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home : columns : dave fjeld July 21, 2017

5/10/2017 1:56:00 PM
Teacher standards - 1923
Each week/month there are a number of publications that come across my desk, including a variety of area newspapers. Not only do we enjoy reading the stories in those papers, but we also glean a story idea or three from them.
The newspapers make their first stop at my desk before being distributed to the rest of the staff. (No, I'm not special. I'm just the one who gets the papers to the spot where the rest of the staff can access them.)
Likewise, because I handle a lot of the education news in our paper, I also get the monthly Education Minnesota publication, "Minnesota Educator." I'll thumb through it quickly looking for any tidbits that might involve local teachers or former students who are teachers elsewhere.
Every once-in-a-while there's an item that isn't necessarily related to anything local, but is simply interesting. Such was the case with a couple of documents pictured under the publication's "Celebrate Labor History Month."
First, there was the"1872 Rules for Teachers." Then there was the "Teachers Contract, Term 1923." I'm going to share with you the 1923 contract, because, surprisingly, many of the rules in 1872 were the same in 1923. I've filled in "generic names" to make the contract content flow. I'm guessing this contract might have been for a one-room, rural schoolhouse.
If the 1923 rules had remained in effect, I'm pretty sure school would have gone out of business decades ago. Why? You'll figure it out.
"This is an agreement between Miss "Jane Doe" teacher, and the Board of Education of the "Jones Valley" School, whereby Miss "Doe" agrees to teach in the "Jones Valley" School for a period of eight months, beginning Sept. 1, 1923. The Board of Education agrees to pay Miss "Doe" the sum of $75 per month. Miss "Doe" agrees:
"1. Not to get married. This contract becomes null and void immediately if the teacher marries.
"2. Not to keep company with men.
"3. To be at home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m., unless in attendance at school functions.
"4. Not to loiter in downtown ice-cream stores.
"5. Not to leave town at any time without the permission of the Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
"6. Not to smoke cigarettes. This contract becomes null and void immediately if the teacher is found smoking.
"7. Not to drink beer, wine or whiskey. This contract becomes null and void immediately if the teacher is found drinking beer, wine or whiskey.
"8. Not to ride in a carriage or automobile with any man except her brother or father.
"9. Not to dress in bright colors.
"10. Not to dye her hair.
"11. To wear at least two petticoats.
"12. Not to wear dresses more than two inches above the ankle.
"13. To keep the school room clean:
"A. To sweep the classroom floor at least once daily.
"B. To scrub the classroom floor with hot water and soap at least once weekly.
"C. To clean the blackboard at least once daily.
"D. To start the fire at 7:00 a.m., so the room will be warm at 8:00 a.m., when the children arrive."
The "good, old days?"
WAMS student shout-out
Colten O'Connor, a fifth-grader at Windom Area Middle School, got the thrill of a lifetime Sunday when he became the first DARE student in Minnesota to shout out "Play ball!" at the Minnesota Twins game versus the Boston Red Sox.
Colten was nominated by local DARE Officer Dana Wallace and selected for an essay he wrote.
Colten also led 1,800 DARE students from around the state on a parade around Target Field before the start of the game.
Officer Wallace showed me a video of Colten saying those famous baseball words and, with T.C. Bear standing behind him, he definitely said the words with hearty gusto.
Colten also was treated to a behind-the-scenes tour of Target Field before the game.

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