Students step back in time at Oak Hill School

Brandon Paykamian • Oct 18, 2019 at 9:00 PM

Fourth graders from Jonesborough Elementary School took a step back in time to 1892 at Oak Hill School Friday morning to learn what classrooms were like in the late 19th century.

As part of a “Flashback Friday” event hosted by the Heritage Alliance, Jonesborough Elementary School English instructor Meredith Simerly continued teaching her 21st-century curriculum lessons using what teachers and students had on hand in 1892.

Instead of paper, pencils, tablets, projectors and other classroom technologies common today, students used textbooks from the time period and chalkboards in place of paper.

“We’ve gone back in time today. We’ve been doing our normal instruction we would do on a normal day-by-day basis, but just like back in the 1800s,” she said, adding that students learned about fables and were encouraged to write about their day.

Along with a few students, Simerly dressed in 19th-century attire to add an extra touch of authenticity to Friday’s lessons held in the old schoolhouse, which was built in 1886.

“We’ve had a really good time. It’s been a great experience to have,” she said. “We hope we get to do it again next year because the kids really enjoy it. That’s what really matters.”

While many students generally prefer the 21st-century technology that modern classrooms have to offer, fourth-grader Skyler Blair said she didn’t mind abiding by some of the 19th-century classroom rules.

She said it was “hard to write on chalkboards,” but said she liked being separated from the boys and enjoyed dressing in era-appropriate attire. 

“It was very different and fun,” she said.