School days reminiscences of Miriam Hurdle

School Days, Reminiscences of Miriam Hurdle

Welcome to the School Days, Reminiscences series in which my champion bloggers and authors share reminiscences of their school days. It’s my small way of thanking them for their support and of letting you know about their services and publications.

Miriam Hurdle, poet

This week, I am pleased to introduce Miriam Hurdle, poet, blogger, flash fiction writer, photographer, ex-teacher and educator. She blogs at the Showers of Blessings and recently published a book of poems entitled Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude.

I first met Miriam at the Carrot Ranch when she rode up and joined in the flash fiction challenges. Since then, we’ve met up in many different places around the blogosphere. Considering she’s been blogging even longer than I; I’m surprised we hadn’t met earlier. We share our thoughts on education and grandchildren, and in fact on anything to do with making our journeys through life the best we can. It is always a pleasure to converse with Miriam.

Before we begin the interview, I invite Miriam to tell you a little of herself:

Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, short stories and memoir.

Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.

She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were fun activities as a child. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, she includes photos and paintings to illustrate the poems.

She earned a Doctor of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public-school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visits to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughter in Oregon.

Welcome, Miriam.

Let’s talk school. First, could you tell us where you attended school?

Miriam Hurdle school photo

I went to school from elementary to college in Hong Kong.

Did you attend a government, private or independent school?

In Hong Kong, there are public schools, government subsidized schools, and private schools. I attended two elementary schools sponsored by organizations and they were tuition free schools. One was a Buddhist organization sponsored school, and we had to take a Buddhism class. I remember the nun chanting in class.

What is the highest level of education you achieved?

After I graduated from the college in Hong Kong, I worked for five years, then came to the United States for my graduate studies. I got three master’s degrees – in Religious Education, Counseling, and Educational Administration and a Doctor in Education.

What work or profession did you choose after school and was there anything in school that influenced this choice?

I love music since I was a kid. I sang solos in churches as a teenager. As a result, I took voice lessons and had more singing engagement. It would be my first choice to become a professional musician or teach music, but I could only afford to do music as an enjoyment, not a profession.

When I was in college, I volunteered in Far East Broadcasting Company in several programs. I did singing and recorded children’s stories. When I finished college, FEBC wanted to hire me full time, but the job didn’t pay too much.

Many girls chose to be teachers or nurses back in those days. I accepted a teaching job. I taught Chinese as a Second Language for three years in the Baptist University of Hong Kong. I was also a Director of Children’s Department for two years at Asian Outreach where I wrote four children’s books.

In the U.S. I worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for two years, taught preschool for two years, taught elementary school for fifteen years, and worked as a school district administration for ten years.

What is your earliest memory of school?

My earliest memory was when I won the Abacus Competition in first grade. The second-grade teacher taught abacus. He came to our classroom to present me the award. Another wonderful memory was that my first-grade teacher Mrs. Leung said I was bright. The thought of being bright influenced my whole life.

When I studied counseling and child development, I learned that positive reinforcement encourages desirable behavior. In fact, it is also true with adults. Instead of pointing fingers or saying, “don’t do this, don’t do that,” we can praise and encourage desirable behavior or responses.

What memories do you have of learning to read?

We did a lot of memorization in reading. We had to recite the reading lessons in early elementary school. My dad helped with my homework and had me memorized the lessons every week. I learned everything in the current lesson before the teacher taught a new lesson. At the fourth grade, I read my dad’s newspapers. My dad and I traded sections to read. I read the horrible news describing the details of crime scenes, read adult fantasy, comic strips and the Sunday children’s section.

My favorite literature was Aesop’s Fables. I also remember learning English grammar such as the regular tenses as walk, walking, walked, walked; and the irregular tenses as go, going, went, gone.

What memories do you have of learning to write?

There was not a lot of creative writing in the lower grades in elementary school. We did a lot of copying the reading lessons. I guess by copying; we remember writing in a proper sentence structure. In upper grade, I learned how to write a story with an opening, the middle, the climax and the conclusion. I remember how I paced my writing and made sure the climax was at the three fourth of the paper. We had a subject in Letter Writing and learned to write different letters.

I learned to write both Chinese and English calligraphy. For Chinese, we wrote in vertical and right to left progression. For English, we wrote alphabet and spellings. I like calligraphy and I still write in calligraphy style in my handwriting. I bought a calligraphic set to address my daughter’s wedding invitations.

What do you remember about math classes?

We learned math the traditional way and learned the mental math. I did addition and subtraction well with an abacus. Doing multiplication and subtraction on the abacus is harder so I don’t remember how to do them. I won the Abacus Competition in the first grade.

What was your favorite subject?

Miriam Hurdle's favourite subject at school was reading

My favorite subject was reading. I didn’t have books other than textbooks at home. There were bookstands on the streets where I could rent books to read. I remember using my allowance to buy tickets to rent books to read. I love to read comic books also.

What did you like best about school?

I like to be with my friends. My best friend Shirley at the fourth grade was my teacher Mrs. Cheung’s daughter. Mrs. Cheung was also a music teacher for the upper grades. We had a singing contest. I entered the competition and got fourth place. Shirley got second place. Shirley played the piano. I went to her house on the weekends and listened to her play for hours.

I keep in touch with Shirley. When we traveled to London, she and her husband took us sightseeing for five days.

What did you like least about school?

I can’t think of anything I didn’t like. There were forty students in each class. We received two report cards a year; they showed our ranking among the class. I got second to ninth places from first to sixth grade. It broke my heart when I got the ninth place. I can’t remember what happened, but it wasn’t because of any subject.

How do you think schools have changed since your school days?

I think the elementary schools in Hong Kong still do a lot of memorization rather than creative learning. My sister and her husband sent their two children to Canadian system International School, and they eventually migrated to Canada. After they got the Canadian citizenship, because of my brother-in-law’s health issue, they went back to Hong Kong and keep the dual citizenship.

What do you think schools (in general) do well?

Since I left Hong Kong forty years ago, I can’t comment about the schools there anymore. But I taught in California thirty years ago, I can comment on the schools in California.

Class size–Kindergarten is 20 students, first to third grades is 25 or fewer students, and fourth to sixth grades is up to 35 students average.

Schools get special funding for English learners to get extra help to learn at their current English levels to catch up with the levels of their classes.

There is special funding to help students from the low-income family because statistic shows that these students have low academic levels.

Many families can afford to send their children to go to preschool. For low-income families, they can send their children to the Headstart program to prepare for the kindergarten.

There are breakfast and lunch served at schools. Low-income families receive free meals for their children. Other children have meals for reduced or full fees. Students can bring their lunches to school also.

How do you think schools could be improved?

At elementary school, there is not enough time of the day to teach all the subject to prepare the students for Junior High or High school. Schools end at 2:30 p.m. for lower grade and 2:45 p.m. for upper grade. For lower grades, teachers teach reading and math in the morning. After lunch, they may teach social studies and physical education. There is no time to teach science. Since the State test at the end of the year doesn’t test science, the teachers give up on teaching that subject.

For upper grade, teachers teach reading and math in their homeroom. Some of them team teach social studies and science so the teacher could do the preparation and teach for more than one class. Students can benefit more learning if the school days are longer.

thank you for your participation

Thank you for sharing your reminiscences of school and thoughts about education in general, Miriam. It’s been wonderful to have you here. I learned so much about you. I am impressed by your doctorate degree, curious about whether you learned English at school, fascinated by the thought of renting books and envious of your singing ability.

Find out more about Miriam Hurdle

Visit her website: https://theshowersofblessings.com

Or her Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Miriam-Hurdle/e/B07K2MCSVW?ref=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Connect with her on social media

Twitter: https://twitter.com/mhurdle112

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/miriam.hurdle.1

Purchase Songs of Heartstrings from

Amazon Universal Link: http://smarturl.it/SongsofHeartstrings

Amazon UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07K1S47W9 

Amazon.com Link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B07K1S47W9 

 

If you missed previous reminiscences, check them out here:

Charli Mills

Sally Cronin

Anne Goodwin

Geoff Le Pard

Hugh Roberts

Debby Gies

Pauline King

JulesPaige

D. Avery

Christy Birmingham

Look for future interviews in this series to be posted on Sunday evenings AEST.

Coming soon:

Robbie Cheadle

Marsha Ingrao

Susan Scott

Mabel Kwong

Sherri Matthews

with more to follow.

Thank you blog post

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your comments. Please share your thoughts.

 

 

238 thoughts on “School Days, Reminiscences of Miriam Hurdle

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  14. CarolCooks2

    This series promises to be a great one, Norah… The two posts I have read were very good as are all the comments we will all have a good grasp of education systems around the world very soon 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you so much for reading and joining in the conversation, Carol. It is wonderful to hear the experiences of so many. We’ve been to Australia, New Zealand, United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong and South Africa so far. It is fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
            1. Norah Post author

              I was thinking of your schooling, Carol. That’s what this series is about. It would be fun to find out how rebellious you were. 🙂 But you could probably mention your grandchildren’s schooling too, as a comparison. That would be interesting. Shall I send you an invitation?

              Like

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  15. Pingback: School Days, Reminiscences of Robbie Cheadle | Norah Colvin

  16. Hugh's Views and News

    I’m so shocked to read from Miriam that there are not enough hours in the school day for science subjects. I can’t imagine school without at least a basic science lesson. I can remember taking ‘General Science’ at school, which touched on all science subjects. As we progressed, we could then chose to take a science subject like biology or physics instead of subjects like R.E, German or French. It just goes to show how different schooling can be around the world.

    It’s such a shame that the pay at the Far East Broadcasting Company was not enough to be able to live comfortably, Miriam. From what you shared with us in this interview, I can certainly see you as a wonderful broadcaster.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      I know, Hugh, about science class. Kindergarten through third grade students could learn so much science through hands-on activities. There are not enough hours for the kids to “play” due to the testing system. The Reading (as a subject) is literacy based, and the curriculum tries to cover all disciplines including science, but science is not taught as a separate subject at this time.

      Thank you, Hugh for your comment. I would love to have become a full-time broadcaster. I think my early broadcasting skills helped me to be a good speaker when I became a school administrator.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I agree, Hugh. Science is important in so many ways and can really switch kids onto learning if taught effectively.
      I also agree with you that Miriam would have made a wonderful broadcaster. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you for your visit, Sally. Teachers are busy teaching the subjects tested. So far, science is not a mandatory testing subject. The lower grades teachers do teach science but there’s no consistency.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          I know. I read Steve Jobs’ biography. President Obama talked to him about having iProucts made in USA, Steve said, if you could find 120 engineers for me, I’d do it!!

          40% of the doctors in the US are Indians. Studies said if they all go back to India, we’d be in trouble. But one study said, several Indian doctors went back to India to practice, but they couldn’t save lives either because India doesn’t have the medical equipment for them to do what they’d learned to do.

          It’s catch 22 in the world system! 🙂 xox

          Liked by 2 people

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            1. Norah Post author

              It is a tragedy that so much of the world’s ‘money’ is being spent on space exploration and weaponry. How much better that money could be spent on improving people’s lives.

              Liked by 3 people

              Reply
                1. Miriam Hurdle

                  I know, Sally, because they suffer PTSD and get no help. I had one counseling client whose father was in that situation, became homeless, wife took him back after being on the street for 6 months. Eventually he committed suicide.

                  Liked by 2 people

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    2. Norah Post author

      I think there was more stick when I was at school, Sally, or at least not much carrot. So much could be learned through science. It should feature more in school programs.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  17. Jennie

    I so enjoyed reading about Miriam’s school years. What struck me most was the power of positive words to children, and the unfortunate focus on memorization in lieu of creative writing. And 40 children in one class – yikes! Miriam, your memories are clear and delightful. Thank you, Norah and Miriam.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, Jennie, I agree with you on the power of positive words to children. I’ve read stories of the powerful effect on many people’s lives also. When I started teaching 30+ years ago, I found the new immigrant Asian students waiting for me to give them the “correct” answers. I had fun teaching them creative thinking and encouraged more than one way to find the answers.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Jennie

        You are welcome, Miriam. Yes, those positive words can change young lives. I’ve been teaching preschool for 35 years, and kind words make a difference. How wonderful that you taught creative thinking to those new Asian students years ago.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          Thank you, Jenni. I told my daughter’s 5th grade teacher that she (my daughter) took compliment very well. When she was in first grade, we sent her Halloween poem to a company that published anthology. We bought the book and showed it to her. She was so excited to see her poem being in a book, she made her own “book” and wrote more than 10 poems!! Come to think of it, I would like to find her “book.”

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed Miriam’s interview, Jennie. Positive words are very important.
      I know what teaching forty is like. In my first year of teaching, I had forty children in my class. It was when ‘open area’ was new here. Two classes were combined in an open space with two teachers. So together we had eighty children!!! Oh boy! 😦

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Miriam Hurdle

        I visited an integrated program that combined four classes in a large room (torn down the walls) and set up learning stations. Students gathered in the opening session in the morning with folders in their hands, then select 7 of the 10 learning sessions for the day. Teachers stay at their stations and teaching the same units in rotation of the students all day.

        I don’t know if that classroom survived???

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
      2. Jennie

        Oh boy, indeed! Forty. What a challenge, and with that open area concept. That’s probably when the positive words are most important. Hats off to you and to Miriam, Norah!

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
  18. Stevie Turner

    Interesting to read about your schooldays, Miriam. I remember learning cursive writing, and having to write lines and lines of the same letters all joined up. I also remember learning times tables parrot fashion. I wonder if kids do these things nowadays?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Yes, Stevie, I remember the look of my cursive writing exercise books. I started teaching times tables in 2nd grade. They learn to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s anyway, so I taught the times tables in those numbers. I had the times tables chart in the 3rd grade classroom, that’s grade level when the kids must learn them well.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, Debby for stopping by. ❤ This post brings back a lot of memories. I don't know if any school system will ever be perfect. Hopefully some countries or states have more choices for parents to choose whatever deem to be best for their children (and affordable). 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  19. Miriam Hurdle

    Thank you so much, Norah, for having me here. I’m so happy to have this opportunity to talk about and write about things I don’t usually do in my blogging.

    I love all the comments and interaction here, especially about the school system and the testings. We may have some good suggestions here.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      I am delighted that you joined in, Miriam. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences and wisdom. The conversation is remarkable and filled with great suggestions.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  20. Darlene

    I enjoyed reading about Miriam’s school days. You were so cute!! Renting books is such a cool idea and sharing your father’s newspaper was a great way to practice reading and learning about the world.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, Darlene. I was lucky to have a couple kid pictures still in my possession!!

      I read adult fantasy at 4th grade. One was about a male “fairy” left some stuff on a stone, the deer licked it and got pregnant. It got me scared for years of sitting on any spots on public transportation sat by male riders… 🙂 I don’t know when I got over with it. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          I know, Darlene. There was no harm done, I guess. I remember my daughter had “sex education” in 5th and 6th grade as extra and parents had to sign permission for her to attend.
          Her girl scout leader was a OB/GYN. She had a mother-daughter night at her home. She used a big butcher paper to draw a huge oval shape to explain to female organ and overall sex education,
          It was good to take the myth out of it. ❤

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you enjoyed reading about Miriam’s school experiences, Darlene. It’s a funny thing about readers: if they can’t find anything ‘suitable’, they’ll read whatever they can get. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  21. thecontentedcrafter

    It is such a treat to read about educational experiences from so many viewpoints! I have had experiences with some Asian parents who have chosen to send their older children here to escape the rote learning and highly pressurised educational system. I was also reminded of having an abacus to ‘play’ with in a primary class, my memory is hazy, but I do recall the sense of wonder when the workings of it clicked and suddenly I ‘saw’ how multiplication worked 🙂 Maybe we should consider adopting this ancient computer into our modern educational world. Lovely to meet you Miriam.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Nice to meeting you, Pauline. My fellow teachers loved to have Asian students in their classes, especially with parents who were first generation immigrants. Because these parents have stricter expectation on their kids, as a result, they tended to help with their kids’ homework, and so forth.

      Yes, using the abacus for calculation was almost like playing games. I’m glad you learned to do multiplication because I forgot how to do it. I illustrated how to do it in addition and subtraction in this post.

      https://theshowersofblessings.com/2016/10/22/ancient-calculator-abacus/

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. Norah Post author

        There were always a lot of immigrant, and often refugee, children in my classes too. They were, mostly, wonderful students and keen to learn. Respectful too, which was pleasing.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          Yes, Norah, and it’s interesting to find out how they learn the best. When I learn about standardized testing, one criticism was, if a refugee student didn’t know what a curtain looks like, or didn’t use curtains in their countries, they might not answer the question correctly.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m so pleased you are enjoying these interviews, Pauline. It is great to hear of experiences from around the world.
      I like the changes that are happening in NZ’s educational system at the moment. I hope other education departments take a leaf out of your lovely PM’s book.
      Funny you mention the abacus. It seemed to be a standard “toy” for toddlers and nurseries. I had one in one of my classrooms but never understood how it worked, sadly.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. thecontentedcrafter

        My teacher must have understood them – though I have no recollection of any instruction – or other moments with it – just that one big ‘aha’ as everything fell into place…. 🙂 Those are the magical moments of education aren’t they.

        Liked by 2 people

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  22. Chelsea Owens

    Pleased to meet you, Miriam.
    I am always impressed when someone moves from one country and lives in another. You not only did that, but also went to college and worked here in advanced positions!

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you for stopping by and comment, Chelsea. It was not uncommon for students from Hong Kong to go abroad to study though. One friend went to England studied to be a solicitor then went back to Hong Kong. For me, I came to the US and was at the right place in the right timing. The west coast had more Asian immigrants and needed Asian teachers. 🙂

      I enjoyed being the department director before coming to the US. I just took one step at a time to get to a position where I could use my strength. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          I know, Chelsea, change is hard and scary. Perhaps I was younger and had no responsibility or attachment yet. It would be different for my daughter even she was at her senior in the university because she had a boyfriend already. She is now married and have a 19 months daughter.

          Her school friend got married in the US, but both the husband and wife worked for the same company and were sent to Japan. They have been there for five years.

          Liked by 2 people

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        2. Norah Post author

          I agree with you, Chelsea. It takes courage to leave behind what is familiar, more especially so when the culture to which you are moving is vastly different.

          Liked by 2 people

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      1. Norah Post author

        It is good to benefit from being in the right place at the right time, Miriam. But I am certain that many others would have been in the same position but not done as well as you did. It wasn’t just luck, it was the right set of skills and the right attitude too.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          You’re right, Norah. We were poor when I was a kid, but one thing about my Dad was that he loved to read, reading newspapers as early as I could remember, and read until the day he had a stroke at 85 years old. Reading helped me wanted to learn more and do new things.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  23. petespringerauthor

    I look forward to reading your interviews each week, Norah, because I’m so fascinated by the individual educational systems and learning about each person’s journey. As a longtime elementary teacher, I found it interesting how many of my students loved school in 2nd or 3rd grade, but lost that zest for education by the time they were in 6th grade. (I often question if we need serious reforms in the American educational system.) I’m curious if this is true in other cultures.as well.

    I particularly enjoyed reading about Miriam’s experiences as she has had such a fascinating journey. I had never heard of abacus competitions—how interesting!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Pete, I agree with you that the education system needs a reform. I taught under the “No Child Left Behind” Act. It was an education reform and set measurable goals and standards. But the assessment didn’t take into consideration of individual progress. We had 5th and 6th grade students came from Mexico or China, they were “thrown” into the regular classroom with some ESL assistance. They were exempt from the annual state testing within the first 11 months of being in this country. If they were here more than 11 months, they were required to take the tests and the test results became part of the factor in calculating the school performance. If they achieved 25% of the achievement, even if the rest of the grade level student achieved higher levels, at the end, the overall level of the school performance was affected.

      It took 14 years (NCLB was from 2001 to 2015) for the congress to turn the testing to the responsibility of the state.

      Thank you for commenting on abacus. I did a post on using the abacus, please click on this link if you’re interested. 🙂
      https://theshowersofblessings.com/2016/10/22/ancient-calculator-abacus/

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      1. petespringerauthor

        The whole emphasis on state tests was such a turnoff to me. I taught many low and underprivileged kids who worried about basic needs, such as food, clothing, and shelter. How are children like that supposed to care about a test?

        Thank you for sharing the post on the abacus, Miriam. I had two in my classroom, and the kids were always fascinated by them.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          I know, Pete. I think children should be allowed to be children and just go to school and learn. When I got into administration, part of my job was to do parenting education. Many Hispanic parents said their children are not going to college because they can’t afford it. If parents don’t think the kids are going to college, their kids won’t aim high. They also understand their parents’ struggle and share their burden.

          All I could say to those parents was to help their kids do well at school and worry about finance and other situations later.

          The tests are getting too much. I retired but since I run an after school tutoring services using my former school, I keep in touch with the teachers at that school. There’s not enough time teaching because so much time spent on testing. I know we don’t teach to the tests, if we want to have good results, we do need to make sure the subjects are taught before testing.

          I’m glad to know you have two of the abacus in your classroom. I bet the students love to “play” with them. 🙂

          Liked by 2 people

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          1. Norah Post author

            That’s great advice you gave the parents, Miriam, to encourage their children to do well in school and worry about the finances later. Look at that wonderful philanthropist who just paid the college fees of 400+ students. How wonderful!

            Liked by 1 person

            Reply
            1. Miriam Hurdle

              That’s right, Norah. We had Parent Involvement Academy program and had meetings once a week plus annual conference. I invited speakers to present college financial opportunities for the parents.

              Liked by 1 person

              Reply
      2. Norah Post author

        I don’t know much about NCLB, Miriam, but it sounded good. Many things do, but don’t work out that way in practice.
        Thanks for the link to your abacus post. I haven’t seen an abacus like that before. I think I’ll still need a few more lessons. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Pete. I’m pleased you are enjoying the stories. Each journey is interesting, isn’t it? I’m hoping you might like to add yours, too.
      Isn’t it a shame that many students get turned off school just a few years in. It seems to happen everywhere. We really need to do more about that, and I agree that some reforms are necessary.
      I hadn’t heard of abacus competitions either. I didn’t ever master the abacus for that matter. Did you use it?

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  24. Jules

    All schools systems are different. I remember the over crowded classrooms of a jr high in New York. Students had to share text books and it wasn’t easy when there wasn’t enough desk space ether. I can’t imagine leaving out the sciences or the arts, but some schools do. There is too much emphasis of passing tests and not enough encouragement for practical living.

    May you continue to enjoy your retirement and travel. I hope to do more traveling when my husband is able to retire. Though out of the country might take a planned saving when income is limited. I am glad that while my husband had a different job that I was able to travel to Italy. I would like to go to other countries as well.

    Best to you and thanks to Norah for this educational series. ~Jules

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Yes, Jules, in upper grades of elementary, Jr. high and high school, there are maximum numbers of students, but it’s on an average of the school year in a district system. One school could be overcrowded, but another school in the same district may be not. So it’s sad and not fair to some schools and teachers to have overcrowded classrooms.

      It was good that you traveled to Italy when your husband had a different job. We have to do some planning if we want to travel. I think seeing different part of the states is also exciting. I’ve been to 16 out of 50 states. I would like to visit more states.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment on Miriam’s post, Jules.
      As you say, schools are different. It is great when all children are provided with wonderful opportunities that empower them and awaken their potential. It is sad when the opposite happens. Teachers often work hard in very difficult situations to provide the best opportunities for their students.
      I hope you get to do some of that travel, Jules. What fun it would be.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  25. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Miriam your reminisces sing with your themes. You have been you for a very long time! Always a creative person with a love of music and education and reading and writing.
    I am intrigued by the bookstands where you rented books on the streets.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, D for noticing the trends in my “life.” Yes, I’m fortunate to have developed several loves or favorite things and have kept them, namely, music, reading and writing.

      Yes, I was glad that the rental books were available for me because I was so interested in reading, even read the Rated R material as a 4th grader!!

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          Wow, you were creative in getting books to read, D. Yes, parents are protective and only give you age appropriate books to read.!

          I’ve never learned how to ride a ride. My parents couldn’t afford a bike when I was little. Then I was too old and knew how to be afraid of falling when we could afford. After falling three times and got hurt, I gave up trying.

          Liked by 1 person

          Reply
  26. robbiesinspiration

    It was very interesting reading about Miriam’s schooling and the rote method of learning applied. I doubt it is still like that in Hong Kong. The schools in California sound wonderful and it is good they give the children meals for free if they are needed. You can’t learn if you are hungry. I don’t think the school day should be longer though. Maybe the holiday period should be shorter but I think 6 1/2 to 7 hour school day is long enough for children. They also need to have free time to play, daydream and read.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, Robbie. Even though we have many homeless people on the street, there is overall a good social services system for the people at the poverty level. I agree that students need to have full stomach to learn. I had students came to school late, missing the breakfast and I gave them some of my lunch, asked them to eat on the bench outside of the classroom (where I could see them).

      We have summer school for 4 weeks but only the low performing students are qualified to attend. I used to teach summer school because teachers get 10 months paid and don’t have income in the summer.

      There are private summer school or summer camps for students if parents can afford or want to send their children to attend.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
      1. Norah Post author

        I’ve always been astounded that teachers don’t get holiday pay in the States, Miriam. We do in Australia. At first I thought that your hourly/weekly rate might compensate for the lack of holiday pay, but then discovered that a teacher’s wage isn’t all that great either. I wonder if teachers are paid for their holidays in other countries. It would be interesting to know.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
            1. robbiesinspiration

              It is because teaching doesn’t generate massive monetary benefits for stakeholders. Lawyers, accountants, corporate financiers and leaders of companies all earn big salaries, they make shareholders rich through their efforts. Teachers, nurses, physios and all those sorts of jobs don’t make money for anyone so they are poorly paid. Our society is driven by greed and money.

              Liked by 2 people

              Reply
        1. Miriam Hurdle

          I know, teachers don’t get paid as much as other occupations her in the States. I thought, if teachers facilitate presidents, kings, queens, scientists, lawyers, etc, they should get paid more.

          Well, teachers here have the option of even out the salary from 10 months into 12 months but the total is still the same.

          Liked by 2 people

          Reply
    2. Norah Post author

      I’m pleased you found Miriam’s post interesting, Robbie. It would be interesting to hear of the current school system in Hong Kong. I still do hear reports of teaching by rote over there. I’m not sure how accurate they are.
      I think feeding children who come to school hungry is a great idea. The small cost of breakfast will add greatly to learning potential. Some schools run breakfast programs here, but it is up to the school. It generally occurs in lower-socio-economic areas.
      I agree with you that the school day is long enough for children. And for teachers. Most teachers I know work as many hours off-class as they do on. We all, including children, need “free time to play, daydream and read”.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    1. Miriam Hurdle

      Thank you, Kate for your visit and comment! I do have some interests and some strength that led to job opportunities. After observing my dad, myself, my daughter, siblings AND my granddaughter, I came to kind of a conclusion that we have good organization skills in our genes. I came to the US early enough in my life when I could start my career and moved on from there. I would say that there were many helps on my way to path the way throughout the career path in which I was very thankful. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  27. Susan Scott

    Lovely to read thank you both! I love the idea of abacus, not just as an idea but I’ve always thought that the abacus would be the best way to understand maths! And to get a really good grounding in the concepts …

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your lovely comment, Susan. I’m pleased you mentioned the abacus. I remember having one in one of the classrooms in which I taught and being disappointed I didn’t understand how to use it.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
        1. Norah Post author

          Hi, Ritu. I’ll send you an email. I send out just a few at a time – makes it easier for me to manage. I’ll be in touch soon. xx

          Like

          Reply

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