Truman James SipleJune 30, 1947 ~ July 27, 2020 (age 73)
Truman James Siple, age 73, of Oakford, PA, passed away peacefully on Monday, July 27, 2020 at Langhorne Gardens Nursing Center, Langhorne Manor, PA. Born in Lancaster, PA, Mr. Siple was a resident of Oakford for the past 33 years.
Truman graduated from Millersville State College in 1970, and was the first of his family to earn a college degree, an achievement he was most proud of. He worked for the Bensalem School District for 41 years as an Industrial Arts Teacher with the majority of his tenure spent at Cecelia Snyder Middle School. He was extremely passionate about teaching and cared deeply for his students.
Truman loved working with his hands, whether it was tinkering around the house or using the lathe in his workshop to create beautiful wood bowls. He was also an avid gardener and looked forward to the new Burpee catalogue arriving in the mail so that he could start planning that year’s garden. Truman was an enthusiastic reader who also enjoyed writing, having had many articles published in the local newspaper. In his free time, he listened to classical music and watched action movies.
Son of the late Truman U. and Shirley M. (Smith) Siple, he is survived by his daughter, Jennifer Siple of Greenland, NH, his son Truman Jason and daughter-in-law Marlene Siple of Piedmont, SC, a brother, Mark Siple, a sister Shirley Funk, three grandchildren, Gianna and Sofia Gambardello and Benjamin Chamberlain.
His services will be held privately at the convenience of the family, entrusted to the care of the J. Allen Hooper Funeral Chapel, Morrisville, PA.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Truman’s name to the Women’s Animal Shelter in Bensalem, PA or the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).
After 41 years in the classroom, I’d do it again
By TRUMAN JAMES SIPLE
Posted Apr 30, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Recently I retired from the Bensalem School District after a career of 41 years. I decided to try to put 41 years of experience into 700 words. I wanted to try to show the total experience I had. The good, the bad and, and the ugly.
First, teaching is a challenge. It is a daily challenge that you must accept to be successful. You’re dealing with young people going through the most difficult time of their lives. The kids, and I use the word “kids” with all the affection I can, come from as many backgrounds as you can imagine; some carry a huge amount of baggage.
When you teach you must account for this as best you can. The way I taught was by the apprentice method with individualized projects. This is the toughest way to teach what I taught, industrial arts, but this was the one way I allow for the diversity of my students. And it worked most of the time.
One of the things that I enjoyed the most was when I could stand by my circular table saw and watched the shop just run. Every student had their daily objective, every student knew what tools you use, and what the procedures are to complete a project. This is what I hoped for and this is what I planned for in my lessons.
In reality, it seldom worked, normally with me on my feet going to student to student giving individualized instruction. This meant I put two to three miles on my legs every day all across an 1,800-foot shop.
Teaching is learning to modify and adjust. One of the symbols I taught my students was to put their hand on top of their head when something was over their head during a lesson. One of the most disconcerting things that can happen when you teach is to finish a lesson and all you see are students with their hands over their heads. This is when you learn to modify and adjust on your feet. This is part of the art of teaching. This cannot be taught in college methods courses. You will learn this by working with kids.
Teaching is pressure. The one thing that I get a kick out of is how everyone seems to know what’s wrong with public education and how to fix it. And the politicians apply pressure to get our students up to the same level of performance. But you simply cannot legislate excellence.
Teaching can be fun when everything goes right. It is those times that keep you from pulling your hair out. Teaching is frustrating when things don’t work or when you have to discipline students. But that’s all part of the game.
Teaching is an art. It is practiced, never perfected. No matter how good you think you are you can always get better. I was always looking for something that will work better than when I was in school. I always pushed myself to find the newest, latest and what I hoped were the best teaching methods I could find. Many times it was like walking around in a circle; I’d often come back to what I was already doing simply because it worked.
Many of my colleagues asked me if I would do it all over given all the hassle that I have had being a public school teacher. I always said “yes.” Why? Because there are only two ways to change the world, one is with a gun and the other is with a book. Forty-one years ago I chose the book. I never regretted that choice.
Truman James Siple, Oakford, retired after teaching for 41 years.