Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"When we enter into a child's world we are not in a strange land -- we are homeward bound."

Muriel Hunt Morris as young teacher
By Michael J Morris
Just recently I was having coffee with a friend, and told him I had no idea about a column which is pretty usual for me as I face the icy challenge of the empty page.
"You will think of something," he replied.
Never did I think that this week I would have been writing about my mother, Muriel E. (Hunt) Morris, and some comments she made a party for her when she retired after teaching at Chapleau Public School after 32 years in 1970. Mom also taught four years near what is now Thunder Bay.
Anyway, I came across  an article from the Sault Daily Star by the late Margaret 'Maggie' Costello, a distinguished American reporter and actress who had moved to Chapleau . Maggie had done a column about the party. It became the basis for my weekly column in the Chapleau Express, also posted on my own blog.
And why, you ask, am I sharing that event with you which occurred in "that place somewhere in Ontario", called Chapleau.
I am because of the overwhelming response I have received on comments my mother made at the party about teachers, parents and children.
Here they are as taken from the story by my good friend Maggie who I wish was here so I could thank her.

  "There have been many changes in education, but the function of teacher and parents has not changed. It is to guide children into self development, to create a climate for learning in school and at home.
"The home and school cannot be divorced if we are to be successful. The child must be encouraged to make the most important discovery of all -- himself or herself!. 
"The major concerns of childhood continue through the years."
"When we enter into a child's world we are not in a strange land -- we are homeward bound."
In 1968 when I was news editor at the Chatham Daily News, Mom decided to take a course and spend the summer with me. One day, the professor in typical professorial style commented that it was necessary to account for individual differences in children, and so on.
My mother raised her hand, and told him, "I think you mean all children are special with needs." Then she dropped the course.
Over the years, so many of my Mom's pupils have shared comments and memories of her with me which I have so much appreciated.
I was going to share some others with you but decided to simply focus on her comments at the party and let you think about them. However, I do thank everyone who has been in touch with me. 
As another school year begins, I believe her comments to parents,teachers, indeed to  all of us, apply today as much as they did in 1970. 
Mom died on March 4, 1989. My email is mj.morris@live.ca


  1. Whoa, stumbled on this blog by accident. Informative, as always.

    Your friend, Joe


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