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Liam Sullivan in Scranton - LS3 - Liam Did More Teacher Related Activities

Updated on April 16, 2020
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Dr. Bill's first passion is family history. His second is a passion for creating family saga, historical fiction stories that share it.

The McGuffey Reader, a Sample

Liam Recognized the Needs for Students in Each Grade Level

As the teacher of a diverse group of fourteen students, Liam realized he needed to look at each student as part of several different groups. Boys and girls was the first obvious distinction, and this was handled by the room layout, boys on one side and girls on the other. Next, he made out his seating chart, which put the younger students in the front and the older ones in the back. Then, he needed to look at the eight grade levels, separated by ages. Individual abilities and achievements relative to grade would be the other distinction he would make as he got to know the students, so as to offer additional aid to those who needed it to keep at or achieve grade level.


6-year-old James Collins was the only student in First Grade this year. Augustus Jacobs and Matilda Perkins, as 7-year-olds, made up the Second Grade. Rachel Hermann, 8, and Wyatt Collins, 8, were the Third Graders. Noah Jacobs, 9 was the Fourth Grader and Polly Collins, 10, was the Fifth Grader. Adeline Perkins, 11, and Charles Hermann, 11, made up the Sixth Grade. The only Seventh Grader was 12-year-old Emily Collins. George W. Perkins, 13, was the only natural Eighth Grader but was joined by Agnes Hermann, 14, Oliver Collins, 14, and Sarah Perkins, 15, who wanted to assure Eighth Grade certification at year end.


With two McGuffey Readers for each class, this worked well except for the special Eighth Grade situation. One book would be assigned to George W. That way, he could make normal progress. Liam would work out a shared arrangement among the three older students. They were each being treated individually, anyway, each needing work in one or more areas and not others. Oliver needed work on his numbers, not his reading or writing. Agnes and Sarah worked well together, anyway, so they would get the most time with the reader, for example.

A Horse-Drawn Freight Wagon at Work

The Jeremy Jacobs Family

Jeremy Jacobs: Thank you for accommodating my ‘out-of-town a lot’ schedule, Mr. Sullivan.


Liam: Not a problem, for me. You must have an interesting life.


Jeremy: It is anything but ordinary, that is for sure. That is why I cannot serve on the School Board, as you may have noticed. Weather and customer demands make it very difficult to predict when and where I will be any give time with my Freight Wagon. Have you met my wife, Bonnie?


Liam: No, I have not.


Jeremy: This is my wife, Bonnie, and our youngest, our daughter, Meredith, 5. She is anxious to be in school, but must wait until next year. You already know our two boys, of course, Augustus, 7, and Noah, 9.


Liam: It is very nice to meet you, Mrs. Jacobs. I look forward to having Meredith in school next year.


Bonnie: Please have a seat at our table for dinner, Mr. Sullivan.


Liam: Thank you. Hello, Noah and Augustus.


Noah and Augustus, in unison: Hello, Mr. Sullivan.


As dinner progressed, Jeremy shared more of his business operations with Liam: I run a freight wagon, as I’m sure you know. With the railroad now, any deliveries for nearby towns are dropped off at the train station and I deliver it to the town or individual it is intended for. There are more small towns around than you might imagine. There are farms along each of the many creeks and streams. Some are near a town and some are not. Some have wagon roads but most do not. Generally then, I deliver to the small towns, and pick up items that may need to be sent on the train. Also, once a week, I make the trip down to Waynesville to the southwest, picking up and delivering along the way, as well as several specific customers there.


Liam: That really does keep you on the go. Do you do this all by yourself?


Jeremy: At present, yes. Each of my customers help with heavy lifting, of course, but I’m the only one running the team and wagons, yes.


Liam: I’m very impressed. I certainly hope this continues to work well for you.


Jeremy, looking at his family: I certainly hope so as well. [Smiles all around]

Liam Kept a Daily Personal Journal

Liam Reflected on his Early Days in Scranton as a School Teacher

Liam had begun keeping a Daily Journal from the day he began his Normal Training in High School to eventually become a teacher. Now that he was a teacher, he was careful to continue that journal because he had already recognized the value of doing so. He had come to realize that memory was faulty, but the contemporaneous written word was not. Already he had gone back to his journal from Norman Training to recall several specific techniques that he was able to use in the classroom. Most recently he had reviewed his notes on how to most effectively determine whether an individual was meeting grade standards.


In the same vein, Liam pledged to his parents that he would write them regular letters summarizing his daily activities. He agreed to this both for them and for his own benefit. In his letters, he included highlights from his day often relying on his Journal entries to remind him of specific details. He knew his parents would keep his letters to preserve his memories. They also responded with letters of their own, keeping him up to date on their family activities. As the youngest of the family, he was always pleased to hear news of his older siblings and their children, his nieces and nephews.


After only a few days in his new teaching job, Liam realized that he had collected enough information about his new community that he needed to prepare a formal planning list of activities he wanted to fit in around his teaching responsibilities. There were more people he wanted to talk to and places he wanted to visit. Some he would want to do sooner than others that could be handled later on. However, he had to be careful not to overtax himself or do anything that would interfere with his ability to do his job well. He had been keeping his own notes, of course, but it was now time to set some priorities and get a new planning list started. It would be updated regularly, of course.

From the Author

This is the third episode of a new, free-standing series of stories but it will be shown to have ties to The Homeplace Saga series of historical fiction, family saga stories. Liam’s mother was the former Ruth Weston, older sister of Levi Weston. Liam’s father, John Sullivan, was a younger brother of Jourdan Sullivan, who with his wife Martha settled on a farm in the west valley of what became Oak Creek Township in 1852. Both given and surnames in these stories can be found in the Phelps County, Missouri, 1870 U.S. Census though they are each used here in totally fictionalized ways. Related historical events are portrayed as accurately as possible in the context of this historical fiction, family saga series of stories.

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