Marilyn McArthur's article, "Times Past: Jittery student floats through meditative traditions of New England learning" appeared in The Greenfield Recorder.
“Now class, we will sit silently until the bell rings.”
We were suspended on the brink of the weekend, each alone at an immovable desk, and enveloped in a deeply calm and relaxed atmosphere of our mutual creation.
This was how Friday afternoons ended at my new school in second grade. Lately, I wonder how Miss Murphy routinely accomplished that feat of peacefulness with the 30 children in her class at Vernon Street School.
We had cleaned out our desks and filled the wastebasket in the corner with all the scrap paper of the week. Books and notebooks were arranged neatly in our desks and on shelves around the room.
Meanwhile, Miss Murphy had washed the blackboards with a big sponge, and someone had stepped outside to clap the erasers free of chalk dust. Inside my desk, my pencil case was clean of shavings, and my eight crayons were lined up in rainbow formation in their little tin box. To read more, continue here.