I Become A Teacher

Author: Cratis D. Williams

This book is a memoir of one-room school life in 1929, detailing the first teaching experience of Cratis D. Williams, once America’s foremost scholar on the Appalachian experience. This beautiful story of Williams’ first teaching assignment—a one-room school on Caines Creek in Lawrence County,
Kentucky----will be of interest to teachers, historians, genealogists, and general readers


The matter of weather I would be able to handle any discipline problems in the school did not bother me. I assumed that all thirty-three children were capable, eager, and industrious. Proceeding on that assumption, I laid down no rules, as one-room school teachers had always done when I had been a pupil, but referred to the desire of everyone to be thoughtful and considerate of others and to have others return thoughtfulness and consideration. With this as a guide, we would most certainly get along well and enjoy school.


I could work with students, fellow teachers, and administrators with backgrounds much different from my own without “putting anyone down.” My good will and spirit of tolerance were the foundation of my “educational statesmanship.” My acceptance of people as they themselves saw themselves stood me in good stead.

My ability to listen, consider, ask questions without condemning or rejecting appealed to those fate it was to work with me. It has seemed to me that such success as I might have enjoyed as a “public person” is owing largely to my having accepted myself with confidence, and without significant loss of sel-esteem, as an Appalachian. I never feel the need to apologize for who I am or to obscure my identity. I find it enormously comfortable to be myself.