Friday, August 30, 2013

More About Miss Grace Durrin

Miss Durrin was a legend.  She was ardent about her subject, Children's Literature, at a time when it was often dismissed as a lightweight field.  Her course was dreaded by many elementary teaching majors because it was not an easy course.  We were expected to go out of her class knowing something about children's literature, the more the better.

The big project for her class was a collection of children's poems, at least a hundred neatly typed and bound in a sturdy binder so we could use it in our classrooms.  I had been alerted to this project before I went to college by a woman I babysat for.  She offered me her book if I wanted to use it.  She was proud of the "A" she received on her selections.  She said she used her book a lot when she was teaching

I took her book though I intended to make my own choices since I have always liked poetry of all kinds.  I enjoyed reading poems and picking out my favorites but putting the book together was a major problem for me.  I was an terrible typist.

Another relic in the basement, my high school graduation gift from my parents.

In those days  the only three ways of correcting  typing errors were to use White-Out, a liquid bought in a bottle, or small  rectangles of paper covered with a chalky substance which covered up the error when typed over, or erasable typing paper.  She told us we were not allowed to use the erasable paper.  She wanted a neat collection with no errors.

I typed page after page, only to make horrible typing errors as I neared the end of the page. Then I got nervous and started making errors after typing only a word or two.  Finally, my blessed roommate took pity on me.  She typed most of my collection.  Many of the poems in my book are from the book of the woman I babysat for.


That project was one of the best projects ever required of me.  I still have the book. It's in the basement, too. The bits of white on the cover are from the label which fell off some time or another.


I used it in every classroom I ever taught in...first grade, third grade, fourth grade.


This is the first page of the four page contents list.

1 comment:

Rachel Cotterill said...

My mum took some children's literature courses as part of her degree - it's definitely not an easy subject! As a child it's easy to gobble up books without stopping to think, but writing and studying them is much more work.