‘A hog farmer and a teacher!!’

Hog farms are few and far between in Lancaster dairyland, and hog farmers who deal with Amish ‘ninth-graders’ on a regular basis even fewer.

Perhaps that’s why ‘Ephraim’ nearly shouted at me in glee when describing his odd occupational mix.  He’s been handling vocational school duties for his area for twenty years now.  You can tell he enjoys it.

During the three or so hours he spends each week with the students, he instructs them in German vocabulary, arithmetic, and health–including mental health, he noted–among other topics.

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Pennsylvania requires students to go to school to age 15, a year later than in many other states with significant Amish populations.  Hence the ninth-grade setup, held over a 36-week period in Ephraim’s basement.  Local youth from around the area attend.

I can see why Ephraim (pronounced ‘eef-rum’) enjoys the task.  He originally took over mid-term for another teacher in the late 80’s.  ‘Teenagers, you know.  The other one sort of got run off.’

Ephraim apparently has no problem handling it.  At 57, he has fully grown and married children, on down to a spunky one-year old.  And an obvious zest for life.   Hope I can say the same at 57.

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