Teacher Doug Hale celebrates 90th birthday, touched the lives of many students

Wendy Elliott
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Friends, neighbours and former students lined up to shake Doug Hale’s hand at his 90th birthday party recently.

Hale, who grew up in Woodville, now lives in Grand View manor in Berwick, along with a couple of people he once taught.

“I liked working with children. I always thought I wanted to teach,” Hale said.

That might be because he grew up in the middle of a family of 11 children.

After finishing as a student, Hale taught at nine schools. He got his first job teaching in 1942-1943 on Canaan Mountain in a one-room school. He clearly remember VE Day, which was 60 years ago on May 8, when he learned by phone that the war in Europe had ended. Hale declared a school holiday and then hopped on his bike to inform parents without telephones about the momentous news.

He recalls teaching during the winter in those days and having to wind up classes when the sun started to go down.

“We’d stop about 3 p.m. because there were no electric lights.”

Hale went on to teach in Somerset, Middleton, Hardwoodlands and Summerville in Hants County, Digby, near Milton, Queens County and at Central Kings High School. His favourite school, however, was in Beaverbank. He retired from there after teaching the upper grades (Grade 4-10).

“It was a great school with great kids,” he says. “I liked small schools.”

Hale still chuckles as he remembers a Beaverbank student by the name of Patrick who put the classroom clock ahead by 15 minutes one day. He didn’t punish the lad severely and Patrick went on to become a teacher himself.

Hale also remembers the Primary teacher downstairs coped with a class of 58. Hale regularly had 30 students per class. Over the years, he says he mostly taught math.

George Foote organized the birthday bash at what was the old Woodville school, where a display of photos prompted many conversations.

 

Organizations: Woodville school

Geographic location: Woodville, Grand View, Berwick Canaan Mountain Europe Somerset Hants County Milton

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