Aysel (Yükselen) Deniz – Retired Literature Teacher
I think your training not only includes the responsibility of educating your own students but also being helpful in different areas in village life while you were working as a teacher, somehow similar to the purpose of Village Institutions which were closed down in 1954.
Yes, maybe this approach was used because of the transition period. For example, they taught us how to use projectors and they sent us films to Show to the villagers,.. they taught us how to care for animals and how to grow crops in the best way. . And they also took us to the human birth clinic in Konya where we saw a birth of a baby and we learned that if needed we could help someone giving birth to a baby in the village.
As a teacher you were expected to be master of everything!
Yes, We were trained as a classroom teachers but also to be the doctor , the, agriculture engineer, and veterinarian of the village. During the last three months of the final year the authorities sent us to the village schools.in groups of five providing.with our various needs like beans, chickpeas ,wood; they were also contacting the village management for the preparation of the houses where we will stay. They also sent the bed frames and mattresses so all five of us trainees could live with the villagers. In addition we also learned how to teach in combined schools. The classroom was like a big ‘barn’ , with the first grade in the front row, second grade in the second and third, fourth and fifth grades so on thereby all different grades were together . In 1956-57 they sent us to Çaltı village in Konya. It was a terrible winter with heavy snow. Therefore senior teachers couldn’t come to the village to observe the trainees In addition all of our food and wood supplies were used up.forcing us to use dung for cooking and heating. One of our fellow trainees recently passed away. We are now four sisters instead of five.. We warmed each other by close back to back contact during these last three months , I will never forget Mehmet Söyler,who unbelievably functioned simultaneously as school principal , vice school principal, classroom teacher of all five grades and janitor of the school ! For the first grade the teacher taught to write ‘daddy buy me a ball’; second graders were required to draw a Picture; third graders were given a ball to play with outside; fourth graders were given arithmetic problems: this was how we managed combined teaching in the classroom which I believe still exists.We were pleasantly surprised that we enjoyed both village life and teaching where we learned practical things from our students such as how to make pickles,how to roll a dough .My family lived in the village when I was a child and ı learned to roll dough but for my trainee friends it was the first time they learned to roll dough. They didn’t know how to make dung and how to make fire. I remember Yakup Kadri’s book explained how dung and rolled dough was made ı learned them all before going to the school because of my father’s job we lived in villages. To start life knowing all these kind of practical things I believe made a difference in my life .
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Yes, the biggest problem today is that parents are doing everything their children want. There is no ‘NO’. This is a big mistake. Work consciousness is crucial. When children do not do their homework parents should not accept such behavior instead explain to them their responsibilities. Nowadays , parents are spoiling their children by being too tolerant.
Teachers are also parents. You should work hard if you want to reach something. Nothing is easily obtained. If you obtain your needs by yourself by working hard it is more valued.
Thanks to Gülsun Çağlayan for the translation to English.