The Unruly Student
Tuesday July 19, 2005
By Warren Addicott
Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson
School discipline is a serious concern for teachers today, but it is not a new problem. James Addicott taught at the Goose Creek School in Modoc County, California, in 1888. In his memoirs, Prairie Pioneers, published in 1951, he told of the unique way he dealt with an intimidating student who attended his class.
Addicott was only 18 and new to his $65-a-month teaching job. There were no age limits for the school and Addicott's class consisted of a few small children, four older girls, and fourteen young cowboys.
Each morning students marched into the school double file, took their seats, and waited quietly for the teacher's signal to take out their books. Unhappy with Addicott's "kindergarten rules," Phil, a six-foot-three, 23-year-old cowboy, taunted his teacher, "What would you do if I should shove you in the corner and lick you?" It didn't help that Phil was the county champion boxer.
Addicott dealt with this threat by suggesting the two go on a deer hunt together. The camaraderie of the hunt changed everything. Phil later told the teacher, "If any of those roughnecks give you any trouble, just call on me."
Simply opening the lines of communication solved Addicott's problem.
Today's episode of As It Was was Contributed by Dr. Warren Addicott, the program engineer is Raymond Scully. I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society. To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org
Addicott, J. E. Prairie Pioneers. Los Gatos, California: privately published, 1951.