I Like To Dance Which Means I Can’t Teach*

Ever since I started my Educational Law course in November I have found it to be almost completely useless. Today was the first time that I learned anything remotely interesting—I learned that if I had lived 100 years ago and had wanted to teach, I would not have been able to.

…what the heck?!

Surprisingly enough, it was not explicitly because I am a woman, as in those days teaching was a considered a feminine profession. There were very few male teachers, and even though there has been a shift in the last century, the profession is dominated by women. I wouldn’t have been able to teach because I am MARRIED, and I like to dance. haha!! Let me explain…

My professor began a bit of a “then and now” tirade, and my ears perked up immediately when I heard the following. It’s an excerpt from the female teachers’ contract in 1915, and the following “behaviours” were prohibited and would be cause for immediate dismissal:

*Not to keep company with men; unless in attendance at a school function.

*Not to loiter downtown in ice cream stores.

*Not to leave town at any time without the permission of the chairman of the board.

*Not to get into a carriage or automobile with any man except her father or brother.

So let’s see… during the past three weeks I engaged in three of those behaviours (t’was a might too nippy for ice cream… hahaha) so I would be fired immediately. By 1920 things weren’t much better:

*I promise to abstain from all dancing, immodest dressing and other conduct unbecoming a teacher or lady.

*I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married.

*I promise to sleep at least eight hours a night, and eat carefully.

*I promise to remember that I owe a duty to the townspeople who pay my wages, I must respect to the school board and be a willing servant to the school board. (From Fisher and Schimmel, 1973, The Civic Rights of Teachers)

…how absolutely unreal is that? If I wanted to teach back then it would have had to have been my entire life. There would be no Hubster, as apparently it’s against the rules to fall in love. haha!

Anyhoo, I hope you get a kick out of it—I sure did. And people think regulations today are tough? haha

Shop Girl*

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