Editor’s Note: The Midland County Historical Society is partnering with the Midland Daily News for “A Window to Midland’s Past,” which will feature historical pieces in print and online at ourmidland.com. This particular piece was compiled from the 1884 portrait and biographical scrapbook by retired historical society director Gary Skory.
Since the first schools were organized in Midland County, the education system has undergone a complete change. The big difference between the old and the new methods is obvious. In “old times” the preceptor’s word was the supreme law in his little kingdom, and that law was enforced by a generous distribution of blows from the well-seasoned birch stalk. Executing a pencil sketch on a slate was considered a misdemeanor, or deserving of at least 12 strokes from the same reformer, wielded by the sturdy arm of a furious pedagogue. Asking for help solving a confusing math problem more than twice during school hours relegated the unfortunate student to a seat on the ‘dunce block’, the most watched character, but not the most envied. of the room.