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Swoboda, Marian J.; Roberts, Audrey J. / They came to learn, they came to teach, they came to stay

Remley, Mary L.
Chapter 10: Ruth B. Glassow: teacher and scholar,   pp. 61-65 ff.

Page 61

10. Ruth B. Glassow: Teacher-Scholar
by Mary L. Remley
Following her 1909 graduation from Wausau High School, Ruth Bertha
Glassow attended a two-week Teacher's Institute, then took an examination
which at that time qualified her for an elementary school teaching certificate.
Her professional teaching career began in a one-room school in the small
rural community of Weston, where she taught the usual "three Rs"
to all
eight elementary grades. The following year she moved to another position
the village of Kelly and again taught all eight grades in a one-room building.
After two years of teaching, however, in 1912 she decided to enter the
University of Wisconsin at Madison with a degree in journalism as her goal.
As a journalism student one of Glassow's early assignments was the re-
porting of women's sports news for the university newspaper, the Daily Car-
dinal. In making the rounds of various athletic events for women at the
university she discovered that selection for a class or varsity team was
a mark
of distinction. The stigma usually attached to the athletic woman of the
apparently was not prevalent on the University of Wisconsin campus. Glassow
herself had not been particularly encouraged in earlier years to pursue her
terest in sports as this was viewed as tomboyish. Because she enjoyed sports
of all kinds and found the athletic environment a positive rather than a
tive one, she decided to change her major from journalism to physical ed-
ucation at the end of her freshman year. She completed requirements for the
physical education major and graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in
After two years in the Gary, Indiana, public school system she accepted a
position as instructor in the Women's Physical Education Department at Il-
linois Normal University and embarked on a career of college and university
teaching that spanned more than four decades. Glassow assumed respon-
sibilities in both the required program of physical education for all women
students as well as the teacher training program. She also established a
Women's Athletic Association, an organization which promoted recreational
and competitive sports for women on campus.
After a teaching stint at Western State Teachers College in Macomb, Il-
linois, Glassow recognized the need for further study and left in 1923 to
gin graduate work at Teacher's College, Columbia University in New York
In 1924 Glassow returned to Illinois as assistant professor of physical ed-
ucation at the University of Illinois-Champagne. One of her first teaching
sponsibilities was a kinesiology class, assigned to her "because there
was no
one else to teach it and she had had an undergraduate course in the subject."'
When she went back to her class notes for help, however, she discovered very
little information in them. Glassow rallied to the situation and developed
own ideas and resources for the kinesiology course. Most textbooks of this
period were devoted to analysis of simple muscular actions, primarily those
concerned with gymnastic movements.2 Glassow was interested, however, in
the study of the basic principles of movement and the practical application
knowledge about human movement.

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