Rules for yesterday’s teachers

From the Davidson’s booklet, Halfway Happenings, rules for school teachers in 1915.

From the Davidson’s booklet, Halfway Happenings, rules for school teachers in 1915.

1. You must not marry during the term of your contract.

2. You must be home during the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless attending a school function.

3. You must not keep company with men.

4. You may not loiter downtown in any ice cream store.

5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chair of the school board.

6. You may not ride in any carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.

7. You may not smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, or chew tobacco or snuff.

8. You may not dress in bright colours.

9. You must wear at least two petticoats.

10. Your dress must not be shorter than two inches above the ankle.

11. To keep the classroom neat and clean you must sweep the floor at least once a day; scrub the floor at least once a week with hot soapy water; start the fire at 7 a.m. so that the classroom will be warm by 8 a.m.

How times have changed. In 1946 I started teaching in a one-room school in Saskatchewan. There were 20 pupils in grades 1 to 8 and my yearly salary was $1,200. Instead of computers and televisions I used a hectograph and tracing paper, but there were fewer problems, no politics and less stress than what the teachers experience now. I would not want to be a teacher today.

Elinor Relf,

Chilliwack