Do you know what this is? I do from personal experience at Marion School in Winnipeg. This little wooden object is called a clapper and nuns who worked as teachers years ago used them to keep order and discipline. When the two pieces of hinged wood were ‘clapped together’ it made a sharp noise. I remember the clapper signaling the beginning and ending of the total silence during which we ate our lunch at Marion School. Making a noise could result in the clapper being ‘clapped’ quite close to your ear and perhaps even nipping a bit of skin.
I attended Marion School in St. Boniface when I was in grade one. Marion School was predominantly French although there was one English class for each grade. Most of our teachers were nuns and they all carried clappers in the pockets of their habits. I was scared of the clapper and on at least one occasion when I had been sent to stand in the corner for some offence, remember a sister coming by and clapping it repeatedly right next to my ear.
One of these clappers was on display at the Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City along with other disciplinary tools used by teaching nuns. I don’t know if I had ever seen a clapper since those long ago grade one days. But here was one again. Some people I have told about the clapper have declared it must be just a figment of my imagination. Now I have living proof that it was actually real .
Could I Have Been A Grey Nun?
The Nun’s Christmas
This past weekend was the 40th anniversary of my husband Dave’s graduation from Canadian Mennonite University. We spent Saturday afternoon on the university campus reconnecting with college friends. I was able to have a nice visit with a former roomate and Dave chatted with some guys who were his college basketball teamates. Unfortunately only two other people from his graduating class showed up but we looked up the rest of the class in an old yearbook and talked about where they might be now. We had been married for two years in 1975 when Dave graduated. We lived at CMU, then CMBC in a small basement suite and shared a bathroom and laundry facilities with a half a dozen other couples.
I was teaching kindergarten in St. James at Lincoln School and commuted to work from the college campus where Dave was finishing his Bachelor of Theology degree.
The community of people on our college campus played such an important role in our lives. After all Dave and I met each other there in our first year of college. It hardly seems like 40 years ago.
A Controversial Wedding Photo
She’s Done It Again
I agreed to take part in a phone survey on the weekend that was about the upcoming civic election. I was asked which candidate for mayor I’d vote for if the election was held today. I also had to answer a variety of other questions about city infrastructure and issues. One question upset me.
What is the main problem with Winnipeg schools?
First of all I wondered why a poll concerned with the civic election would ask that question since Winnipeg schools are under provincial and not city jurisdiction. But I was given four options to choose from.
The main problem with Winnipeg schools is…..
2) problem students that monopolize the teacher leaving little time for other students
3) not enough emphasis on teaching the basics
4) passing children to the next grade when they really haven’t mastered the skills in their current grade
I told the interviewer that none of those things were the main problem with Winnipeg schools. In my opinion it was poverty and lack of support for families. The problem was children who came to school unprepared to learn because of poor nutrition, lack of sleep, lack of exercise, poor housing and living conditions, family trauma and problems, spending too much time on technology and not receiving caring and responsible parenting.
“That’s not one of the answers,” said the interviewer and so I reluctantly picked a choice from the list provided, even though I didn’t really see it as the key problem.
Participating in this survey has made me leery about agreeing to answer survey questions again in the future. This survey, like many, obviously had a certain agenda and now I’m sorry I advanced that agenda by participating.
Other posts about Winnipeg schools ……
Learning Cool Things
Oh The Things You Learn
I Don’t Want A Tax Break
Check out some of the things that are happening in Winnipeg to help young people celebrate and share their cultural diversity on my Destination Winnipeg site.