Joe Scatterscrew – Organizing for a New Year (8/23/2019)

It is time for another Joe Scatterscrew story. I introduced Joe with the 12/14/2018 footnote. In case you don’t remember that, here is the introductory paragraph.

Joe Scatterscrew is a fictitious agriculture teacher. He was created in the 1950s by the Head of Agricultural Education at Texas A&M University,  E. V. Walton. Professor Walton wrote the stories to use in preparing future teachers. The characters and setting are from Texas, yet the message found in each story is universal. The stories are funny but typically have a definite point to them about conducting a quality agricultural education program. Professor Walton wrote at least 25 Joe Scatterscrew stories.  

These stories have been used over the years with agricultural teacher education classes in Texas and neighboring states. They basically point out how NOT to teach agriculture. In reading the stories one must remember the era in which they were written — the 1950s. Therefore, there will be no female students and the curriculum and technology was different back then. However, the humor does remain and the points are still valid today. 

In this story, we learn how Joe plans for the new school year. Since many of you are starting off the new school year, perhaps you can get some tips from Joe. 


E. V. Walton

 Joe Scatterscrew sighed with relief and lit a stub cigar.  The chair creaked when he let himself down in it.  The last class of V.A. boys were trekking across the school ground and Joe was tired.  He glanced at the clock, 11:45.

“I gonnies.  Thang must of stopped.”  He knew it was nearly 2 o’clock in the afternoon.  He looked at the clock again.  It was running but the hand was going backward.

“Dang them boys!  Give them a farm shop job and they are all thumbs on 2 left hands but they can tear up a good clock and make it run backwards in nothing flat.  Now, I don’t know how I am ever going to figure out the time.”

He looked at his watch.  1:45 p.m. and the clock showed 11:45 a.m.  “That’s 2 hours backerds.  And when it’s a showing 12:45 it will be–les see?  Yeah, 2:45.”

Joe got a piece of cardboard and worked him out a table and stuck it up by the clock.

“Can’t make them boys fix it.  No telling what they would make it do.”

Joe studied some smudged finger prints on the glass of the clock face.

“What a man needs is a good course in finger printing.  Looks like them Colleges don’t prepare a man for such as this.  Too dang much stuff on methods and not enough on stuff like this.”

He sagged back into his chair and frowned at the cluttered desk and room.

“It seems like I never got started before summer had clean run out from under me.  I don’t know how time get aways so fast.  An Ag teacher could serve a fifty year penitentiary sentence in about 15 minutes and it wasn’t for the honor of the thang I would just as soon do it!”

He blew some dust from the desk and started going thru a pile of papers.

“Huh!  Here’s something from the Superintendent, dated April 30.  Requesting for requisition of supplies and equipment for 1958-59.  Blast it all!  How come he sends out stuff like that just when summer is creeping up on a man.  It’s too far ahead.  I didn’t hardly know what I needed till the first week of school.”

He looked at both sides of the form and laid it in a basket labeled,  “To be took care of at once.”

He threw away some advertisements and ran across a form 2.  “If I don’t work this up pretty that supervisor will be yelling his head off.  Seems like he wants this before my schedule even gets settled down!”

He studied the form closely and put it in a drawer.  “Chances are, I’ll have plenty of time.  He usually writes me three or four times before he gets riled up too bad.”

He got up and filed a group of other forms in the filing cabinet.  “They believe in keeping a man snowed.  I can see that.” Somewhere near the bottom of the stack he found a paper.

Things To Do This Summer

  1. Inventory Shop
  2. Bring Bulletin and Reference Files Up to Date
  3. Revise Teaching Plan
  4. Hold Two FFA Meetings
  5. Visit Prospective Students and Parents
  6. Visit Supervised Farming Projects

There were several other items listed but some Screw Worm Medicine had spilled on the page and blotted them out.

“Must of done them bottom ones for sure.  I didn’t get to the first six.  Yep, I reckon I started at the bottom and worked up.  It aint so monotonous that way.”

Joe settled back and thought some about some way of getting his VA I boys started on a supervised farming program.  He could tell already that they were going to be mean boys.

“Reckon I will wait until spring and start them off on gardens and chickens.”

He thought about this for a while and the idea got better.  “Their Mammas will take a interest in gardens and chickens and maybe it will turn out good.”

He went back to the shop and began gathering up tools off of the floor.

“I gonnies I’ll just give em a good start on shop.  They probably got some ideas on what they want to do in shop and I’ll start them right off.” He looked at the turning lathe, “They like this lay work  lamps, bowling pins.  And too, there oughta be some will want to work on their hot rods.”

He blew dust off of a welding helmet.

“Might be a good idea to let them burn some rods, too.  Man, they like that.”

He walked over to the band and jig saw and examined them.

“New blades and they will buzz along.  The boys like them what-not shelves and stuff.  Yep!  Wouldn’t be surprised if them boys don’t go good when I point out some of the possibilities.”

He rebit the cigar with satisfaction.

“It makes a man feel good to get organized for a semester!”  Joe sharpened a stub pencil against a grinder and picked up a piece of paper from the floor.

“I guess I better write down this organized VA I program while it’s still on my mind.  Can’t tell, that principal might want to know about it.  VA I:  Welding, Auto Mechanics, Jig Saw, Band Saw, and Lay.  Individual projects   hum   about 20 periods.”

He frowned and scratched his head morosely.

“That don’t get me over the first semester with them mean devils.  Les see?  About 20 periods for field trips would help.  I guess I gotta teach improving livestock and poultry.  Might just breeze out and look over some chickens and stock.”

He locked the shop.  “Next week I’ll organize VA II and III.”