Old Fashioned Rules for Teachers

Over the summer I enjoyed many adventures with my family. One was to a pioneer village and there was an old school house on the property. On the wall inside there were rules posted from the time period. I took two pictures of the rules that were printed out but only one turned out okay. The school house was quite dark so lighting was not great. It was a larger one room school house with a wood burning stove in it. Each desk connected tot eh one in front and had an ink well on it. My kids thought it was so interesting to see how children went to school so long ago.

I thought with many children going back right now to school this was perfect timing to share. Times have changed as well as society but sadly we see teachers often have a separate set of rules when it comes to how society expects them to live. Luckily it is nothing like it was back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s. I love to watch movies from this era but honestly I had no idea they were so strict towards they valuable members of the community. Take a look for yourself

rules for teachers

This one is rules for female teachers in 1915.

A few that stand out to me are

“You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man, unless he is your father or your brother (No kissing cousin) “

“You must wear at least two petticoats” I had to look up for my children what a petticoat even was.

petticoat refers to skirt-like undergarments worn for warmth or to give the skirt or dress the desired fashionable shape. In this context a petticoat may be called a waist slip or underskirt (UK) or half slip (US), with petticoat restricted to extremely full garments.Petticoat can also refer to a full-length slip in the UK


Rules for Teachers – 1872

1. Teachers will fill the lamps and clean the chimney each day.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s sessions.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual tastes of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in improper conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each day’s pay a goodly sum of his earnings. He should use his savings during his retirement years so that he will not become a burden on society.
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, visits pool halls or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop, will give good reasons for people to suspect his worth, intentions, and honesty.
9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay.

I am glad things have changed as these rules seem brutal to me! Obviously male teachers were treated differently than female teachers during this time. Can you even imagine? Sounds like Barber shops were shady places to hang out back in the day as well 😉

Have you ever heard of these rules before? What do you think?


  1. nicolthepickle says

    I know these seem weird, but I like that it was so important that they teacher male or female was a role model in every aspect of life.

  2. Funny how the rules change over the years. Now our school dress code for the girls is a tank top as wide as 3 fingers …..imagine wearing that with your petticoat back then??!! lol

  3. Boy am I glad that I am not an old fashioned teacher. I could not clean the chimney every day!!

  4. Hahahaha!! Two petticoats!!?? Can you imagine two petticoats in an unairconditioned sweltering school room on a day like maybe June 20th? Yowza!! I wonder how often the women passed out from the heat and the cleaning crap. No union back then I guess. LOL.
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  5. It's so interesting to see how things have changed. I constantly say to my husband that I can't believe how times have changed – sometimes for the better, sometimes not lol

  6. Nope, never heard of them.. so interesting to see what things were like back then! Things sure have changed a lot!
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  7. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay. WOW what a deal 😉

    I remember reading the Little House books and thinking it was crazy when Laura became a teacher. All the things she had to do, wow.
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