Scott - Young Alum, Seasoned Teacher
Meet Scott, Class of 1972 Alum.
Scott studied at ASH during his elementary school years when the school was less than a decade old. His memories of ASH during that period give a snapshot of the school's history during that time and how much the institution has grown, and evolved, over the years. He still remembers his time at ASH fondly, which had an influence on his career as a teacher.
What is the general framework of when you were at ASH?
I studied at ASH from 1961-1964, when the school was in a historical residence on the Parkweg street, in The Hague. I was in second grade from 61-62, and my teacher Mrs. Midivaine and the Principal was Louise Snyder. In my third grade year I remember my teacher was D.V. de Mantis; that is my third grade class pictured in the black and white class photo. In 4th grade my report card says my teacher was J.R. Taft, but I recall Mr. Anderson was my teacher that year.
What is a special memory you have of your time at ASH?
My second grade or third grade teacher would wait until mid-morning and give me a Guilder. I would go down to the street where a horse drawn cart with bagels, rolls, cheese, etc. would come by. I would pet the horse and get the teacher a bagel or a yogurt.
There was a "courtyard" in the back of the school and each class would line up there in the mornings, weather permitting. There was a flag raising and we would all sing "My county tis of thee sweet land of liberty," with our hand over our heart.
The courtyard had a soccer area, and it also had a basketball pole and hoop, ten feet high. That was the first time I attempted to shoot a basket and I had trouble reaching the net. It is something I still think about to this day.
One observation (as a retired teacher) is regarding the report cards. Report cards today are massive compared to back then; they were so simple because the curriculum was simple. At that time there was still an emphasis on the "three R's" and basics, and the classroom seating plan was structured by a numbering system. Students were "ranked" according to a composite score of reading, writing and arithmetic, where the row that you sat in reflected your score. The top 1 through 5 sat in the first row, etc. I know this to be true myself because I remember being told I was #17, and I sat in that desk - later I improved and "moved up several spots" according to one report card.
How was your #ASHexperience? How did your experience shape your path?
I'm sure my parents spent a lot of time investigating where my brothers and I would go to school and I'm glad they settled on ASH. The teachers were tough but fair and there was a sense of the school being a special, elite, type of group. The approach they used helped me because I needed structure and the rating system taught me to be aware of what I needed to do to advance in learning. I think this helped me to focus.
What words can you share about meaningful learning, to our current students?
It was a unique experience and I think the teachers were able to develop some pride in being part of something different, rather than being part of a larger public system.
I think meaningful learning comes from forming a foundation in the basics. That will give students the resources to discriminate differences, to think critically, come up with good ideas and solutions and not blindly follow.
Where are you today and what are you pursuing?
I am retired from 36 years of working in education; I spent 21 years working in private schools and 15 years in public schools. I’ve taught all grade levels from kindergarten through grade 12; from teaching in the classroom, to a physical education teacher, a coach and working in administration. I was also a basketball player and I coached for 25 years. I used to think of myself as a young child, trying to reach that hoop on the ASH playground; I often thought of my time at ASH during my own career as a teacher.
We have a diverse community of students, staff, and families from around the world. Each member of our community brings their own story that enriches the #ASHexperience.
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