Dearest Journal, Attendance was low again today.

Several of the boys were missing because they were helping their fathers on their farms and two girls were absent also—I assume they were helping their mothers sell eggs or candles in the next town over, so there were only six children in attendance. Today was a beautiful day and we could had a slight breeze through the open windows (I sure am glad Texas stays warm in September!) Due to the small number of students, I was able to spend time with each student on reading, writing, and arithmetic. The two young girls who are new to school have been diligently practicing their handwriting, but sometimes it is still rather hard to comprehend what they have written in their copy books. I think two of the older students (Clark, who is seven and Mary, who is six-and-a-half) are soon going to be able to trade in their pencils for a quill and ink as their handwriting has improved greatly. There were only two older students in class today (Evelyn and George who are both ten) and they have both been using quills and ink for several years. When my back was turned George dunked the end of Evelyn’s hair in his ink and proceeded to write a sentence with it before she noticed. Evelyn demurly asked to be excused. George on the other hand, received three raps on his knuckles for such behavior (though I cannot say that I was not a bit impressed that he was able to write an entire sentence before she noticed what he had done). I excused the children for lunch and recess once the reading and writing were finished. Since it was such a beautiful day out today, I joined the students in the grass for lunch. After a few stories and tall tales, I left them to continue their recess while I went inside to straighten the schoolhouse.

All six students came right in to class the first time I called them after recess. We went over arithmetic after lunch. George absolutely adores this subject and gets very excited about it. Clark, on the other hand, does not like the subject at all. He said today that he would rather scrub the floors or pluck a chicken than do math. I had him stand with his nose on a dot on the blackboard for twenty minutes (I realize now that he was probably relieved to do so because he could not work math problems with his nose on the blackboard.) The entire afternoon, Mary was having trouble remaining still and working calmly; she had to sit on the one-legged stool for fifteen minutes and that must have straightened her out, because she sat like a lady for the rest of the day. When the children were released for the day, I stood at the door of the schoolhouse and watched them walk until they turned towards town at the end of the road. I began cleaning the small schoolroom—sweeping the floors, erasing the blackboards, and making everything orderly once again. Upon returning to my desk, I noticed a few flowers from the field that one of the girls must have left for me. Overall, the day was a very good one. I do enjoy teaching in that small schoolhouse and the students are often very enjoyable, but I do wish I could have done more for my nineteenth birthday. Until next time, good night journal, Eliza Jane Mason

Written by Hannah Stewart