Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Borrowed Idea for a Post - Thanks Jenn!

Jennifer wrote about a nurse's job description at the turn of the century. I thought I would share the teacher's job life. After a little searching I found a job description for teachers during Upper Canada Days (http://www.projects.yrdsb.edu.on.ca/pioneer/school.htm). As with Jenn, I don't think I would be a teacher back then, especially since teaching was for unmarried women or men. Once I was married my teaching days would have been over.

Rules for Teachers:

1. Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.

2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day's session.
3. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
4. After ten hours in school, the teacher may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
5. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
6. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.
7. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaves in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention and honesty.

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

What does this tell you about the importance of education? There is no mention of how to teach! Who cares about the quality of the curriculum, as long as the teacher ensures the schoohouse is taken care of. I guess you would just have to watch Anne of Green Gables or Road to Avonlea to fill in the teaching details.

Another thought - we tend to think hat the reason we have the summer off is that we were an agrarian society and children were needed on the farm; however, recently I read that this does not make sense since the time children were really needed was in the fall - when they were in school. Apparently the American educational reformers at the time thought that if children had too much schooling they would go insane. Children need to "rest" their brains for two months! I will post about this issue tomorrow.


Evie said...

In addition to keeping the schoolhouse clean, the female teachers, in particular, had to be morally above reproach. It apparently didn't matter whether they knew anything or could teach what they knew, as long as they could be viewed as good female exemplars.

I guess married women lose their morals along with their virginity on their wedding night.

Barbara said...

I guess it was assumed that female teachers would always be "spinsters" since they weren't allowed time for courting.

Dave said...

If you get a shave at a barber you are viewed with askance, but not if you get a haircut?!