Got a Lecture from the Teacher

18-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, March 26, 1913:  Teacher gave the school a lecture, but it was really meant for me. I don’t think what I did was so bad, but I guess I won’t do it again. I might catch it right there.

Recent photo of the building that once housed  McEwensville High School.

Recent photo of the building that once housed McEwensville High School.

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Hmm—what the heck did Grandma do? The previous day she wrote that she got home from play practice at 11:30 and didn’t have time to do her studies.

In the past, Grandma had some issues with cheating. Might she possibly have reverted to that old habit?

Two years prior to this diary entry, on February 7, 1911, she wrote:

Some of the boys at school found the teacher’s Latin questions in examination, and we all expect to make a good mark. I do at least, but I might be fooled as some cheats are.

And, she got away with it that time. The next day (February 8, 1911) she wrote:

Had some of our exams today. Came out all right in Latin. Our arithmetic wasn’t so easy though. My fingers feel rather tired.

The next year, things didn’t go so well. On January 25, 1912 Grandma wrote:

Gave my ear to a free-for-all lecture this afternoon. It was delivered by Mr. Teacher, the chief part of which was about cheating on examinations. I’ve been so worked up at this, although Conscience tells me not to.  Anyway I believe it is time to stop, and do better in the future. So now, I will try to bid adieu to all ways of crookedness and get the things in my head instead of having them on paper.

But, Grandma did reform her ways—at least temporarily. A few days later, on February 9, 1912 she wrote:

I am disgusted with the marks I made in my examination, but although my marks are low I am not losing faith for I can truthfully say, “I didn’t cheat.” I had not much of a desire to cheat after that awful lecture and what desire I had left I managed to trample down. I intend to improve for next month and make my next teacher happy.

13 Responses

  1. Sometimes the way things go, you’d almost think life favours cheaters but it’s too hard on the conscience so your grandma was smart to play it straight.

  2. Wow – wonder what Grandma did to get lectured…..

  3. What a mystery. I hope it worked out okay in the end. Whatever it was, she says she won’t do it again…

  4. It is interesting to see how your grandma struggled over the years with her conscience and her desire to do well in school…

  5. It is good to see that she understands actions and consequences.

  6. :) I am sure your Grandma grew up to live a “straight and narrow” path, because she had a truly guilty conscience early on. :)

  7. It was probably a lecture on not turning in the homework and probably up late and tired and that the play came before the school work.

  8. She may have felt the lecture was for her, but I doubt she was the only one.

  9. [...] like Grandma had “senioritis.” She was counting the days until graduation, and two days prior to this diary entry her teacher lectured her on her [...]

  10. School can be tough on the hardiest of souls…. Jane

  11. [...] senioritis—so I guess it isn’t a surprise that her grade for deportment fell.  For example, on March 26 she [...]

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