Texas Schoolteacher G.M.C. Massey — my grandfather — writes about motivating students in the late 1800’s.
…from the beginning of the use of the first Grade Certificate and School at Oak Grove, 6 miles East from QUITMAN, Texas
I had contracted to teach this School with a First Grade Certificate, When I had only the promise of that; If I passed the required Examination; Which I did in due time, and from there we go on with the stories that has made up my life.
Well I opened up this School with the brightest Future that I had ever had, as to my future in the TEACHING WORLD; I had succeeded in making the required Grade for A first Grade, and I had a fine school, and a brilliant set of pupils; And everything was started off just right.
I had on the beginning of the School offered a Gold Medal for the one that made the best general average in all the examinations that was offered during the term. And that was open to all the pupils that was attending the School, in all of the grades, From the first I could see that there were just a few of them that would be in the contest, And as time went on, Of course I was keeping up with the Grades, And I could see that the number was only four that would stay in there, and have to be reckoned with at the END.
But soon the two boys that had kept very good pace had dropped out of notice, and then it was up to two girls; and they were awful good friends, and you might say they were very close CHUMS; And at the ends of the school I just turned over the Credits to the County Judge, who was the ex-officio superintendent; and Judge Beavers that I have spoken of before as a Character that I had always held up as a model Lawyer, and honest man that I used as a model.
And they had to make their decision upon the grades, and I had been very careful in grading; And as for their grades in Citizenship; Or conduct in and out of school; There was no difference at all; But it hurt me to have the grades so close that it was only a fractional part of a %.
They were the finest young ladies that I had ever had in my school.