It’s History Trivia Tuesday!

Historic Jacksonville shares tidbits from Jacksonville history every Tuesday on our Facebook and Instagram pages. “Like” us on Facebook at Historic Jacksonville (historicjville) or “follow” us on Instagram (historicjacksonville) and enjoy our tales and stories of the people and places that made Jacksonville the major hub of southern Oregon in the late 1800s.  And visit the Southern Oregon Historical Society Library and Archives for access to the historical images included in our posts.

May 11, 2021

May is teacher appreciation month, but it’s questionable whether teachers were truly appreciated in the late 1800s—or at least whether female teachers were.  Teaching was one of the few acceptable occupations that single, middle-class females in need of some income could pursue—and then only until they married.  The work was hard and the standards high.  Most schools of the time were 1-room and teachers were expected to instill reading, writing, math, history, and geography into all grade levels.  Teachers were also required to provide coal for heating and water for drinking, to fill and clean the kerosene lamps, and to provide the students with sharpened quills for writing. 

District Directors expected teachers to lead exemplary lives, to be single (if female), and to be regular church goers.  If a male indulged in an intoxicating drink or a game of chance, it was cause for immediate dismissal (because, of course, a woman would never do that).  But men were at least permitted one night a week for courting, two if they were regular church goers.

After 5 years, a teacher might receive a 25¢ raise.   Tenure was unheard of.  No wonder teacher turnover was high and few teachers stayed more than a year or two.  So be grateful for today’s learning environment, even if it is virtual, and do take time to thank a teacher!

© 2018 Historic Jacksonville, Oregon