Monday, June 25, 2012

This week on Jean: With school now closed at the one room school house, assessments and repairs are made for the next school session

Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.

Since our Old Order Mennonite School is closed for the school year-it is now time for the children's fathers to go through the school and see what repairs it needs.  Almost every year the men give it a paint job on the inside and the outside.  They also check the roof to see if it needs repair or replacement.  Also check the walls, floors, heater, bathrooms, etc.  Anything that needs to be repaired or replaced is done when the school is closed.  They  want everything in working condition when the school opens.

Also the school books are checked to see if they need any repair or replacement.  Should any special books be ordered in for the school year?  Are there enough books for each student?  Does the teacher have all the books and supplies that she needs?

Our school board is made up of some of the father's of the students.  We have a school board of eight.  If someone has to leave for one reason or another-another student's father is asked to come on the school board.  In addition to seeing that the school is checked, they also hire a teacher, if it is necessary.
As Susan's school teacher left to marry-another teacher had to be chosen. 

 As we had a teacher's aide she was the first that was offered the position.  She accepted.  If she had been refused the school board would have contacted ladies they thought would be a qualified teacher.  Our teachers do not go to college.  Teacher must have completed the eight grade and be 18 years old to be a teacher. 

Most of the girls that complete eighth grade  that want to be a teacher become a teacher's aide until they are 18.  If the school board does not have anyone who they feel qualified or willing to accept in our group then they look in other Old Order Mennonites groups or area.  As our teacher's aide has accepted being a teacher the board must find another teacher's aide.  Teacher's aide would usually be between the age of 14-18 who would be interested in becoming a teacher. Most of our teachers are women.  Once in a great while you will find a man teacher-but that is rare in Old Order Mennonite.

Our teachers do not rotate for a year. Once in a while a teacher may switch with another teacher for a day to they can see each others students, classroom and way of teaching, but that is rare.  Sometimes a teacher, after teaching for several years at one school, applies to another school for some place different-but that too is rare.  Usually a teacher is chosen and stays until she marries or retires.

It is considered a treasured position to be a teacher as you are teaching children-gifts from God. The salary the teacher makes is decided by the school board.  Our current starting salary is $5000. a year plus room and board.  As our new teacher lives at home with her parents and attends our meetings (church) no extra money is received.  If she does well in her teaching position which is decided by the board she will get a raise every year.

Every year we pay $500.00 for Susan to attend our school, but Martha and Joseph that have 10 children pay $1,500 for all her children.  I guess the payment is $500.00 for the first child and $1,000 for the rest of the children.  No one pays more than $1,500. a year for their children that go to our school.  If, for some reason, someone could not pay that our meeting would take care of it for them.

  I don't know anyone in that position, but it would be taken care of, if necessary.  All students mothers help at school when necessary.  It could be helping the student that has problem learning a certain subject, bringing a hot lunch in the winter, chaperoning a school trip, assisting the teacher with some project, cookies or cup cakes for someones birthday and more.  If the teacher had her own home, we make sure she has food, clothes, heat, furniture, etc.  At her birthday, Christmas and end of the year, we see that she gets a gift-a quilt, a cape or coat, books, etc.

If the teacher needs anything from books to building repairs during the school year-she tells the school board and they take care of it.  Should teacher have a problem with a student she goes to their parents and if they don't help-to the school board.  The teacher that just retired had never brought up a problem child to the school board-if she couldn't handle the problem-she went to the student's parents.

Every year we have a yard sale, bake sale, and sometimes even a lunch or dinner for money for the school.  This money goes for any repairs, books, school supplies, teachers books, and more.  If we don't need all the only money it is put in a school fund where it is held until we need it for the school.  There is a discussion about building a new school.  Our school is old and has had many additions and remodeling that a new one would be less expensive to run electric wise and heat wise.  School Board even has the property to build the new one on-it was donated by a student's family. 
Be With God, Jean

These two recipes are over 100 years old - have been passed from generation to generation.  They are both very refreshing drinks during the summer months and are well worth making.   Jean

Raspberry Shrub
3 quarts mashed raspberries
1 quart (good vinegar)
Pour vinegar over the raspberries and let stand 24 hours.  To each pint of liquid add 3/4 lb. sugar.  Boil for 1/2 hour.  Remove from heat and skim clear, then in sterilized bottles, seal tightly, and keep in cool place.  When wanting a drink add 1 tablespoon to 8 oz. glass cold water. 

1 gallon water
2 cups sugar
1 cup vinegar
1 tsp. ginger
Stir the ingredients together well and mix with water.  Then keep cool.  NOTE: Try using one cup sugar.  Some people use molasses in place of 1 cup of sugar.
This drink is made for the men working in the fields.  Recipe is easy to make and really refreshing.                   Enjoy. Jean 


I've created this website out of my own interest in the Amish/Mennonite culture and of living in the country. Its a place for people who are interested in the Amish like myself, and its also a place to share Images of the beautiful country side that is all around me. my name is Richard, and I live very close to an Amish settlement here in Pennsylvania. This site is dedicated to my mother, who had started all of this by taking me as a child to Lancaster,pa from our apartment in the Bronx projects..........THANK YOU MOM............... Richard