Brian Shute, Ph.D., CCC
Speech-Language Pathologist
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Teacher Rules, Circa 1905
Article By: Brian Shute, Ph.D., CCC


Teacher rules such as these (circa 1905) were commonly mandated in the 1800s and earlier parts of the 1900s. These rules came from Iowa, however, similar mandates were common across America. An interesting site including such information can be found at: http://www.ameshistoricalsociety.org/contract.htm Good thing there are only 16.

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1. Teachers are expected to live in the community in which they are employed and to take residence with local citizens for room and board. Many teachers lived with the students and their parents going from one house to another).

2. Teachers will be required to spend weekends in the community unless permission is granted by the Chairman of the Board.

3. It is understood that teachers will attend church each Sunday and take an active part, particularly in choir and Sunday School work.

4. Dancing, card playing and the theatre are works of the devil that lead to gambling, immoral climate, and influence and will not be tolerated.

5. Community plays are given annually. Teachers are expected to participate.

6. When laundering petticoats and unmentionables it is best to dry them in aflour sack or pillow case. (So no one sees them hanging on the line to dry).

7. Any teacher who smokes cigarettes, uses liquor in any form, frequents a pool or public hall, or (for men) gets shaved in a barber shop, (or for women) bobbs (cuts) her hair, has dyed hair, wears short skirts (could not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles) and has undue use of cosmetics will not be tolerated under any circumstances.

8. Teachers will not marry or keep company with a man friend during the week except as an escort to church services. (The only man a woman teacher could be seen with was her father or her brother).

9. Loitering in ice cream parlors, drug stores, etc., is prohibited.

10. Purchasing or reading the Sunday Supplement on the Sabbath will not be tolerated.

11. Discussing political views or party choice is not advisable.

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

13. After 10 hours in school, the teacher should spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

14. Women teachers who marry or engage in other unseemly conduct will be dismissed.

15. Every teacher should lay aside from his pay a goodly sum for his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.

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

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