Emily Vozzola: Teacher


I was appointed to teach in Groveton Elementary; it wasn't a case of my choosing. They had not completed the building when we came. I taught in a little school over on Telegraph Road. There were a lot of hornets in the wall. Some of the teachers taught down at Mount Vernon Church Building.

Well, I didn't hit the children but often I wanted to hit them. I just can't think of them being abused in that way. Now it was not unheard of to send one into the corner, or to have them write certain things. Due to the bus system, you couldn't keep them after school, which would have been a real punishment.
The depression affected the school system because during that time if you were teaching, and your husband had employment then you were not allowed to teach - one income per family.

Whatever they asked you to do, we had to do it. We had a lot of bus duty. We had to come back and raise money with dances, card parties, or whatever it would be to get certain things we wanted in the school, like books for the library.

I taught the third grade at first, then I went up to the fourth grade. Probably I taught your grandparents.

We were just beginning to work with units. That was a big step in the education system. I can remember all the various things we did. On Christmas, we made paper maché camels. It used to be that you studied so many words for your spelling, so many pages of geography, and so forth. With the unit teaching, you might study selected words related to the unit.

I believe I first started with 90 dollars a month and it increased. In the first years we were not paid during the summer months. We'd have a teachers meeting the day after Labor Day. At that time all of the teachers in the entire county could meet in one building.

I'm retired now and as you know I'm well in my 70's. I do church work and I also work with the Salvation Army. I enjoy reading and I'm always happy if I have a chance to go somewhere. I have difficulty in driving at night due to cataracts.

I taught William Durrer who was the Chief of Police in Fairfax County. I taught Harry Caroeo, he's one of the Judges in the Virginia Supreme Court. There has been a great change in schools but you couldn't begin to get the things then that are offered in schools today. I'm sure there're excellent teachers in all areas now as then.

I think it would be more challenging to teach now because all of you have been exposed to so much more through the years by T.V. and radio.

I did all the things when I was growing up, that you all would think are so corny. We had picnics, lawn games, and skip-to-my-lou-my-darlin'. We square danced. We would go out and gather chestnuts from the trees. When I was old enough, our parents hired a teacher and we would go to her home. Then they had a little slave cabin nearby, that they converted into a one room school. We went there. We had desks where we sat two together.

My father gave two acres of land and they built a one room school. I finished school in the one room school. The first year I boarded in Alexandria High School. The next year my sister and I drove to Fairfax. We parked the horse in a nearby barn and they were very happy to have the horse there because they had a garden and the horse manure was very good. We did not have to pay a fee to leave him there.

I had no children; my children were step children. But my granddaughter graduated from Virginia Polytechnical Institute this year and we often laugh about when I was in school.

Volume Two, Table of Contents
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