I recall my school teaching days where I taught in a one-room school house for six years. The grades were 1-8. Most teachers back then were single and they would often board with a couple who lived nearby. Usually, this would be a couple who had no children living with them. The teachers would walk to and from school.
When you entered the schoolhouse, there was an area where the children could hang their coats and keep their lunch pails. This is also where a bucket of water and a towel was kept that everybody shared to wash their hands. Another bucket, called a “dip-bucket”, was hung in the back; this was water for drinking. It had a dip, or a ladle, in it so that you could take a drink of water.
The schoolhouse was heated with a single woodstove. I would often have a 7th or 8th grade boy light the stove. The children all shared in the chores at school, such as bringing in the firewood and filling the water buckets.
Teaching in a one-room schoolhouse had its challenges. I had to make sure that while I was teaching the 1st graders, for example, that all of the other grades had something to work on and keep themselves busy.
A benefit that the kids had in this schoolhouse setting was that things really stayed with them because all the way up to the 8th grade they were hearing the same lessons over and over while I was teaching the younger grades. I think that’s why things like multiplication stuck in their heads.
School Teaching Days
Contributed by Mary M. Reiners (Born 1923)