The Teacherage

Rules for Teachers €” 1915

1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
2. You are not to keep company with men.
3. You must be home between the hours of 8 PM and 6 AM
unless at a school function.
4. You may not loiter downtown in any of the ice cream
5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you
have permission of the chairman of the chairman of the
school board.
6. You may not ride in carriages or automobiles with any
man except your father or brother.
7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
8. You may not dress in bright colors.
9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
10. You must wear at least 2 petticoats.
11. Your dresses may not be any shorter than 2 inches above
the ankles.
12. To keep the classroom neat and clean you must sweep the
floor once a day, scrub the floor with hot soapy water
once a week, clean the blackboards once a day and start
the fire at 7 AM to have the school warm by 8 AM when
the scholars arrive.

This list of rules for teachers has long since been proved apocryphal by  It’s one of those things of dubious veracity which get passed around via e-mail, or printed on pseudo-parchment paper and sold at Cracker Barrel for an exorbitant amount.  It’s always pulled out to illustrate how you-may-think-it’s-bad-now-but-look-how-bad-it-was-back-then. (Although, it seems some politicians would have public teachers go back to those days.)

Even though the list is fake, there is more than a grain of truth to it, and I’ve even found some photographic evidence.  I was browsing through the South Carolina Online Archives, specifically, through the old school insurance photographs, and I came upon a term I’d not heard before – teacherage.  Similar to the word “parsonage”, it was a house or lodgings provided for teachers, most often unmarried females. Continue reading “The Teacherage”

Old School Charm

Old Shiloh School Textured

Perhaps it’s that I’m the son of a school principal, and had run of the various schools that I attended growing up. Perhaps it was the many reunions and covered dish suppers our family attended in various country community centers. Perhaps it was even because I spent college summers working maintenance – painting and waxing all of the schools in our district. It might, in some small part, have something to do with my own long career as an educator. Whatever the reason, I’ve always had a fascination with school architecture. Just about any school can be interesting, but what catches my attention most are the old wooden framed country schools.

Driving through the country these are easy to spot. The architecture is distinctive. The buildings tend to be squarish with hipped roofs. If it’s got an old bell tower, all the better.

Wheeland SchoolFish SchoolGowensville School HDR

Well, OK, they don’t all have to be white frame. There are some cool old brick schools, too.

Recently I was doing some research on the South Carolina State Archives website. There is a marvelous collection of photographs of old schools taken between 1935-1950 for insurance purposes.

Browsing this collection got me thinking about these old schools. They are great subjects for photography, and an excellent symbol of a bygone time. I wanted to see if I could find more of these old schools, and that meant making a list of potential targets using Google Earth. Continue reading “Old School Charm”

Director or Coordinator?

Yesterday the central office staff met to go over our goals for the upcoming school year. Our superintendent talked with us about our roles as directors of our various departments. The emphasis this year is on “customer service” and on how we can play a supporting role for principals and teachers – those on the … Continue reading Director or Coordinator?

Salary Revelations

Back in March my brother Stephen wrote about one Methodist Church publicizing the pastor’s and assistant pastor’s salaries in its 2008 Budget Report. Steve wasn’t too please with this, stating that “…a pastor’s salary is a covenant matter between the pastor, the church and the Conference…” When I first read that I wasn’t sure how … Continue reading Salary Revelations