Wednesday, February 13, 2008

13 Rules Teachers in the Past Lived By

Members of my profession including myself continue to fuss, fume, and flip out over various educational reforms. The paperwork involved in order to maintain one class of students let alone maintaining six or seven groups is unimaginable Classroom management is a frenzied dance between federal and state laws, administrator demands, parental wants, and student needs.

Sometimes when I’m hanging on my the last knot in my rope I remember what it might be like if I was teaching school in the 1850s. Here are 13 rules and guidelines many teachers were required to adhere to.

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys [lamp globes], and trim wicks.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and scuttle of coal for the day’s session.

3. Teachers will make their pens carefully. They may whittle nibs to individual tastes.

4. Male teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

5. After 10 hours in school teachers should spend their remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

6. Women teachers who marry or engage in uncomely conduct will be dismissed.

7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his/her earnings for his/her benefit during his/her declining years so that he/she won’t become a burden on society.

8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his/her worth, intentions, integrity, and honesty.

9. The teacher who performs his/her labors faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents per week in his/her pay providing the Board of Education approves.

10. Teachers will maintain a garden on school grounds to provide additional food for themselves or students.

11. Teacher candidates must be at least 16, be able to read and write, do simple arithmetic, and have a clergyman’s letter in hand attesting to their sound moral character.

12. Teachers must attend a house of worship every Sunday.

13. Teachers must keep the school clean, haul any necessary wood to keep the stove going, bring water from the well, and start a pot to boil in the morning so students who bring their lunch can heat it if necessary.

Say what you want to about today’s difficulties….I wouldn’t go back to the “good old days” for anything.

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Unknown said...

Oh wow - this is grrrr8 stuff. Thx so much for posting this. I'm going to save it and reference again. Happy VDay/TT. *hugs*

SJ Reidhead said...

Wild aren't they?

The Pink Flamingo

Anonymous said...

You're right -- the gold old days never were.

Sandee said...

Great case for the seperation of Church and State. Yikes. I didn't know this. Thanks for sharing and have a great TT and Valentine's Day. :)

Unknown said...

How interesting. Wouldn't #9 have the Union up in arms LOL
Happy Valentine's Day!

Anonymous said...

And I thought my job was rough. LOL

Jill said...

I would be so in trouble for #12! I don't remember the last time I went to Church!

SandyCarlson said...

Funny that being married and misbehavin' were tossed into the same no-no sentence!

Lifeless in Ohio said...

I see the pay increases have not changed! Happy Valentine's Day!

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Wow. In case anyone wasn't sure this country was founded on Puritan principles, here ya go.

When we think about how teachers tend to be not valued as highly as they should be, we can point back to lists like this to understand where that came from.

It's just wrong. You teachers are so darn important, it's amazing. Thanks for all you do.

Bethany said...

I love them!!!! Can you imagine if we had to live by these rules nowadays? Seriously I don't think I'd be a teacher!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Amazing. I find it odd that men got to go courting, but women couldn't marry.

Gattina said...

Yes, the good old days, lol I love n°11 ! The teacher should be able to read and write (hehehe !)

Forgetfulone said...

I'm a teacher, too, and I can only imagine trying to live by this in modern times. Ha!

Deanna Dahlsad said...

The teachers here in North Dakota, where today the expected high is -3 (without any windchill factor), would never get to teaching if they had to worry about keeping that coal bin filled!

Again, great post :)

Anonymous said...

THis is a great list!! Maybe I'll put it in the kid's valentine's for their teachers!

Tilly Greene said...

Wow - what a list! I'm going to have to share with my mom who was a 3rd grade teacher. They definitely don't look like the good old days to me.

Alasandra, The Cats and Dogs said...

I wonder what they had against married women.

Sarai said...

Wow makes me appreciate the fact when I taught it was now and not back then! Great post ;)

Wineplz said...

#8 makes me wonder a little why getting shaved in a barbershop is up there with drinking and being in pool or public halls.

storyteller said...

It’s fun to see this list again. I used to have it posted in my classroom for a long time but gave it away with all my teaching materials when I retired.
Hugs and blessings,

EHT said...

Thanks for visiting everyone. My research indicates one of the reasons why school boards were against married women being in the classroom is they had a home to run...married women didn't work. Also married women get pregnant...back then unmarried women didn't unless they were very "bad" women. :)

I'm wondering about the barbershop ban as well. I've never seen anything to elaborate on that one.

Anonymous said...

Wow! I wouldn't go back either. It's very interesting to see how closely tied the church and the schools were.

Anonymous said...

great list

it's fun to see some of those vintage items that were requirements

Anonymous said...

I don't know whether to laugh or cry. These are hilarious, but imagine the poor folks living these lives. I cringe just thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

Dismissed for getting married?! Good grief!!