JWG (jwg) wrote,

The Dalton School - some memories

Going to the reunion brought back a bunch of memories.

I went to the Dalton School from 1st through 8th grades. The high school at the time was girls only. It was (and still is) a very amazingly wonderful progressive school in NYC. In 5th through 8th grades the academic work was organized into what was called the Dalton Plan.

Students were divided into Houses which people for each of the grades and there was a House Meeting every morning. Part of the day was called Labvoratory time where you were free to go to any classroom and meet with the teacher or work on projects either alone or with other students. It was a good exercise in learning how to manage time. Classes were called Conferences.

Every month each subject teacher gave each student an Assignment Sheet that described what was to be done that month. It was divided into 20 Units and you had a Unit Card with two columns for each subject, When you completed work you marked the student column and then at a meeting with a teacher the other column would be marked. At the end of the month when the last of the 20 units was completed you got the teacher to sign off. When all subjects had their signoffs you ran back to your House and posted it on the wall and proclaim "I'm off my assingment". It was often a contest to see who would be first. They still follow the Assignment pattern and time allocation but don't have Unit Cards any more.

A few tidbits about teachers and rituals:

My second grade teacher was Norma Jones. Among other things she taught us cooking. The idea was to give us some practical exercises with fractions and the idea of following a recipe. Pretty good ideas i think.

My 5th grade and more Geography teacher was John Seeger, Pete's brother as it happens. He was a great story teller. In addition to geography I was in his House once. It was in geography where I learned how to do research. We would each or sometimes a pair of people pick a country and study it with books and go to the country office if there was one, make a paper maché and prepare a report and make a presentation to the class. He and his wife were also the Directors of Camp Killoleet in Hancock, Vermont that I went to for a few years and then in '59-'61 was councillor. The camp still exists and is run by his daughter Kate. I went to the camp for his memorial service a few years ago (and got to speak to Pete about a common friend).

My 6th and 8th Grade Social Studies teacher was Ethel Mukerji, the wife of Dhan Gopal Mukerji, a well known Indian author who wrote in English. We studied Indian history and medieval history, among other things; She was tough, exacting, and wonderful.

My 5th and 7th grade Social Studies teacher was Mrs. Dal Negro, An Argentinian (or Brazillian - I forget which) and among other things we studied South American History.

Hugo Robus was my science teacher. He was great. In my one year of teaching at Dalton my clasroom was the one that had been his; it looked pretty much the same.

My Math teacher was Kitty O'Connell. Once when I was having trouble being motivated to do my homework my mother made an appointment with her and we went in and she gave a lot of reasons why math was going to be impoortant in my life. It worked.

My 6th and 8th grade English teacher was Hortense Tyroler, or Horty as my mother called her because they had been classmates at Barnard. In 6th grade we were challenged by reading a Shakespeare play, I forget which one, but I think it was Julius Caesar.

The boys gym teacher was John McCook, or Muscles as he liked to be called. He also ran a summer camp, Camp Tacoma Pines (no longer in existence) that I went to as a camper and councillor. The basement had a pool - no longer there, the gyms were on the 10th floor - we sometimes went by bus to another gym and to Randall's Island for outdoor sports - they still use Randall's island, but have a gym building a couple of blocks away.

Lincoln's Birthday, Feb 12, was Book Day. Everybody donated a book to the library and we paraded up to the stage in the Auditorium to leave our offering.

Arch Day was at the end of the year and we all marched up to the auditorium stage and walked through the arch to signify passing on to the next grade or graduation. They still do this.

Around Christmas time we Candle Lighting day where we paraded up to the stage to light a candle.

I'm out of touch with any of my classmates, but it was nice seeing a few of them at the reunion. I do know that several of my best friends from those days are deceased or have disappeared. Dalton tried to have a cross section of people - not everyone was white, but most were moderately or more wealthy. One of my best friends was Chris Kazan, son of Elia. There were some others with famous parents: Eileen, daughter of William Shirer; Fiona, daughter of Marshall Field; Jeff, son of William Paley.
Tags: dalton, nostalgia, personal, reunion

  • Baseball

    When I was a kid I was a Yankees fan - I lived in NYC. My father was a NY Giants fan. We occasionally listened to games on the radio and I went with…

  • ROTC - 1957

    Yesterday was National Armed Forces Day. The closest I ever came to being a member of the Armed Forces was freshman year at MIT where taking ROTC…

  • Operas we've watched since January 9

    Since January 9th we have watched 31 MetOpera streams. Coupled with 52 earlier in the series we've watched 82. One of the few good features of the…

  • Post a new comment


    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded