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Chapman, Miss Constance (Teacher)


Posted By: Linda Ziemann, volunteer (email)
Date: 9/22/2015 at 10:38:39


Constance Chapman, former LeMars resident, is the subject of a feature article on “good old-fashioned teaching” in a recent issue of a Carlsbad, New Mexico, newspaper.

Miss Chapman, Carlsbad Senior high school American history teacher, says sturdy opinions about teaching in a bright attitude which have made her a success with the thousands of students who have passed through her door the last 44 years.

She is a 1915 graduate of LeMars high school and attended Western Union (now Westmar) College. A brother, T. K. Chapman resides in LeMars.

Here’s the feature story from the Carlsbad, N.M. Current-Argus:

A lot has been said against and about the poor teaching standards in America, but it is possible that in putting so much emphasis on digging for clams, a good many pearls have been missed.

Constance Chapman, senior high school American history teacher, well might be considered a gem to Carlsbad. Entering her 35th year as a teacher here, the short gray-haired woman claims that she is still “old fashioned.”

Her teaching methods, spiced with an aggressive attitude and a good sense of humor, have made her a hit with the thousands of parents and students who have passed through her classroom door.

In Miss Chapman’s class, students are taught to “learn” history, rather than “memorize” it. In a rich husky voice, Miss Chapman explained, “I see no sense in chucking their heads full of a lot of dates which won’t be remembered anyway.” However, students are required to know the most important ones.

“Good old-fashioned” question-answer periods are Miss Chapman’s method of finding out how much pupils have learned. She strongly emphasizes famous quotations, and “The Star Spangled Banner” must be known by heart.

When her students get a bit out-of-hand, Miss Chapman often reminds them that soon those without high school educations will only be able to obtain jobs as ditch-diggers. On one such occasion, a bright student shot back: “Just think, when they invent machines to do that kind of work, we’ll all be out of luck.”

When asked if she thought children had changed or worsened over the period of years Miss Chapman gave an impish grin and said, “No, they’ve always been going to the dogs.” She added that youths will always be youths.

To illustrate her point, Miss Chapman remarked, “I read an article the other day about how disrespectful, wild and unmanageable children are becoming. When I reached the bottom a notation read, Written by Socrates in 300 B.C.”

Among a total of more than 5,000 people who have been students of Miss Chapman, three are now teaching in the Carlsbad senior high school.

A native of LeMars, Iowa, Connie first began teaching 44 years ago, and moved to Carlsbad in 1928. Since that time, she has taught in three school buildings, but has remained in the same teaching capacity.

Miss Chapman now instructs five classes of junior students per day, as well as teaching two evening sessions a week in New Mexico State university Carlsbad branch.

After her retirement from the high school, Miss Chapman plans to continue teaching several classes in the university.

Miss Chapman is not only an active and dedicated teacher. She also is a genealogist and amateur photographer.

For the last 20 years a stuffed peacock named “Peter” has watched over her history classes. Peter was donated to the school, and was pushed from classroom to classroom until Miss Chapman adopted him. Each time her class has been moved to a new building, Peter has been the first item to be placed in the new location.

Miss Chapman received her BA degree from the University of Wisconsin. She was a student at Harvard, Boston University, University of Connecticut, University of Idaho, University of Iowa, Highlands University, and American University.

She has held the state and local presidency of six different organizations, and vice presidency of four various clubs and organizations.

Also, after retirement, Miss Chapman plans to pursue genealogy to a greater extent, and travel whenever possible.

Source: LeMars Sentinel
Dated Tuesday, January 22, 1963
Constance Chapman taught rural Plymouth County school: Elgin No. 2, 1917-1918

Constance Chapman
Born: 04 Feb 1897
Died: 14 Jun 1983


Plymouth Biographies maintained by Linda Ziemann.
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