation of the land for farming included removal of many boulders strewn around the field.  These had been dropped by the prehistoric ice glacier as it receded to the north.  Early farmers hauled the boulders to the edge of their land and dumped them in the fence row.  Uncle Eric had wanted to teach, so combining his experience on the farm with that desire he found the compatible mix in the university extension services.  He was presently working for Montana State University at Bozeman.  He asked me what my long range plans were and if I ever considered getting into Ag education.  I shared my high school Ag experience, which I had enjoyed, with him, but indicated the Industrial Arts was more in line with my desire to create things.  At that point dinner was called.

It was a delicious meal, enjoyed by almost all.  When I glanced at Marie she looked uncomfortable and I had to excuse ourselves to take her back to the apartment.  I’m not sure what every one thought about our quick exit.  Our thanks were expressed as was regret we had to leave so suddenly.  There may have been speculation that Marie was pregnant.  I felt very sure that wasn’t the problem as we were taking measures to delay a couple years until we were more settled and could afford a baby.  However, it evolved that it was longer than that before we were able to have our first child

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015


The year at Stanford grade school started smoothly due to the competence of its teachers, most of who had been there many years.  The experience of principle Bill was valuable too.  He was easy to get along with and worked closely with the teachers and the curriculum.  I appreciated his help in getting started and I enjoyed the children.  They were country kids for the most part and hadn’t developed the sassy attitude I remembered of some Washington Grade School kids I had known when I attended the eighth grade in Miles City.  I was able to keep up with the math classes by doing my homework evenings, and survived social studies.  The problem area for me was Industrial Arts.   It was held in the basement where a massive amount of old furniture was stored.  There were few tools to work with and no supplies.  Bill said I had a small budget to purchase startup supplies. 

I decided we would work with small projects after studying a unit on the main tools and construction methods.  Thinking back to my experience in eighth grade Industrial Arts with Mr. Metros, I felt the students needed to get their hands on a project, early in the class to hold their interest.  We used the wood from old desks for three piece book ends.  Vertical and horizontal pieces of wood were held together with screws which challenged most of the students. The third piece of wood was placed in the middle of the two pieces as a brace and could be designed by the student as a dog, horse head, etc.  I made a sample for them to follow, or modify as long as they didn’t completely change the assignment.  Most of them copied my model exactly.  A few had the creativity to work a different design into the third brace piece.  We got off to a good start until our basement shop cooled down as the fall weather turned cold.  Work we glued fell apart when clamps were removed the next day.  It was a valuable lesson for everyone and the solution was to put our glued projects in the furnace room to dry.

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.  

Saturday, May 23, 2015

On the Job-Stanford

Our little motel room was a good staging point in our search for Stanford rental prospects.   We were eating “in” to conserve the few funds we had.  Warming coffee water or soup on an electric iron positioned upside down was one creative approach to fine dinning.  I haven’t been able to eat sandwich spread on bread since those days.  We had the room rented for three days and that left us one more day to secure a rentalWe had taken our time on the drive back enjoying the swing through Yellowstone Park and getting to know each other better.  Once the job started our lives would be full of activity and less of home life.  When we pulled in to Stanford and parked by a grocery store Marie ducked her head.  She didn’t want to be seen by someone walking by.  It turned out it was a fellow she knew in Saint John.  Call that a small world “happening”; we had just arrived hundreds of miles from Saint John and there he was.  I didn’t know why she didn’t want him to see her.  A lot of people would have been out there flagging him down as a kindred soul in this far away land.  I didn’t ask and it never came up.

A Stanford Home

This was our lucky day.  We got a lead on a large old house close to the schools that had apartments for rent.  We found there was only one unrented apartment left and it was a modification of a large enclosed porch and kitchen area. The porch area was converted into a living room and bedroom with a hid-a-bed sofa.  The enclosed porch was all windows, so it had nice light, but little privacy.  It was just a short walk to the grade school and the price was right, so considering the time limit on our search for a home we took it.  The furnishings were minimal but adequate for us as a start.  We paid a months rent in advance and picked up the key. After unloaded everything we started organizing our space.  Marie hung sheets over windows in the bedroom area, but we still had to turn off lights for total privacy.  As we finalized the apartment decoration it beginning to look like a home with personal items distributed around.  We were happy with it.

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.  

Dear Hunting

Deer Hunting 

     Dear hunting season opened with the arrival of fall weather.  I was told the hunting was good in most areas around Stanford and particularly in the foot hills of the Belt Mountains.  Marie and I decided to try to bag a deer to help out with our food bill.  I had the rifle I used on the ranch, so we bought a deer tag and drove out in the hills early Saturday morning.  We were surprised at how few people we saw hunting.  I checked the date on the tag to be sure; yes the season was open.  The next surprise was the number of deer we saw.  Several jumped across the road ahead of us as we drove to the foot hills where they were starting to gather in small herds. 

     The area was open for either buck or doe.  We sneaked up a canyon toward one herd, similar to my hunting experience in the alfalfa field on the ranch.  There was little cover to hide our approach, but because of the terrain we were able to get close enough to try a shot.  We were crawling the last few yards to get as close as possible, so I rested the gun over my arm that was supported on the ground.  That made a good steady rest for the shot, but the distance was greater than I thought and the bullet struck at their feet.  They started to mill around as they didn’t know where the sound had come from.  This gave me the chance to get off another round.  This time the shot downed what I thought was a young buck but when we got to the fallen animal it was a large, barren doe.  After field dressing the animal I drug it down to the car which seemed a lot farther than the distance of our trip up the canyon.

     When we arrived at the apartment, I sought out the landlord and asked if I might hang the deer in a shed beside the house to cure.  She said that would be alright as it was an old garage, but no one used it anymore.  She cautioned me not to leave a mess in it.  We rented a freezer locker and filled it with wrapped packages of venison.  Later that fall the game department issued a second tag to hunters because of the over population of deer in the area.  We hunted the same area several times before we bagged our second deer.  We lived on venison all winter and it was good.

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.  

Friday, May 22, 2015

The Wedding

The Wedding   
     The day was perfect that August 20, 1955, but I would never have known.  There was so much going on that weather reports were irrelevant.  I was getting married today!  There was a slight rumble of trouble from Marie who suspected Eva of informing the relatives of the location and time of the wedding.   Eva brushed it off and didn’t allow the conversation to continue.  Everyone got dressed in their best and as Arnie and Eva drove out of the yard we scurried to get last minute things loaded into the Ford which included a two gallon can of water for our leaking car.   


     Our time was short and a train was passing in front of us at Cheney.  The engineer didn’t realize of course that the delay was making us later for our wedding and his train seemed to barely creep along until finally the caboose rolled clear of the crossing.  The minute the cross arms were up we were off and up the hill to the church arriving about ten minutes late.  No one would believe a lame excuse like “we were held up by a train”.  That didn’t matter.  We entered the church and Marie caught sigh of all the relatives in attendance.  It was a tense moment and I wouldn’t have been surprised if she had bolted for the door. I guess she realized her mother had put one over on her and there wasn’t a graceful way out of it now.  The ceremony went smoothly.  Dewey even had the ring ready when needed.  A photographer was present to take pictures and then a short reception followed where I met Marie’s relatives.

     They all seemed like interesting people and Marie was exchanging conversations with them, but we both wanted to get on the road, so with goodbye and thank you to everyone we hastened out with Esther.  Dewey had his car ready to whisk us to Esther’s parent’s places and our get-a-way car. Dewey had guarded our car from any attempt by others to decorate it, but he couldn’t resist the chance to get me one last time.  We drove off with a well decorated vehicle covered with messages.  I would have to think of ways to get Dewey when the chance presented itself.  He was my best friend and a super Best Man.  Our goodbyes were warm and spoke of continued contact.  It was getting late, so we headed for Montana, but not before stopping at a service station and washing all the windows.

 *Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill



Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Wedding Present

 A Wedding Present   

     The next day started out better.  Everyone was working together to get things ready.  The church was available on Saturday of the week, so we could travel back to Stanford as planned.  We decided on an early afternoon ceremony with a short reception afterward and then leave on our honeymoon drive to Stanford.  Arnie had been gone most of the morning and when he returned he asked us to ride with him to Cheney.  He said he had a wedding present in mind, but needed us to help make a decision. 
     The trip seemed short and he had us guessing when he pulled up at Brown and Holder Chevrolet.  He led us into the show room, gesturing toward a new automobile and asked if it would be all right as a wedding gift.  It was a red and white1956 Bel Air.  I had never seen a more beautiful car.  We both thanked him repeatedly and Marie gave him a hug.  His logic came out in the question, ”now will you come and see us sometime?” I also saw his concern about our travel in the old Ford disappear.  I knew I had to get the Ford back to Grandpa, but that would be a job for another time.  It was going to be such a thrill traveling back in that beautiful new car.

     Mr. Brown, the owner had been watching from the side lines with a broad grin.  He approached us and said the car could be picked up tomorrow.  They would service it now and have it ready.  As we shook hands he congratulated me and said he would miss watching me on the basketball court.  That caught me by surprise and I thanked him.  I learned later Arnie was a long time customer of Brown & Holder.  Mr. Brown must have given Arnie a good reference about me.

     We worked out a plan for the day of the wedding which was to park the Bel Air at the bride’s maid parent’s home which was close to the church.  We would bring the Ford from Saint John to the wedding, loaded with all of our belongings.  After the ceremony and short reception the contents of the Ford would be moved to the Bel Air and off we would go leaving the Ford parked to be retrieved later.  There was the hope that by keeping the Bel Air out of sight it wouldn’t get the traditional decoration.  Dewey had agreed to act as best man and his girlfriend Esther agreed to serve as maid of honor.  Marie had become friends with her on our college outings.  Dewey said he would help move cars and luggage.

     The plan was coming together and the church was taking care of the reception.  Marie and I had to run to Spokane to pick up the ring we had chosen and placed on lay-away last spring.  The Ford was leaking more and became hot on the way.  With no service station in sight I had to resort to filling the radiator from a small stream that passed under the road.  It was a thrill to see the ring on Marie’s finger, but it had to go back in the box which I kept in my pocket until presented at the ceremony.   We had the same water problem on the way back which was by way of Cheney.  Marie moved the Bel Air over to our friend Esther’s parent’s house in preparation for the car switch the following day, our wedding day!  It was a short distance from Brown and Holder to Esther’s parents, but I could tell the drive was a thrill for Marie.  I tagged along with the Ford and after a short visit with Esther we continued our drive to Saint John.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Family Discussion

A Family Discussion 

The day started at a quiet breakfast table and the small talk never once came close to, “why was I there”.  Shortly after the meal Marie and her dad were having a heated discussion out side on the lawn.  I watched through the window for a few minutes and then decided I had to do something, so I opened the door and walked out to the couple.  I don’t remember the exact words, but I indicated if they were talking about me and plans to marry Marie, I felt I should be in on the discussion.  Things cooled a little and Arnie expressed his concern about letting his daughter go off into the world without an established wage earner and no designated place to live in a car that needed fixing.  I could see his concern, particularly with his protective nature.  We talked for quite sometime and laid our plans out on the table.  Eventually he came around to accepting the idea that his daughter had reached the age of marriage, setting up her own home and raising a family.  As he got to know me, he realized I wasn’t just an opportunist taking advantage of his daughter.

Then the next shoe dropped.  Marie hadn’t made arrangements for the church, a reception or announcements.  I got the impression she wasn’t that sure it was going to happen.  My letters during the summer had been filled with positive ideas and comments about the coming wedding.  I had to give her the benefit of the doubt.  She may have had an experience in her life where her hopes were dashed that made her suspicious of it happening again.  We put that all aside and got to the problems that needed to be solved.   We joked about the easiest solution was just to elope, but her mother, Eva would have nothing to do with that idea.  She wanted her daughter to have a church wedding that would be a memory as time went on.  Marie was dead set against inviting the relatives on Eva’s side and there were none on Arnie’s side, so that put it back to a church wedding with immediate family.  Eva badly wanted her brother and sisters to be there, but Marie promised to boycott the event if they showed up.  I could tell Eva would continue to try to convince Marie to give in on this issue.  In the meantime Arnie had accepted our plan and was doing what he could to help. It had been quite a day and I was back on the sofa that night.

Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

Marriage Plans

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Life after College

Life after College

The summer of 1955 held a fast series of events that I have trouble remembering in detail.  There was plenty to do on the ranch and it seemed hotter weather than usual.  Dad’s trailer had been moved back to the ranch and parked beside his little house.  I used it as my bunk house which offered a degree of privacy and by opening the window on one end and the door on the other, it was like sleeping in a wind tunnel.  I was writing at least one letter a week to Marie.  There were so many things we hadn’t had time to work out such as details of the wedding, choice of best man and who she wanted as her maid of honor.  I thought it would be great to have Dewey as our best man if he was available.  Then there was the date of the wedding and if we were going to plan a reception afterward.  Of course so much still depended on where and when I found a job.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Getting a Job

Getting a Job

I kept scanning the job notices as they came in each week.  If there was a job that looked even remotely suitable I sent an application letter off in the next mail run.  I was on the road to the post office more often than ever before.  A table, chair and kerosene lamp like we used when going to school at Tusler were the basis of my bunk house office.  I had a Montana map and writing materials and spent long hours pouring over the job lists and locating each on the map.  It seemed that most of the jobs were for elementary school positions and hardly any of them mentioned Industrial Arts teaching.  I applied for five or six jobs that looked promising.  None were in the Miles City area however.  As responses to my application started to come in I realized how important it was to have some one on the inside to help identify the right job.  The placement director at Eastern did that for graduates looking for a job in Washington State. 

Most responses were to let me know the job had been filled.  The one that asked me to give the principal a phone call was a grade school at Stanford, Montana. The closest phone was at the Brink’s ranch so I drove down and asked if I might use their phone.  I explained what I was doing and Mrs. Brink was very cooperative.  She had been a school teacher and knew the process it took to find a job.

 I made my call and talked to the Principal of Stanford Elementary School.  The outcome of our conversation was that he would like me to take the job.  It included teaching math and social studies to seventh and eight grades, coaching basketball and starting an industrial arts class.  The salary was $3600.00 for the school year.  It was hard to tell the situation from a phone call, but I didn’t have any other options at this point and it was getting late in the summer.  As mentioned, most other responses I received from my applications had already filled their vacancies.  I told the principal I would take the job.  He would put a contract in the mail and we agreed I would drive up several weeks before school started.

Mrs. Brink was as happy as I with the successful job contract.  She knew the location of Stanford and said it was a fairly good sized town with wheat farming and livestock being chief industries in the area.  I hadn’t seen the Brinks since Tusler days so we had catching up to do.  I offered to pay her for the phone call, but she wouldn’t accept it on the ground that was what neighbors were for.  I thanked her and left with a promise to help her or the family in the future.  They were good neighbors.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Introduction-Volume 2

Volume 2 starts with a new chapter in my life; I enter the world of work as a first year teacher, as a husband and hopefully, as a father.  Establishing a home is a rewarding and shared task that requires new skills and knowledge.  As a review of how I reached this point, Volume 1 of “Which Road Should I Follow?” subtitled “Growing up in the Country”, has traced my roots in the Hill and Wilder families.  Accounts of my childhood start with first memories of life on Grandpa’s dry-land ranch and continue through seventh grade in a small country school.  The move to Miles City, Montana for continuation of education through high school triggered questions of what profession should I plan to pursue.  

The ranch life has been a pleasant experience for me with increasing responsibilities but also an awareness of the ranch's limited opportunity as a successful job cite.  As I experienced more education, a desire to continue learning became more important.  When given the opportunity to attend college on a basketball scholarship, I didn’t hesitate even though the college was a long train ride from Miles City.

My four years at Eastern Washington College of Education determined my professional goal and equipped me to enter the field of education.  As this story unfolds in Volume 2 , my opportunities for new roles and responsibilities as an educator expands, presenting me with numerous, ongoing decisions as to my professional development.  You could argue, I didn’t always choose the right road, but at the conclusion of my professional carrier I am satisfied with the results and proud of my role in Education.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 2, Roles and Responsibilities of an Educator", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

My Girlfriend

I had finished the student teaching at the high school and was getting involved in preparations for graduation.  In addition to this academic story it is time to discuss my girl friend.  Our relationship had reached a serious point and decisions were needed.  We met at the welcome back dance at the start of fall quarter, 1954.  The dance was held in the Campus School gym.  Ironically, a picture of us dancing was on the school news paper’s front page with the story about students return.  It seemed as if that was a sign of things to come.  Her name was Marie Ellwart and she was a junior.  We dated from that point on, often attending the Wednesday mixer dance and occasionally hiked down to the malt shop and back to campus.  These were low budget dates for the most part, out of necessity.  Dewey was dating a college coed and we often double dated.  On a few occasions we went on a picnic in the area around the college.  Dewey, one of his girl friends, Chuck Rymuth and his girl friend would also accompany us.  Marie is seated on the right side of the picture.


Later in the spring Marie and I borrowed a car and drove down to her home so I could meet her parents.  Marie’s father and mother lived south of Cheney in the rolling wheat hills of the Palouse near the town of Saint John.  I had seen some of the same country when visiting Bill Ellis for Thanksgiving.  That had been in the fall and the wheat had been harvested.  This time of year the wheat was just starting to turn.  It was a beautiful sight to see the rolling hills painted with green and touches of gold.  Occasionally we passed a field with an entirely different crop.  I asked Marie what type of plants they were.  She explained that the farmers would plant peas and harvest them with the combine.  When the plant foliage and roots were worked into the soil it replaced nitrogen.  The peas grown were a lentil type that is used in split pea soup.

Marie’s folks were pleasant and I enjoyed the visit. Arnie had farmed his land near Saint John for years, starting back when they were using horses to pull the farm equipment.  He had retired from wheat farming a few years before and now he rented his land, but he still raised grain hay for his small heard of cattle and a team of horses he kept to work around the home place.  The house was a comfortable, one story dwelling that had been added on to create an additional bed room.  A creek ran the full length of the property.  The house and a cluster of sheds and a barn were located in the center.  A large pasture lay on one side and the hay field and garden on the other.  The wheat land Arnie was leasing to a neighbor lay on the opposite side of the creek and stretched up over the rolling hills.  The highway to Saint John ran in front of the house.  A huge silver leaf maple tree growing in the front yard shaded the house and most of the lawn stretching around the yard.  Other mature trees around the barn yard and along the creek made the home setting pleasant.

 Arnie’s parents came to this country as immigrants and farmed the land around Saint John.  Arnie had no sisters and lost his only brother playing football while in high school.  Virgil, a few years younger than Arnie injured his hip practicing football and died of infection.  Arnie played football for Washington State University and was known to be a tough competitor.  The team went to the Rose Bowel and Arnie told of getting knocked out when he made a tackle and couldn’t remember the rest of the game.  Soon after, the brother had his fatal infection and to the coaches’ dismay, Arnie dropped out of his final year of football.  The loss of his brother was hard for him to adjust to.

Marie’s mother Eva, had a brother, Vernie, farming close by.  Several of Eva’s sisters had married and lived in the Spokane area where one’s husband had a pig ranch and raced walking horses as a hobby.  He sounded like an interesting man.  I met him later but never saw him race.  He had a Tennessee walking horse that was trained to do fast walking without braking into a trot.  The horse pulled a small two-wheeled cart and driver.  This must have been an expensive hobby when costs for a cart, fancy harness, training and care for the horse were calculated.

Marie was an only child.  She felt it would have been much easier for her if there had been other siblings.  Her folks, especially her father, was very protective of her and it embarrassed her when she was out with friends.  She felt they didn’t let her grow up like others and do the things they did.  She always wanted a horse but her dad was afraid she’d get hurt.  He didn’t want her riding in a car with someone else driving, so he took her to all of the functions which was an embarrassment as she grew older.  I’m sure the accidental loss of Arnie’s brother had something to do with his protective behavior which was smothering Marie’s social growth.

As the year went by our discussions became much more serious.  I had always known I wanted to marry and have a family.  Graduating from college and starting a job seemed like the time to take this bold step.  Marie was in favor of marriage but not sure of moving to Montana.  Maybe she saw this as a chance to break away and make a life for herself.  She had been going with a local fellow who came to see her at college once.  I hadn’t heard about him so was surprised.  She indicated it was over with him and before much more could be said he drown in a lake in the Saint John area.  It was difficult for her losing a friend.

Finally we took the step.  It was a beautiful spring day when Marie and I boarded the local bus that ran between Spokane and the college.  The bus was popular with the commuter students.  We were looking for a jewelry store to purchase the ring.  I had borrowed money from mom with the promise to pay it back when I found a job.  We found a ring that Marie liked and as I recall decided to make the engagement official before traveling back to campus.  We found a quiet spot and I told her that I loved her as I slipped the ring on her finger.  It seemed like such a simple act, but was the start of a life we shared for many years.

The next weeks were extremely hectic as I finished student teaching and attended to graduation details.  I continued to search for a teaching job in Montana with several “maybes” and growing desperation in my mind.   Marie and I decided we had better wait until fall to be married.  That would give more time for me to firm up a job.  I suggested we let her folks know of our plan, but she preferred to tell them when the time was right that summer.  We decided to be married in the Cheney Lutheran Church in late summer.  I would drive to Saint John and pick up all the belongings she chose to take. We would be married and take a honeymoon drive back to the job, where ever it happened to be.  Of course more detail would be worked out with correspondence as things developed over the summer.  Marie wanted to take several boxes of my things home with her, so I wouldn’t need to haul them back on the train.  That sounded like an agreeable plan, but I wondered if that was her way of making sure I came back for her.  She didn’t have to worry.

Finally the long anticipated graduation arrived.  The ceremony had been set for the football field, using the bleachers for crowd seating.  An eye was kept on the clouds.  At the last minute if need be we would move into the gym.  I’m sure Red would have preferred keeping people off the gym floor, even though canvas had been put down just in case it rained.  Spring rains at Cheney were common and they could develop quickly.  We lucked out.  It was a perfect day.

Sitting there in my cap and gown caused me to remember my high school graduation and even back to the eight grade event.  It was like the steps leading up a hill.  The work between steps took time and significant effort.  I wondered if there would be more steps.  Only time would tell.

I leaned back in the seat as the rails clicked by.  I was on my way home for the summer and then who knows what.  It was overwhelming to think of all the detail that needed to be resolved.  There was comfort in knowing that in my luggage was a certificate granting me a Bachelor of Arts in Education degree and a Provisional General Certificate to teach.  Now all I needed was a job and that will be priority number one when I arrived home.  I was eager to get started and I was looking forward to seeing the family, and hear all the latest news.  Mary was going to have another baby, to be born in the coming December.  I thought that spacing between children was the way I would like our family to develop.  Marie was interested in having children, but we hadn’t talked about it in specifics yet.  There would be many unknowns ahead of us in the coming years.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 1, Growing up in the country", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Student Teaching

My final quarter of preparation for teaching started this same morning.  I had a few hours of sleep before getting ready for an early meeting with Art Beaudreau, the Industrial Art teacher at Cheney High School.  I knew him from his membership in Epsilon Pi Tau and projects we had worked on together.  Cheney High School was a favorite placement for student teaching because of its location on the edge of the Eastern campus with access to college faculty and resources.  Mr. Beaudreau worked closely with the college Industrial Arts staff and had one or two students each quarter doing student teaching in the High School.  I was slightly aware of the student teaching program from observing Tom Plant last year.

With all of this awareness, student teaching felt comfortable to me.  I needed to work on my relationship with the students however.  We were told in our education classes to be friendly but firm.  Stepping out of the role of a student into a teaching role is a major shift in thinking and behavior.  Students that have been exposed to student teachers frequently, as was the case at Cheney High School, tend to test the new teacher extensively.  I found that being honest with them and trying to help solve their problems developed the best relationship.

Mr. B., as fondly referred to by most, had me observe in classes at first to see what students were doing.  I was also given student work to correct.  After several weeks I was asked to work up a lesson and present it.  Gradually, more and more classroom activities were assigned to me.  I also had an opportunity to experience faculty life and some of the non instructional activity that is part of most schools.  I was asked to help chaperone a school dance and sit with a student club while they planned an event.  I found my time with high school FFA valuable in giving the students pointers on structure and function of their committee.  I was having a great time, but I understood Tom’s frustration at not having the full responsibility from the start to finish of a class or an activity.  That would come soon when I’d go out on my first job.  I determined now was the time to learn as much as possible about the teaching process.

Dr. McGrath was the supervisor of student teaching and evaluated our performance for the fifteen credits on our transcript.  Appointments were set up during the quarter to assess how I was doing and respond to questions.  Early in the quarter general meetings were scheduled with placement personnel to develop placement files and give current information about job opportunities.  In the spring each year a major educational job fair was held in Spokane.  Schools from all over the state and region would send representatives to set up an office in a major hotel, usually the Davenport Hotel.  Rooms in the hotel were turned into hiring offices for the three days of the job fair.  Teachers and prospective teachers would roam the halls looking for the perfect job.

I took advantage of these services, but there was little information about jobs in eastern Montana.  I contacted Montana state employment and subscribed to their listing of jobs.  When my personnel file was completed I had it sent to several schools.  I was watching for job openings in the Miles City area.  This continued on into the summer without any positive results.  It looked as if I would be teaching cows and horses on the ranch if something didn’t turn up soon.

*Taken from "Which Road Should I Follow?, Volume 1, Growing up in the country", an autobiography by Edwin K. Hill