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Portraits in the first person: an historical ethnography of rural teachers and teaching in British Columbia’s.. Stephenson, Penelope S. 1993

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PORTRAITS IN THE FIRST PERSON: AN HISTORICALETHNOGRAPHY OF RURAL TEACHERS AND TEACHING IN BRITISHCOLUMBIA'S OKANAGAN VALLEY IN THE 1920sbyPENELOPE SIAN STEPHENSONB.A. (Hons.), University College of Aberystwyth, 1981P.G.C.E., The University of Birmingham, 1982A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESDepartment of Social and Educational StudiesWe accept this thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1993©Penelope Sian StephensonIn presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.(Signature) Department of 5oci pii... klb Ehoc A -1- ( 01‘.01L -robkesThe University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDateDE-6 (2/88)ABSTRACTThis study is a micro-analysis of a particular educational milieu: a history of thedevelopment of rural schools and community in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbiafrom 1874 until 1930, focussing mainly on the period from 1920 to 1930. The teacher, ormore specifically the female teacher, is the main subject. A series of oral interviewsconducted with surviving rural teachers and pupils from the 1920s comprise the primarydata. Personal narratives form the core of the text. Also used were the pertinent printed andmanuscript records of the Department of Education, penned by teachers, school inspectorsand other officials, local histories, the 1931 Census of Canada and photographs.The purpose of the study is twofold. First, it is to delineate what the job of teachingin a rural school in the 1920s entailed. The physical and pedagogical conditions of thatwork are described. The role and status of the teacher in the local community are alsohighlighted. Teaching in an isolated community, especially for the novice, was an arduousassignment and one that demanded the acceptance of considerable physical, professional,mental and emotional hardships. The underlying relationship that existed between theindividual teacher and the local world of education in rural districts and how the nature ofthat relationship influenced the quality of teacher experience is a central theme of the study.Social background and upbringing, as well as personal disposition, were found to be keyvariables determining the extent to which teachers were able successfully to adapt to livingand working in a remote rural district.Second, the study examines the social context and meaning of the experience ofteaching as work for women. By focussing on how involvement in the profession fittedinto the larger structure of the female life course, a more complex, yet clearer, visionemerges of what teaching actually did for women in terms of how they used the professionto accommodate their own personal agendas. For many women their experience as aiiteacher, albeit brief, played an important, and for some a profound, role in their lives.Despite the strenuous and often frustrating nature of their working and living circumstancesmany teachers enjoyed their jobs. Motivated by a determination to succeed many regardedtheir experiences in rural schools as a challenge. They had their sense of self-worth andconfidence enhanced by their ability to prove to themselves that they could survive undersuch adverse conditions. Teaching also afforded women economic independence andrelative autonomy and thus expanded their personal and career horizons beyond thetraditional domestic roles. Moreover for a substantial number of women teaching was byno means just a prologue to anticipated marriage but rather a life-time commitment. At thesame time women's career pathways, unlike that of the majority of their male collegues,were not organised to enhance career aspirations. Women negotiated their work interestswith traditional sex role and family expectations. Decisions concerning work were deeplyentrenched within, and contingent upon, their changing personal and family circumstances.Home and family obligations, both real and perceived, defined their lives and played a keyrole in their life planning. Pursuing a "career" as a teacher in the traditional sense was notnecessarily always the main priority in women's lives and certainly had little to do withwhat they viewed as commitment to the job.The study contributes to a fuller understanding of the phenomena of rural schoolingand teaching in British Columbia and provides some insights into rural life itself. It alsoraises important questions as to the meaning of teaching as work to women and the natureof their participation in the workforce. It demonstrates that any evaluation of women'swork must be derived from women workers' own perceptions and definitions of work andcareer.iiiCONTENTSABSTRACT ^ IITABLES ^ V IFIGURES ^ VIIVMAPS ^  IIIPHOTOGRAPHS ^ IXACKNOWLEDGEMENTS ^ XINTRODUCTION ^ 1CHAPTER ONE:^LITERATURE REVIEW ^ 4CHAPTER TWO:^METHODOLOGY ^ 43CHAPTER THREE: A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE OKANAGAN VALLEY1811-1930 ^ 87CHAPTER FOUR:^THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOLS 1874-1930 ^ 121CHAPTER FIVE:^TEACHER CAREER TRAJECTORIES 1920-1930 ^ 158CHAPTER SIX:^WORKING CONDITIONS: SCHOOL FACILITIES ^ 192CHAPTER SEVEN: WORKING CONDITIONS: TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES ^207CHAPTER EIGHT:^LIVING AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS ^ 254CHAPTER NINE:^TEACHING As PART OF THE LIFE COURSE ^293i vCONCLUSION ^ 337BIBLIOGRAPHY ^ 345APPENDIX 1: NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT ^ 381APPENDIX 2: INTERVIEW GUIDE ^ 382APPENDIX 3: TAPE RELEASE FORM ^ 387VTABLESTABLE 1: DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOLS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY1874-1930 ^ 125viFIGURESFIGURE 1: NUMBER OF ONE-ROOM AND MULTI-ROOM SCHOOLS1920-1930 ^ 142FIGURE 2: ANNUAL TOTALS AND NUMBERS OF ASSISTED, RURAL,RURAL MUNICIPALITY, SUPERIOR AND HIGH SCHOOLS1920-1930 ^ 143FIGURE 3: ANNUAL TOTALS AND ENROLMENTS IN ASSISTED, RURAL,RURAL MUNICIPALITY, SUPERIOR AND HIGH SCHOOLS1920-1930 ^ 144FIGURE 4: ENROLMENT IN ONE-ROOM AND MULTI-ROOM SCHOOLS1920-1930 ^ 145FIGURE 5: NUMBERS OF MALE, MARRIED FEMALE AND SINGLEFEMALE TEACHERS 1920-1930 ^ 160FIGURE 6: PERCENTAGES OF MALE, MARRIED FEMALE ANDSINGLE FEMALE TEACHERS ^ 161FIGURE 7:^FREQUENCY OF TEACHER CERTIFICATION ^ 162FIGURE 8: RELATIVE FREQUENCY OF TEACHER CERTIFICATIONBY SEX ^ 163FLGuRE 9: TEACHER TRANSIENCY 1921-1930 ^ 175FIGURE 10: FREQUENCY OF TEACHER TENURE ^ 176FIGURE 11: FREQUENCY OF TEACHER TENURE BY SEX ^ 177vi iMAPSMAP 1: STUDY AREA ^ 89MAP 2: SCHOOLS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY 1874-1930 ^ 124PHOTOGRAPH CREDITSSUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926.COURTESY ALICE GIBSON ^ 248INTERIOR VIEW OF SUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926.COURTESY AMANDA SINGER ^ 248EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR VIEWS OF ELLISON SCHOOL, 1927.COURTESY BERNARD C. GILLIE ^ 249PUPILS OUTSIDE THEIR SCHOOL AT MEDORA CREEK, 1928.COURTESY ANNE VARDON ^ 250VERA EVANS, TEACHER AT WINFIELD SCHOOL, WITH HER PUPILS, 1929.COURTESY VERA TOWGOOD NEE EVANS ^ 250TEACHERAGE AT MABEL LAKE SCHOOL, 1929.COURTESY LUCY MCCORMICK ^ 251PUPILS AT MABEL LAKE PLAYING IN SCHOOL GROUNDS.COURTESY LUCY MCCORMICK ^ 251LUCY HARGREAVES, TEACHER,WITH PUPILS AT GLENROSA SCHOOL, 1923.COURTESY KELOWNA MUSEUM, #3135 ^ 252FANCY DRESS PARTY AT SUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926.COURTESY ALICE LAVIOLLETTE ^ 252PUPILS OUTSIDE KEDLESTON SCHOOL, 1920.COURTESY ILA EMBREE ^ 253THE CONSTRUCTION OF SPRINGBEND SCHOOL, 1924.COURTESY MILLIE BONNEY ^ 253ixACKNOWLEDGEMENTSI would like to thank Don Wilson and Jean Barman for their advice andencouragement. Jean's good humour lightened many dark moments over the last threeyears. I also wish to thank Nancy Sheehan, John Calam and Charles Brauner for theircareful reading of the thesis.Special thanks and appreciation are extended to the women and men who sowillingly talked to me about their rural school experiences. Without their help this studywould never have materialised. I particularly wish to thank Lucy McCormick and BernardC. Gillie for reading the penultimate manuscript of the thesis and for their kind words aboutits content.Finally, I owe more than I can possibly express to Richard. His endless patiencewith an extremely distracted, and often ill-tempered wife, has been heroic. It is to him that Idedicate this thesis. Thank-you Richard.xINTRODUCTIONTwo specific areas of inquiry frame the text of this study. First and foremost theaim is to present an empathetic appreciation of the professional and social experiences ofthe teachers who lived and worked in rural areas. The central question posed is a simpleone: What did it mean to be a teacher in a small rural school in the Okanagan in the 1920's?In this context a plethora of further questions arise. Who were these teachers? Why didthey decide to teach in small schools in remote areas? How long did they stay in any onerural community? What prompted them to move on? What were the physical andpedagogical conditions of the schools in which they worked? How well prepared were theyto teach in these out-of-the-way schools? Did they experience any difficulties in "fittinginto" the community? Were they able to make friends easily or did such socialising dependon factors such as the size or economic base of the community, or their own backgroundand upbringing? To what extent were they considered as "outsiders" and/or therepresentatives of Victoria? How did they perceive their status as members of thecommunity in general, and as teachers in particular? To what extent was their experience insuch remote schools a positive one? To what extent did they find such challenging, andoften frustrating, work enjoyable? How much autonomy were they able, or did they want,to exercise? Did teaching provide them with an opportunity for relative independence andself-development, or did the burden of their work outweigh this potential? How was theirexperience as a rural school teacher affected by their gender? Did their aspirations andexpectations for themselves differ from that which was socially prescribed? To what extent,if at all, did the teaching experiences of those who taught in rural schools have any longterm impact on their life courses as a whole?Secondly, albeit indirectly, the purpose is to uncover the influence of thecommunity on the character and the operation of the schools as well as the reciprocal12influence of the schools on the community. In this respect the following questions areaddressed: What did the community perceive the function of education to be? What werethe attitudes and responses of the parents to schooling? Was pupil attendance at schooldependent upon the "rhythm of work" in the local community? What was the nature of therelationship between the teacher and the pupils both in the classroom and in the largercontext of the local community? To what extent were the particular characteristics of thesocial and learning environment in these rural schools determined by the community inwhich they were located? What was the role and place of the teacher in the localcommunity? What was the nature of the relationship between the teachers and the parentsand/or the school trustees?The study is divided into nine chapters. Chapters One to Four essentially providethe contextual background. Chapter One reviews the literature on the history of womenteachers and teaching in North America and thus locates the research within the relevanthistoriographical tradition. Chapter Two describes the methodological approach adopted aswell as the specific research procedures that were followed in the sample selection, datacollection, analysis and representation. Chapters Three and Four provide an overview ofthe local physical and historical (economic and social) settings from which the participants'recollections emerged. Chapter Three considers the geography, climate and topography ofthe Okanagan Valley. It also includes a general outline history of the area in terms of thesettlement patterns, economic activity, and transportation and communication networks thatevolved in the period up to 1930. Chapter Four focuses on educational developments in thestudy area over the same period. The original research is presented in Chapters Five toNine. The aim of these chapters is to convey in intimate detail a portraiture of the multiplerealities of the experience of rural teaching as it was perceived by the teachers themselves.Chapter Five takes a close look at the demographics of the participants and analyses theircareer trajectories between 1920 and 1930. Chapters Six and Seven appraise the physicaland pedagogical working conditions that teachers confronted on a daily basis in their rural3classrooms. Chapter Eight explores beyond the strictly professional responsibilities andactivities of the rural teacher to consider the nature of their living and social circumstancesin remote communities. Chapter Nine approaches the rural teaching experience from alonger historical perspective by integrating the participants' experiences in the 1920s withinthe wider context of their life courses as a whole. The Conclusion then reviews the findingsof the research and offers suggestions as to the overall significance of the study.4CHAPTER ONELITERATURE REVIEWThe original research in this thesis deals with the lives of those who taught in onetype of educational institution, in a specified location and within a given decade, namely therural schools of the Okanagan Valley in the 1920's. However, this story cannot be fullyunderstood without an appreciation of the wider historiographical tradition from which ithas emerged. This literature review addresses the principal themes and questions that haveemerged in recent historical research on teachers and teaching in the public school systemsof North America. The teacher, or more specifically the female teacher, is the primary focusof the discussion.Early studies in the history of teachers and teaching in North America werecharacterized by a narrowly institutional approach that focussed mainly on the strugglesinvolved in the "rise" of the professional and, more often than not, on the male teacher.Willard S. Elsbree's encyclopaedic work The American Teacher: Evolution of a Professionin a Democracy, published over fifty years ago, is a classic example of this approach. 1Extremely comprehensive, it includes discussions of professional preparation, teachercertification and teachers' working conditions. It is an optimistic account of educationaldevelopment that was directed towards a specific audience. Although Elsbree was resentfulof the low regard for teachers that had existed in the past, the future for him held hope andas such the intention of the book was inspirational: to encourage teachers, teacher educatorsand their students in their quest for professional improvement. Canadian studies thatl(New York: American Book Company, 1939).5address the same theme of teacher professionalism include those of J.G. Althouse, CharlesE. Phillips and Andre Labarrere-Paule. 2By the early 1970's this celebratory approach had come under attack. Revisionisthistorians argued for the need to incorporate the social and political context into theirdiscussions of educational developments and to adopt a more critical perspective. As far asteachers were concerned the call was to explore their history in the context of the localcommunities and school systems in which they lived and worked. One American study ofpre-Civil War Massachusetts teachers revealed startling conclusions about the numericalpreponderancy of females in the teaching force and the effect that this might have had onAmerican society.3 It became increasing clear that there was a need to consider the historyof teachers and teaching in terms of gender. 42 J.G. Althouse, The Ontario Teacher: A Historical Account of Progress 1800-1910 (Toronto:Ontario Teachers Federation, 1967), originally published as the author's D. Paed thesis, University ofToronto, 1929; Charles E. Phillips, The Development of Education in Canada (Toronto: W.J. Gage andCompany Limited, 1957); Andre Labarrere-Paule, Les instituteurs laiques au canada francais, 1836-1900(Quebec: Les Presses de l'universite Laval, 1965).3Richard M. Bernard and Mans A. Vinovskis, "The Female Teacher in Ante-Bellum Massachusetts,"Journal of Social History 10, 3(March 1977): 332-345. They argue for the importance of teaching in shapingwomen's lives because of the large number of women who taught at some point in their lives. From theirfindings they conclude that "approximately one out of five white women in pre-Civil War Massachusetts wasa school teacher at some time in her life! Moreover, since almost all of the teachers were native-born,probably one out of four Massachusetts females born in this country once taught school," 333.4John Rury has argued that gender has been, until recently, "a shamefully neglected issue in thehistory of education." See "Education in the New Women's History," Educational Studies 17, 1(Spring1986): 1. It is generally acknowledged now, however, that gender must be central to any discussion of thehistory of teachers and teaching. David B. Tyack and Myra H. Strober argue the gender is "one of thefundamental organizing principles in society, as important a category for analysis as class or race or age." See"Jobs and Gender: A History of the Structuring of Educational Employment by Sex," in Educational Policyand Management: Sex Differentials. eds. Patricia A. Schmuck, W.W. Charters, Jr., and Richard 0. Carlson(New York: Academic Press, 1981), 131. It is described as "the absent presence" by Michael W. Apple. See"Work, Gender and Teaching," Teachers College Record 84, 3(Spring 1983): 625. Nancy Hoffman regardsgender as "that roar on the other side of silence." See "Feminist Scholarship and Women's Studies," HarvardEducational Review 54, 4(November 1986): 511. The all-encompassing importance of gender in historicalresearch is made clear in Ruth Roach Pierson's definition: "When I speak of gender as a fundamental categoryof social historical analysis, I understand gender to encompass all discourses, practices and structures shaping(and shaped by) the prescribed and prevailing actualized social relations between the sexes." See "Gender andthe Unemployment Insurance Debates in Canada, 1934-1940," Labour/Le Travail 25(Spring 1990): 78,footnote 8. For a more theoretical, feminist discussion of the meaning of gender see Joan W. Scott, "Gender:A Useful Category of Historical Analysis," American Historical Review 91, 5(December 1986): 1053-1075.6Alison Prentice and Marjorie R. Theobald argue that both feminism and marxismwere influential in determining the direction that revisionist historical work on teacherswould take. As they point out:Feminism taught us to explore the history of teachers from the point of view of thewomen who taught school and to look for the structures that subordinated andexploited women in education. From Marxism, we learned to look for the materialconditions of teachers' lives: their class backgrounds and economic status, the waysin which their work was structured, and how it changed over time. Some of us(especially in North America) began with a concern to understand what we called,for want of a better term, the 'feminization' of teaching - that is, the gradualincrease in the numbers and proportions of women teaching in most state schoolsystems, along with their low status and pay within those systems. Most of usgradually moved to broader concerns. Our goal was, increasingly, to understandthe history of all kinds of women teachers in whatever social and political settingsthey were to be found. This meant comparing women teachers' lives and work withthose of the men who taught in the past. It also meant looking at the history ofwomen teachers in two broad contexts: the history of women more generally, andof the changing family and community structures in which their lives wereembedded; and the history of work, and of the shifting economic and socialstructures that encompassed, in particular, women's work in educationalinstitutions. What we were increasingly engaged in, whether we were fullyconscious of it or not, was the study of gender in the history of a profession whichhad been implicated in the articulation and perpetuation of gender inequality inWestern society.5As noted above, the "feminization" of teaching became one of the major questions in theresearch on the history of teachers and teaching in Canada and the United States. AlisonPrentice identified the importance of this topic in a pathbreaking article which drewattention to the image and reality of gender as a determining variable in the historicalprocess. 65 Alison Prentice and Marjorie R. Theobald, "The Historiography of Women Teachers: ARetrospect," chapter in Women Who Taught: Perspectives on the History of Women and Teaching, eds.Prentice and Theobald (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1991), 4-5. The material in this chapter isbased, in part, on an earlier article co-authored by the late Marta Danylewycz and Alison Prentice. See"Revising the History of Teachers: A Canadian Perspective " Interchange 17, 2(Summer 1986): 135-146. Thetwo reviews differ, however, in that the Danylewycz and Prentice article focusses mainly on the NorthAmerican context, whereas Prentice and Theobald have widened their scope to deal in more detail with theliterature on the history of women teachers in Britian and Australia, as well as North America.6Alison Prentice, "The Feminization of Teaching in British North America and Canada 1845-1875,"Histoire sociale/Social History 8, 15(May 1975): 5-20, reprinted in The Neglected Majority: Essays inCanadian Women's History, eds. Susan Mann Trofimenkoff and Alison Prentice (Toronto: McClelland andStewart, 1977), 49-65. Prentice summarizes well how and why there was a shift toward female teachersduring the mid nineteenth century.7Various suggestions have been put forward to explain how and why the occupationof teaching became feminized. One approach has focussed on ideology. Studies dealingwith the ideology which promoted the employment of women teachers reveal the rhetoricused for advocating the hiring of females.7 Teaching was seen as "woman's trueprofession." Women's maternal and nurturing qualities, natural affinity for young childrenand their superior powers of sympathy and communication made them ideal teachers. Theschool was seen merely as an extension of the family with the parent in the home beingreplaced by the teacher in the school. However, this did not mean that women should beteachers instead of being mothers. Rather, it was argued that teaching prepared women tobe better mothers and that it was but a step from the parental home to the schoolhouse andthen back again to the home as mother and wife. As Myra H. Strober and David Tyackexplain: "The conviction that teaching was appropriate to woman's sphere and compatiblewith marriage was one of the powerful preconditions that led to the increasing employmentof women as teachers." 87Thomas Woody, A History of Women's Education in the United States Volumes I and 2 (NewYork: The Science Press, 1929); Glenda Riley, "Origins of the Argument for Improved Female Education,"History of Education Quarterly 9, 4(Winter 1969): 455-470; Keith Melder, "Woman's High Calling: TheTeaching Profession in America, 1830-1860," American Studies 13, 2(Fall 1972): 19-32; Kathryn KishSklar, Catherine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973); JoanN. Burstyn, "Catherine Beecher and the Education of American Women," New England Ouarterly 47,3(September 1974): 386-403; Nancy Hoffman, Woman's "True" Profession: Voices From the History ofTeaching (New York: The Feminist Press, 1981).8Myra H. Strober and David Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?: A Report onResearch on Schools," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 5, 3(Spring 1980): 497. For anaccount of the feminization of teaching in which women are portrayed as the unwitting participants in themaintenance of patriarchy see Madeleine Grumet, "Pedagogy For Patriarchy: The Feminization of Teaching,"Interchange 12, 2-3(1981): 165-184. See also Madeleine R. Grumet, Bitter Milk: Women and Teaching(Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1988). In contrast, Redding S. Sugg's, Motherteacher: TheFeminization of American Education (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978) provides anextremely derogatory and condemnatory view of the effect of women's growing dominance of the teachingprofession. See also Deborah Fitts, "Una and the Lion: The Feminization of District School Teaching and ItsEffects on the Roles of Students and Teachers in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts," in RegulatedChildren/Liberated Children: Education in Psychohistorical Perspective, ed. Barbara Finkelstein (New York:Psychohistory Press, 1979), 140-157, for an interesting discussion of the ideology surrounding thefeminization of teaching influenced by psychoanalytical thought.8While ideology no doubt played a role in the shift to teaching being regarded aswomen's work, the issue cannot totally be explained in this way. In fact much of therhetoric involved in the ideological arguments resemble little more than a rationalization formore objective economic and organizational changes that were occuring at the same time asteaching was being feminized. Janet Guildford has argued in her work on the feminizationof the teaching force in Nova Scotia that "ideology and economics...were in fact intimatelyrelated and mutually reinforcing." 9A number of historians have attempted to explore these changes by examining therelationship between the growth of "formalized" school systems, increases in thepercentages of women teachers and decreases in female/male salary ratios. 10 Strober andLanford argue that "where the percentage of women teachers was high, schooling waslikely to have been "formalized" - that is, schools had become formal organizations -relatively early and the ratio of the average female teaching salary to the male teachingsalary was likely to be relatively low." 119Janet Guildford, —Separate Spheres": The Feminization of Public School Teaching in Nova Scotia,1838-1880," Acadiensis 22, 1(Autumn 1992): 47.10See Alison Prentice, "The Feminization of Teaching,"; Myra H. Strober and Laura Best, "TheFemale/Male Salary Differential in Public Schools: Some Lessons From San Francisco, 1879," EconomicInquiry 17, 2(April 1979): 218-236; Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?"; Tyackand. Strober, "Jobs and Gender," 131-152; Myra H. Strober and Audri Gordon Lanford, "The Feminization ofPublic School Teaching: Cross Sectional Analysis, 1850-1880," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 11, 2(Winter 1986): 212-235. For a study of the relationship between compulsory school attendanceand increased percentages of women teachers see John G. Richardson and Brenda Wooden Hatcher, "TheFeminization of Public School Teaching 1870-1920," Work and Occupations 10, 1(February 1983): 81-99.For a study that correlates high rates of female school attendance and percentages of women teachers seeSusan B. Carter, "Occupational Segregation, Teachers' Wages, and American Economic Growth," Journal ofEconomic History 46, 2(June 1986): 373-383.11 Strober and Lanford,"The Feminization of Public School Teaching," 215. The authors are criticalof studies that stress causal connections between urbanization and the rising percentages of women inteaching. They argue that the proportion of women in teaching increased not because of urbanization per se,but because of the "formalization" of school systems and the decrease in the female/male salary ratio, whichtended to occur in urban settings. Examples of studies that stress the importance of urbanization includeMichael Katz, The Irony of Early School Reform: Educational Innovation in Mid-Nineteenth Century Massachusetts (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1968); Michael B. Katz, "TheEmergence of Bureaucracy in Urban Education: The Boston Case, 1850-1884," History of Education Ouarterly 8, 2(Summer 1968): 155-188 and 8, 3(Fall 1968): 319-357; David Tyack, The One Best System: A 9The striking differences between urban and rural areas in this respect have been thesubject of much of the research. 12 Focusing largely on the nineteenth century, studies ofschool systems have shown that schools in the large cities were first formalized. In theseurban centres "public school teaching not only became feminized" but also "stratified bysex." 13 In other words, in urban schools women became numerically superior but in termsof the positions they occupied in the profession and the salaries they received they wereinferior. The concept of a segmented labour market is central to these arguments. Womenwere segregated into lower paying positions in the bottom rungs of the occupation, mainlyas teachers of younger pupils, whereas men were employed in the well-paid and moreadministrative positions as senior teachers, principals, inspectors and superintendents.Strober and Lanford have summed up the basic arguments nicely:Formalization of schooling precipitated occupational segregation in teaching byunleashing both demand- and supply-side pressures. On the demand side, thegraded school brought with it a specific demand for women teachers in part becausewomen were cheaper to hire than men and in part because of the stereotypesconcerning women's superiority in dealing with children and women's docility intaking orders. On the supply side, longer school terms and increased credentialingrequirements meant the opportunity cost of staying in teaching was raised for men.Because they could neither continue to treat teaching as supplementary employmentnor afford to be full-time teachers (the average salary in teaching, a publicoccupation funded by tight-fisted tax payers, was inadequate for supporting afamily), most men dropped out. Men left teaching because they had more lucrativealternative occupations open to them. Women stayed in teaching, at lower wagesthan those paid to men, because they did not have other options."History of American Urban Education (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974); DavidTyack, "Bureaucracy and the Common School: The Example of Portland, Oregan, 1851-1913," AmericanQuarterly 19, 3(Fall 1967): 475-498.12See Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?"; Tyack and Strober, "Jobsand Gender," and Strober and Lanford, "The Feminization of Public School Teaching."13Strober and Best, "The Female/Male Salary Differential," 220.14S trober and Lanford, "The Feminization of Public School Teaching," 234. For a detaileddiscussion of the "push" and "pull" factors that led women into teaching in the United States see GeraldineJoncich Clifford, "'Daughters into Teachers': Educational and Demographic Influences on the Transformationof Teaching into 'Women's Work' in America," History of Education Review 12, 1(1983): 15-28, reprinted inPrentice and Theobald, eds. Women Who Taught, 115-135.10John Rury has suggested that the reason why women earned less than men was because"the inability - and, in some cases perhaps, the unwillingness - of women to work beyondmarriage resulted in distinctive male and female career paths in education." In short, hecontinues "most women simply did not remain in the teaching force long enough tocompete for administrative posts. Sexist assumptions about their true careers blocked themovement of women into the emerging education hierarchy." 15In contrast to the urban model outlined above some historians have noted that ruralareas were slower to develop a segmented labour market in teaching. Rural schools -usually one-room - were more informal and less rigid in organization, had less discrepancybetween male and female salaries and tended to employ more equal numbers of men andwomen, although women tended to be employed in the summer term (when the older boysand male teachers were engaged in agricultural work) and men in the winter time. The wayin which rural schools were organized meant that both males and females had similar jobs.Both taught ungraded classes in one-room schoolhouses and therefore were able to exercise"considerable independence, discretion and autonomy and operated without benefit of anyformal on-site supervisors." 16 However, this situation was not to last. American studieshave shown that as state regulation and standardization increased, feminization became thenorm in rural as well as urban areas. 17Urban models of schooling transferred to rural environments were thus seen to beappropriate in accounting for the feminization of teaching. However, it became clear fromwork done on Canadian teachers that this explanation was too simple a generalization andthat more complex alternative models were needed. As Danylewycz and Prentice point out:15John L. Rury, "Gender, Salaries and Career: American Teachers, 1900-1910," Issues in Education4, 3(Winter 1986): 230. Italics in original.16Strober and Best, "The Female/Male Salary Differential," 221.17Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?" 498.11From an early appreciation of the fact that what we needed to document was notonly the shift in public schools from a largely male to a predominantly femaleteaching force but also women's prior educational work in domestic surroundings,there gradually emerged a perception of the importance of regional differences inunderstanding both of these phenomena. 18In their study of the evolution of the sexual division of labour in nine counties in ruralOntario and Quebec Danylewycz, Light and Prentice propose two new models to add to thealready existing early urban and late rural patterns of feminization. First of all, they suggesta modified "early" rural model that was "characteristic of troubled agricultural regions andthe resource frontier." Poverty and the presence of resource industries such as lumberingand fishing provided alternative employment to teaching for young men. They thereforesuggest that male unavailability was in part responsible for the feminization of teaching incertain regions of rural Quebec and Eastern Ontario where women were the predominantsex from the very beginning of public school systems. Secondly, they propose analternative model for the sexual division of labour that developed in Quebec that takes intoaccount the importance of the tradition of women in teaching prior to the emergence ofgovernment supported schools - a tradition that can be traced back to the nuns in educationsince the founding of New France. 19 In another article Danylewycz and Prentice haverevealed that Montreal, Quebec's largest metropolitan centre, did not conform to the classicNorth American pattern of a public school system governed by a male hierarchy in whichwomen proliferated in the teaching posts in the lower ranks. Montreal developed a dualeducational system in which the French Catholic system was divided along gender lineswhich favoured boys' schools run by male teachers. As such, the entire French Catholic18Danylewycz and Prentice, "Revising the History of Teachers," 137. Italics in original. Guildfordalso emphasises the importance of regional differences in her study of Nova Scotia teachers. See her""Separate Spheres"."19Marta Danylewycz, Beth Light and Alison Prentice, "The Evolution of the Sexual Division ofLabour in Teaching: A Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec Case Study," Histoire sociale/Social History 16, 31(Spring 1983): 81-109.12system was dominated by males until the end of the nineteenth century. 20 The necessity ofexamining regional differences and local settings rather than making sweepinggeneralizations concerning the nature and extent of the feminization of teaching in NorthAmerica is made abundantly clear by these studies. 21As more research is conducted into the topic of the feminization of teaching it isbecoming increasingly obvious that it is a very complex phenomenon. Jean Barman looksat feminization and teacher (both male and female) retention rates in schools in latenineteenth century British Columbia. 22 She argues that feminization may have beenoveremphasized as an explanatory device and that "in British Columbia, feminization ofitself did not necessarily alter the character of teaching as an occupation, both female andmale retention rates gradually increasing within the very city schools where women firstassumed numerical preponderance." 23 She found that there were markedly differingpatterns of retention between city and non-city schools and that these differences werefirmly in place prior to and, as she speculates, very possibly largely unrelated to the parallelprocess of feminization. She offers the suggestion that the more satisfactory "material20Marta Danylewycz and Alison Prentice, "Teachers, Gender, and Bureaucratizing School Systemsin Nineteenth Century Montreal and Toronto," History of Education Quarterly 24, 1(Spring 1984): 75-100. Afurther paper by Danylewycz and Prentice, which includes details from the two articles cited above, is usefulin this context. See "Lessons From the Past: The Experience of Women Teachers in Quebec and Ontario", inWorld Yearbook of Education 1984: Women and Education, eds. Sandra Acker, Jacquetta Megarry, StanleyNisbet and Eric Hoyle (London, England: Kogan Page, Limited, 1984), 163-172.21 Chad Gaffield recently emphasised the importance of studying "regions" as compared to "provincesand nations." He argued that focus exclusively on the latter "can rarely do justice to the complexity andvariety of human thought and behaviour....[C]onclusions drawn at such high levels of aggregation either donot apply to many residents or reflect a particular perspective (often that of elites in metropolitan centres)."Consequently he applauded the fact that "the study of regions has become a mainstream focus of scholarlyattention." See "The New Regional History: Rethinking the History of the Outaouais," Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'etudes canadiennes 26, 1(Spring 1991): 64. As early as 1969 J.M.S. Careless observed thatregionalism had been, and continued to be, the predominant feature of Canadian life and so urged historians tostudy smaller communities and to examine rural patterns. See "'Limited Identities' in Canada," CanadianHistorical Review 50, l(March 1969):1-10.22Jean Barman, "Birds of Passage or Early Professionals? Teachers in Late Nineteenth-CenturyBritish Columbia," Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'education 2, l(Spring 1990): 17-36.23Ibid., 1813conditions" of city as compared with non-city schools may have been a more importantfactor in teacher retention. Barman contends:When research is limited to a single sex, as have been recent analyses of teacherfeminization, the impression is left, whether or not it be deliberate, that all humanbehaviour somehow derives from sex and gender. To understand the role ofwomen in the past with all its inherent complexity, a broader context is essentia1. 24Work in Canada and elswhere has also begun to look beyond the basic question ofgender to examine the social structure of the teaching profession and how that may havechanged over time. By exploring the average age of teachers, their household and maritalstatus, ethnicity, and class origins historians have been able to build up a more precisepicture of the composition of the teaching forces in various localities as well as speculate,albeit tentatively, on the circumstances of the lives and the meaning of teaching to people ofdifferent backgrounds who chose to join the occupation.Researchers have begun to investigate the backgrounds of teachers through the useof records of local school boards and provincial departments of education and manuscriptcensus data. In their study of rural teachers in nineteenth century Ontario and Quebec in theperiod from 1851 to 1881, Danylewycz, Light and Prentice discovered that "women (andto some extent men) living at home with their parents were replacing both male householdheads and male boarders among rural Ontario teachers." In addition they found that"Women were increasing in all categories but the women teachers who were under 30 yearsof age grew from 12.8 to 38.1 percent of all teachers." 25 Their findings for the city ofToronto reveal that "the bureaucratizing public school system in this city not only favouredthe unmarried and youthful among its women teachers, it also showed a clear preferencefor hiring large numbers of such women to staff its growing schools. 26 Shifts in the age24Ibid., 23.25Danylewycz, Light and Prentice, "The Evolution of the Sexual Division of Labour," 101.26Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers, Gender and Bureaucratizing School Systems, " 84.14structure and the marital and household status of teachers therefore paralleled the change inelementary school teaching from a male to an increasingly female occupation.Findings on the ethnic and class origins of teachers have also proved suggestive.By pointing to the larger proportion of non-Canadian born individuals among the maleteachers of Ontario, Danylewycz and Prentice proposed a possible correlation betweenethnicity and the sexual division of labour in teaching. They found that in certain areas ofrural Ontario male teachers continued to be numerically dominant for several decades longerin comparison to rural Quebec and certain Eastern Ontario counties. They argue that thisresistance to the trend towards predominantly female teaching forces may have been linkedto the existence of a pool of cash-hungry immigrant men who, because of feweropportunities or skills for employment in other fields, were willing and able to teach whentheir Ontario-born counterparts were not. 27 Information gleaned from the manuscriptcensuses for Montreal and Toronto concerning the occupations of parents with whom cityteachers lived enabled them to identify the class origins of these teachers and to speculateon their significance. In Montreal about half of the female teachers who lived in theirfather's households were the daughters of skilled and unskilled workers. Toronto revealeda slightly smaller proportion and in both cities relatively few female teachers were from theentrepreneurial and professional classes. They also point to the high proportion of womenteachers in both cities who were living with a widowed relative or parent and suggest thatthey were the major breadwinner in the household. 28 Therefore, if the reason foremploying women as teachers was because they were a cheap means of labour necessary tofill the growing needs of expanding school systems, then it was equally true that "womenincreasingly welcomed (and were in need of) paid employment outside of the home." As27Danylewycz, Light and Prentice, "The Evolution of the Sexual Division of Labour in Teaching,"98.28Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers, Gender and Bureaucratizing School Systems," 91-92.15such "for many Montreal and Toronto schoolmistresses, something more than a responseto "women's high calling" was involved in the decision to teach school."29 Thus the detailsrevealed in these studies of teachers' backgrounds both support and refine the findings ofearlier studies on the economic and organizational explanations for the feminization ofteaching in the nineteenth century.30Despite this wealth of information on who taught in schools, and how and why thischanged from a mainly male to a predominantly female occupation in the nineteenthcentury, little of the research has approached the topic from the perspective of the teacher asworker. This is rather surprising given that teaching has been regarded as "women's work"since the middle of the nineteenth century. As alluded to earlier, educational historians havetended to focus on the professionalism aspect of teachers work rather than on the actualtasks they performed. 31 In the same way teachers as workers have not been placed at thecentre of enquiry in either labour or women's histories. The question of occupationalcategories when dealing with teachers' history appears to have been problematic because:[Teachers] have not fitted very well into the classic model of workers perceived tobe men doing manual, as opposed to intellectual or managerial, work. Teachers, onthe contrary, have been seen and portrayed as "brain workers," and as actually orideally the managers, at the very least, of children if not of other adults. In addition,they were very clearly not working men, since so many, as time went on, were infact women (italics in original).3229Danylewycz and Prentice, "Revising the History of Teachers," 139."For an interesting account of the social composition of American teachers at five points inhistory, ranging from the late colonial period to the late 1980's, see John L. Rury, "Who Became Teachers:The Social Characteristics of Teachers in American History," in American Teachers: Histories of a Professionat Work, ed. Donald Warren (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989), 9-48.31For example, Althouse, The Ontario Teacher and Labarrere-Paule, Les instituteurs laiques aucanada francais. 32Marta Danylewycz and Alison Prentice, "Teachers' Work: Changing Patterns and Perceptions inthe Emerging School Systems of Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Central Canada," Labour/LeTravail 17(Spring 1986): 61. Reprinted in Schoolwork: Approaches to the Labour Process of Teaching, ed.Jenny Ozga (Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1988), 61-80, and in Women Who Taught,eds. Prentice and Theobald, 136-159.16The need to understand teachers' work as work, to look at the labour process of teaching,to understand the nature and meaning of changes in teachers' work and workingconditions, to develop teacher history and to inform all these with a gender consciousperspective has been the focus of recent work by Michael W. Apple and others onAmerican and British teachers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Theyargue that teaching as an occupation has been subject to a process of "proletarianization"which entailed an increasing rationalization and restructuring of the job and that this processis linked with gender. 33 As Apple contends: "Historically women's jobs have been muchmore apt to be "proletarianized" than men's." He goes on to argue that "once a set ofpositions becomes "women's work," it is subject to greater pressure for rationalization.Administrative control of teaching, curricula, and so on increases. The job itself becomesdifferent."34Drawing on the work of Apple and others Danylewycz and Prentice have incisivelyexplored the actual tasks teachers performed in their work in the schoolrooms of nineteenthand early twentieth century Ontario and Quebec. 35 In doing so they attempt to determine33Michael W. Apple, "Teaching and "Women's Work": A Comparative Historical and IdeologicalAnalysis," Teachers College Record 86, 3(Spring 1985): 455-473. This article is essentially reproduced in theauthor's Teachers & Texts: A Political Economy of Class & Gender Relations in Education (New York:Routledge, 1988), 54-78. See also Apple, "Work, Gender, and Teaching," 611-628; Michael W. Apple,"Work, Class and Teaching," in Gender. Class and Education, eds. Stephen Walker and Len Barton (NewYork: The Falmer Press, 1983), 53-67; Barry H. Bergen, "Only a Schoolmaster: Gender, Class, and theEffort to Professionalize Elementary Teaching in England, 1870-1910," History of Education Quarterly 22,1(Spring 1982): 1-21, reprinted in Schoolwork, ed. Ozga, 39-60; Jennifer Ozga and Martin Lawn eds.,Teachers. Professionalism and Class: A Study of Organized Teachers (London, England: The Falmer Press,1981). For a discussion of the "proletarianization" thesis as applied to the transformation of the clericallabour market and office working conditions in Canada between 1900 and 1930 see Graham S. Lowe, "Class,Job and Gender in the Canadian Office," Labour/Le Travailleur 10(Autumn 1982): 11-37, and Graham S.Lowe, "Mechanization, Feminization, and Managerial Control in the Early Twentieth-Century CanadianOffice," in On the Job: Confronting the Labour Process in Canada, eds. Craig Heron and Robert Storey(Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1986), 177-209.34Apple, "Teaching and "Women's Work"," 457, 462. Italics in original.35 Danylewycz and Prentice," Teachers' Work," 59-80. See also Alison Prentice, "From Householdto School House: The Emergence of the Teacher as Servant of the State " Material History Bulletin 20(1983):19-29.17how the nature of that work, and the working conditions under which those tasks werecarried out, changed during a period when state school systems were in the process ofbeing established and the occupation was becoming increasingly feminized. The centraltheme of their study of teacher's work is the increasing formalization of, and control over,school procedures and administration which led to a phenomenal growth in the workload -academic, supervisory, administrative and manual - of teachers. In short they reveal acritical restructuring of the form and content of the tasks of teachers themselves in subtlebut important ways. 36Danylewycz and Prentice also draw attention to the perceptions held by teachersabout their social and ecomomic position in the workforce, and about what work wascompatible with that position. The restructuring of the work of the teacher in the school didnot improve their lot and the evidence of growing workloads encouraged school teachers toorganize protective associations. However, as Danylewycz and Prentice point out, womenteachers' associations often pursued contradictory policies as they tried to improve theirmembers' conditions of work and define their position in the labour force. 37 They drawagain on the work of Apple concerning his ideas on the contradictory class location ofteachers. He argues that twentieth century teachers are "located simultaneously in twoclasses" in that "they share the interests of both the petty bourgeousie and the workingclass."38 Canadian teachers, as Danylewycz and Prentice note, were like their Americancounterparts in that they formed their associations to fight for better wages and workingconditions but, unlike the most radical Americans, they found it difficult to see themselves36For a discussion of the restructuring of the work of teachers in relation to the changing role of theschool in early twentieth century British Columbia, see Timothy A. Dunn, "The Rise of Mass PublicSchooling in British Columbia, 1900-1929," in Schooling and Society in Twentieth Century BritishColumbia, eds. J. Donald Wilson and David C. Jones (Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Limited, 1980), 23-51.37Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers' Work," 62.38Apple, "Work, Class and Teaching," 53.18as "workers" or to form alliances with trade unions and other working class organizationsthat had similar problems. 39 There was a definite contradiction between the actual socialand economic position of teachers in the workforce and their perceptions of what thatposition was. Classroom teachers were poorly paid, experienced difficult and demandingworking conditions and had little control over the workplace. In this way they were nodifferent from industrial workers. However, teachers, for the most part, continued toidentify themselves as mental rather than manual workers despite the fact that most of themwere not accepted by their communities as fully professional. Teachers therefore occupied avery contradictory position in the labour force. "It was," Danylewycz and Prenticecontinue, "the uncertainty of their position in the labour force that helps to explain howwomen teachers could flirt with the mystique of professionalism while at the same timetheir members referred to themselves as the exploited or as toilers and hirelings." 4°Perhaps, as has been suggested, the main problem for women teachers was the fact thatthey were working in school systems that were, for the most part, managed by, and formen.41 This fact draws attention to the literature on the history of teachers and teaching thatapproaches the subject from the perspective of those who trained, organized and controlledthe schools and school systems in which those teachers worked, and which underlines theimportance of examining the interplay between the lives of those who taught and those who39Studies of women teachers' associational work in Canada include: Wendy E. Bryans, "VirtuousWomen at Half the Price: The Feminization of the Teaching Force and Early Women Teacher Organizationsin Ontario," (M.A. thesis, University of Toronto, 1974); Alison Prentice, "Themes in the Early History ofthe Women Teachers' Association of Toronto, 1892-1914," in Women's Paid and Unpaid Work: Historicaland Contempory Perspectives, ed. Paula Bourne (Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1985), 97-121. See alsoHarry Smaller, "Ontario Teacher Federations and the State - An Historical Overview," History of Education Review 14, 2(1985): 4-14, for a discussion of the nature of the involvement of the state in the developmentof the early stages of teachers' protective associations in Ontario. An essential American source on the topicis Wayne J. Urban, Why Teachers Organized (Detroit: Wayne State Univerity Press, 1982). Urban focuses onwomen teachers' associations in Chicago, New York and Atlanta. See also Urban, "New Directions in theHistorical Study of Teacher Unionism," Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'education 2,1(Spring 1990): 1-15.Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers' Work," 79.41 Ibid., 80.19managed. Recent work on the history of normal schools and teacher training 42 and also onthe role of superintendents, inspectors and principals43 has begun to address such issues.It is clear from this survey of the literature on the history of teachers and teaching inNorth America that, to a large extent, historians have concentrated on ideological concernsas expressed in the prescriptive literature and the rhetoric of educational promoters, haveemployed broadly quantitative methodologies and/or have provided accounts of teachers'lives in urban public school systems. These approaches have generated importantinformation that has improved our knowledge of the composition of the teaching force inthe nineteenth century and raised searching questions about how and why the structure andorganization of teaching as an occupation changed over time. However, these studies alsotend to portray male and female teachers in stereotypical roles and leave one with aninterpretation of teaching as a "hierarchically structured and gendered school system" whichentailed male control of women's work, the reproduction of subordinate roles for femaleteachers, and a situation in which "women teachers were seen both as its victims andunwitting perpetuators. "44The essence of this vision of teaching lies in the increasing bureaucratization ofschool systems at various levels which led to ever tightening controls over the occupation42John Calam, "Teaching the Teachers: Establishment and Early Years of the B.C. ProvincialNormal Schools," BC Studies 61(Spring 1984): 30-63; Alison Prentice, "Like Friendly Atoms inChemistry"?: Women and Men at Normal School in Mid-Nineteenth Century Toronto," in Old Ontario: Essays in Honour of J.M.S. Careless. eds. David R. Keane and Colin Read (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 1990).For a good source of information on teacher education in the United States, see Jurgen Herbst, And SadlyTeach: Teacher Education and Professionalization in American Culture (Madison, Wisconsin: The Universityof Wisconsin Press, 1989), and Herbst, "Nineteenth-Century Normal Schools in the United States: A FreshLook," History of Education 9, 3(September 1980): 219-227.43Philip Corrigan and Bruce Curtis, "Education, Inspection and State Formation: A PreliminaryStatement," Canadian Historical Association, Historical Papers (1985): 156-171; John Abbott,"Accomplishing "a Man's Task": Rural Women Teachers, Male Culture, and the School Inspectorate in Turn-of-the-Century Ontario," Ontario History 78, 4(December 1986): 313-330; Thomas Fleming, ""Our Boys inthe Field": School Inspectors, Superintendents, and the Changing Character of School Leadership in BritishColumbia," in Schools in the West: Essays in Canadian Educational History, eds. Nancy M. Sheehan, J.Donald Wilson, and David C. Jones (Calgary: Detselig Enterprises Limited, 1986), 285-303.44Prentice and Theobald,"The Historiography of Women Teachers," 6-7.20in terms of normal school training and certification requirements, control of the curriculum,and the many levels of inspection beginning with school principals and ending with districtand provincial inspectors and superintendents. The purpose of this organization and controlis made clear by Strober and Tyack: "Given this purpose of tight control, women wereideal employees. With few alternative occupations and accustomed to patriarchal authority,they mostly did what their male superiors ordered. Difference of gender provided animportant form of social control." 45 As Danylewycz and Prentice explain: "Indeed,educational administrators developed bureaucratic modes of organization chiefly with maleaspirations for power and social mobility in mind."46 Hoffman argues that the structure ofthe school "reinforced the notion that women were capable of teaching the ABC's and thevirtues of cleanliness, obedience, and respect, while men taught about ideas, and organizedthe profession."47 Melder contends that women teachers were central to the purposes ofeducational reformers and administrators in that women were "a resource, a labour force,that could be manipulated for their advantage." He goes on to explain:Women entered the schools, enthusiastically supported by male educators, only tofind that they occupied the lowest rung of a long bureaucratic ladder with virtuallyno hope for advancement into positions of power. A tiny minority of womenbecame principals of secondary schools, system superintendents, or officers ofteachers' organizations, but men monopolized administrative and policy makingpositions. One of the great advantages seen by the educators in employing themwas the very docility and lack of worldly ambition which appeared to give womenan advantage in teaching young children. Woman's natural submissiveness wouldprevent her from becoming a threat to the system of education, the policy-makingand power structure erected by men. In attracting women into teaching thereformers not only obtained a competent labor force that they could not secureotherwise, but a class of workers which would accept masculine domination."45Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?" 500.46Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers, Gender, and Bureaucratizing School Systems," 78.47Hoffman, Woman's "True" Profession, xxii."Melder, "Woman's High Calling," 27-28.21At the same time, as Strober and Best argue, men's higher status in teaching made itpossible to "more securely link the schools to the (male) power bases in the surroundingcommunity [because] men not only had obvious overt status characteristics which served toraise the status of schools in local eyes, but also, through all-male clubs and sports, had fareasier access than women to key members of the areas' business and political powerstructures."49 Therefore, the bureaucratization of school systems both promoted andinstitutionalized unequal relations between the sexes and resulted in a situation in whichwomen's position was in general inferior to that of men's. Prentice has drawn attention tothe wider repercussions of such a situation:To the extent that this pattern persisted and spread, and to the extent that schoolchildren absorbed messages from the organization of the institutions in which theywere educated, Canadian children were exposed to a powerful image of woman'sinferior position in society. One must not discount, moreover, the impact on thewomen themselves. The experience of public school teaching, the experience of itsdiscipline and of its hierarchical organization, became the experience of largenumbers of Canadian women by the end of the nineteenth century 50A number of problems arise from these studies that portray men and women instereotypical roles in school systems. Women appear as all too accepting of their inferiorposition in the teaching force. But to what extent did women enter the teaching professionbecause they regarded themselves as the ideal and natural educators of the young? How farwere they controlled and dominated by their male employers? How did women teachersthemselves perceive their position and experience as teachers in the workforce?Quantitative studies provide a macro-portrait of the occupation of teaching in termsof age, sex, marital and household status, class, ethnicity and so on, and offer explanationsfor the increase in female involvement as teachers in public educational systems in thenineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, they reveal little about individualexperience, or the personal meaning of teaching as work, or allow us to discern how49Strober and Best, "The Female/Male Salary Differential," 223.50Prentice, "The Feminization of Teaching," 20.22teachers themselves made sense of their lives both in the classroom and in the communitiesin which they lived and worked. As well, studies focussing on ideology tend to equaterhetoric with actual experience, what was intended with what actually happened. Evenwhen teachers have been the centre of attention, as is the case with much of the literaturediscussed so far, the story has been more in terms of what was done to them, or thought ofand about them, by others, rather than in terms of their own experience as teachers. 51 Inother words:[H]istorians have tended to treat teachers as nonpersons. Female teachers especiallyhave been portrayed as objects rather than subjects, as either the unknowing toolsof the social elite or as the exploited minority whose labor is bought cheaply. Rarelyhave they been treated as subjects in control of their own activities. Seldom has theworld of schooling been presented through their eyes. 52Therefore these approaches only go part of the way towards a full understanding of thecomplex picture of the history of teachers and teaching.American educational historian Geraldine Joncich Clifford has highlighted some ofthe problems associated with quantitative approaches to the history of teachers. She drawsattention to "their inability to reveal how teachers actually perceived and reacted to theirprofessional status, the demands of their tasks, to their students and patrons, and topedagogical-reform 'movements' that are presumed to have existed." To continue herargument she contends that "accumulated data of these sorts and the hunches they generate,no more constitute a record of the experience of schooling than all the possible statisticalfindings about age of marriage, illigitimacy rate, household size, infant mortality, number51As early as 1975 John Calam noted that the teacher in history had, for the most part, been placed"at the periphery rather than at the centre of research attention." There was a need, therefore, to fill this gap inCanadian educational historiography and so ensure that "the teacher in history lives and breathes once more."See "A Letter from Quesnel: The Teacher in History, and Other Fables." History of Education Ouarterly 15,2(Summer 1975): 136, 142.52Richard A. Quantz, "The Complex Visions of Female Teachers and the Failure of Unionization inthe 1930s: An Oral History," History of Education Quarterly 25, 4(Winter 1985): 439.23of wage-earning members, together will produce the experience of the family."53 As far asshe is concerned: "The meanings people attatch to their experiences; their sense of whatdrives or limits their actions; the victories and defeats of their lives; what build them up andwhat tears or wears them down; the struggle within as well as the struggle without - theseare also the data of history."54In the light of such concerns the efficacy of studying the subjective side ofeducational history in general, and the history of teachers in particular, has, and is, beingincreasingly advocated. The central questions that some historians began to ask are simple,illustrated by Barbara J. Finkelstein in the preface to her bibliography of educationalreminiscences: "What...was the character of pedagogy as understood by participants?" 55Clifford has also called for "a people-centred institutional history that deals, in significantand sensitive ways, with students, parents, school board members, as well as teachers -warts and all."56 Her main conviction is that educational history should probe for "theintentions of the givers and receivers of education" by focussing on "personal conceptionsand misconceptions" and on the "consequences of formal education as perceived by theparticipants...in contrast to the ideals or functions of education as articulated byphilosophers and recognizable "spokesmen" for education." In short she argues for a53Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "History as Experience: The Uses of Personal-History Documents inthe History of Education," History of Education 7, 3(October 1978): 192. Italics in original.54Geraldine Joncich Clifford, ""Marry, Stitch, Die, or Do Worse": Educating Women for Work," inWork Youth and Schooling: Historical Perspectives on Vocationalism in American Education, eds. HarveyKantor and David B. Tyack (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1982), 225.55Barbara J. Finkelstein, "Schooling and Schoolteachers: Selected Bibliography of Autobiographiesin the Nineteenth Century," History of Education Quarterly 14, 2(Summer 1974): 293. See also BarbaraFinkelstein, ed. Regulated Children/Liberated Children and Barbara Finkelstein, Governing the Young: Teacher Behavior in Popular Primary Schools in Nineteenth-Century United States (New York: The FalmerPress, 1989).56Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Saints, Sinners, and People: A Position Paper on the Historiographyof American Education," History of Education Quarterly 15, 3(Fa11 1975): 268.24"personalized history." 57 Canadian historian Chad M. Gaffield has reiterated theseconcerns and urged educational historians to focus on the "experiential meaning ofeducation" from the point of view of "all those who have been involved in the process." 58In his recent work on the French language problem in Ontario in the nineteenth century heemphasized the importance of documenting the experiences of "the boys and girls, men andwomen whose lives gave meaning to the questions of schooling." 59 Likewise RichardQuantz, an American educational historian, has suggested:To understand teachers, we need to do more than treat schools as little black boxeswith interhangeable parts which take inputs and create outputs and which aremanipulated by those from outside them....Attention to the larger forces of historyprovide a framework of understanding, but without a depiction of the finer detail ofthe participants' subjective realities, we fail to understand the dynamics of history.By following only microhistory we are in danger of reversing the common maximand "failing to see the trees for the forest." In our eagerness to map out the greatmovements of "man," we sometimes forget that historical events often involved realwomen living in their own subjective, but equally real, worlds.60Recent feminist historiography has also influenced the move towards a moresubjective approach to the history of teachers and teaching with its emphasis on thenecessity of viewing women in the past as historical characters in their own right. In her1975 article on the problems of various approaches to women's history Gerder Lernerstated that the true history of women is "the history of their ongoing functioning in that57Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Home and School in 19th Century America: Some Personal-HistoryReports from the United States," History of Education Quarterly 18, 1(Spring 1978): 4-5. Italics in original.58Chad M. Gaffield, "Back to School: Towards a New Agenda for the History of Education,"Acadiensis 15, 2(Spring 1986): 182. Paper was originally presented at the Canadian Historical AssociationMeeting, Montreal, 1985. See also Chad Gaffield, "Coherence and Chaos in Educational Historiography,"Interchange 17, 2(Summer 1986): 112-121.59Chad Gaffield, Language, Schooling and Cultural Conflict: The Origins of the French LanguageControversy in Ontario (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987), 30. Alison Prentice hasexpressed similar concerns in her "Introduction" to a special issue on educational history of Ontario History78, 4(December 1986): 281-284.60Quantz, "The Complex Visions of Female Teachersd," 440-441.25male-defined world, on their own terms."61 Ruth Pierson and Alison Prentice contend thatthe tasks of the feminist historian are "the simple retrieval of women from obscurity" and to"ferret out the ways in which women have participated but which traditional histories haveoverlooked." As such they argue for a history of women that gets at "the actual experienceof women in the past." 62 But, as they also acknowledge, this is not an easy task for thehistorian. This is the case partly because much of the female experience has goneunrecorded. However, even when women in the past have been described and analysed ithas either focussed on what Natalie Zemon Davis has termed "women worthies" 63 or fromthe angle of vision of the men - fathers, husbands, brothers, employers - who have soughtto define, explain and influence women's lives. In this situation "the activities of men andwomen are evaluated asymmetrically, women's activities being ignored, subsumed, ormeasured by the standards of male experience." 64 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg contends thatwe need to "hear women's own words directly, not filtered through a male record. Malevoices have so often drowned out or denied women's words and perceptions that therediscovery of women's unique language must be our first priority - and our first defense,61Gerder Lerner, "Placing Women in History: Definitions and Challenges," Feminist Studies 3, 1-2(Fall 1975): 6. Italics in original. A revised version of this article is published in Liberating Women'sHistory: Theoretical and Critical Essays, ed. Berenice A. Carroll (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1976),357-367. See also Gerder Lerner, "New Approaches to the Study of Women in American History," Journal ofSocial History 3, 1(Fall 1969): 53-62, reprinted in Liberating Women's History, ed. Carroll, 349-356; andGerder Lerner, The Majority Finds Its Past: Placing Women in History  (New York: Oxford University Press,1979).62Ruth Pierson and Alison Prentice, "Feminism and the Writing and Teaching of History," inFeminism: From Pressure to Politics.  eds. Angela R. Miles and Geraldine Finn (Montreal: Black RoseBooks, 1989), 168-169. Also published in Atlantis: A Women's Studies Journal 7, 2(Spring 1982).63Natalie Zemon Davis, ""Women's History" in Transition: The European Case," Feminist Studies3, 3-4(Spring-Summer 1976): 83."Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Man/Woman/Teacher: Gender, Family, and Career in AmericanEducational History," in American Teachers, ed. Warren, 294. See also Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo,"Women, Culture and Society: A Theoretical Overview," in Women. Culture and Society eds. MichelleZimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), 17-42, particularlypages 18-23.26as women scholars, against the undue influence of theories formed in ignorance ofwomen's experiences." 65Pierson and Prentice argue that, although much valuable work has been done inexamining and analyzing the prescriptive literature directed to women and also the variousmedical, legal, educational and religious documents which reflect prevailing attitudestowards women and their roles in the past, "it must always be recognized that women'sactual behaviour did not necessarily coincide with such projected images andpronouncements." In their view the task of historians of women is "to go beyond theprescription of and debate over roles wherever possible, in order to examine women'sactual behaviour and their lives through whatever sources are available." 66 In this way, awoman-centred history, as Eliane Leslau Silverman argues, "makes women the subjects ofa new body of literature. They do not exist in it as the 'other' - subsidiary, auxiliary,objectified - but come to the centre stage of the historical experience." 67 But as VeronicaStrong-Boag and Anita Clair Fellman have pointed out:65Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "Hearing Women's Words: A Feminist Reconstruction of History,"chapter in Disorderly Conduct: Visions of Gender in Victorian America (New York: Alfred A. Knopf,Incorporated, 1985), 29. A strong feminist perspective is adopted in Canadian Women: A History, eds.Alison Prentice, Paula Bourne, Gail Cuthbert Brandt, Beth Light, Wendy Mitchinson and Naomi Black(Toronto: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich Canada Incorporated, 1988). These six feminist writers are committedto "increasing women's autonomy in a world where it has generally been less than men's." Their startingpoint is that it is essential to recognize that "women's situation and experience are distinctive" and as such"should not be judged inferior by male standards or in comparison to men" (14). See also No Easy Road: Women in Canada 1920s to 1960s, eds. Beth Light and Ruth Roach Pierson (Toronto: New Hogtown Press,1990). In the introduction to this documentary history of Canadian women Alison Prentice states in anutshell the sentiments held by many Canadian feminist historians: "The ultimate goal is the creation of aCanadian women's history, one that speaks both to women about the sources of their present lives and toeveryone about history seen from women's point of view" (11). In the same vein a comprehensive account ofthe lives of women in the past from the European perspective can be found in Bonnie S. Anderson and JudithP. Zinsser, A History of Their Own: Women in Europe From Prehistory to the Present, Volumes 1 and 2(New York: Harper and Row, Publishers, 1988).66Pierson and Prentice, "Feminism," 169. See also Linda Gordon, "What's New in Women'sHistory," in Feminist Studies: Critical Studies, ed. Teresa de Lauretis (Bloomington: Indiana UniversityPress, 1986), 20-30.67Eliane Leslau Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History, 1970-1982: An HistoriographicalAnalysis," Canadian Historical Review 63, 4(December 1982): 533. Silverman adopts this perspective in herpowerful "collective autobiography" of the experiences of Western Canadian frontier women entitled The Last27[Much of female experience has gone unrecorded in easily recognizable oraccessible form. Of necessity historians of women have had to tap some previouslyunused, even uncollected, sources. A new sensitivity, often feminist in inspiration,to the frequency with which women's lives and beliefs have been interpreted forthem by men has led to a search for documents in which the historical subjectsthemselves describe their own experiences. 68Margaret Conrad contends that if we are to study what she describes as "women'sculture" then new approaches must be adopted. As she persuasively argues:In taking up the issue of women's culture we are addressing fundamental questionsof sources and methodology. We are shifting the focus of analysis from the worldof men to that of women. If public and published documents are few and macrostudies difficult, then we must investigate personal and private sources with greaterseriousness. If women's participation in politics is peripheral and labour forceactivity is muffled then we turn to local and family histories where women havefigured prominantly both as participants and as chroniclers. When approachinghistory from a woman's angle of vision the question becomes not "Why did womennot protest their deliberate disenfranchisement in the era of responsiblegovernment," but "What characterized the lives of middle-class British NorthAmerican women in the nineteenth century?" Not "Why are women marginalized inthe early trade union movement?" but "What are the essential features of working-class women's lives?" Not "Why have women been relegated to the private spherein industrial societies?" but "How has women's sphere been transformed by theemergence of industrial society?" The answers to questions such as these will allowus to transcend the less ambitious queries and lay the foundation for a genuinehuman history. 69Best West: Women on the Alberta Frontier 1880-1930 (Montreal: Eden Press, 1984). See also AlisonPrentice, "Writing Women into History: The History of Women's Work in Canada," Atlantis: A Women'sStudies Journal 3, 2(Spring 1978): 72-83.68Veronica Strong-Boag and Anita Clair Fellman, eds., Rethinking Canada: The Promise ofWomen's History (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman Limited, 1986), 5. This point has also been made in theintroduction to an excellent new collection of articles on British Columbian women. See Gillian Creese andVeronica Strong-Boag, "Introduction: Taking Gender into Account in British Columbia," in British Columbia Reconsidered: Essays on Women, eds. Creese and Strong-Boag (Vancouver: Press GangPublishers, 1992), 11.69Margaret Conrad, — Sundays Always Make Me Think of Home": Time & Place in CanadianWomen's History," in Not Just Pin Money: Selected Essays on the History of Women's Work in British Columbia, eds. Barbara K. Latham and Roberta J. Pazdro (Victoria, British Columbia: Camosun College,1984), 4-5. Reprinted in Rethinking Canada, eds. Strong-Boag and Fellman, 67-81, particularly pages 69-70.See also Margaret Conrad, Recording Angels: The Private Chronicles of Women from the MaritimeProvinces of Canada. 1759-1950 (Ottawa: Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Women, 1982), revisedand reprinted in The Neglected Majority: Essays in Canadian Women's History Volume 2, eds. AlisonPrentice and Susan Mann Trofimenkoff (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985), 41-60, and MargaretConrad, Toni Laidlaw and Donna Smith, No Place Like Home: Diaries and Letters of Nova Scotia Women 1771-1938 (Halifax, Nova Scotia: Formac Publishing Company Limited, 1988).28A number of historians have taken an alternative approach to questions concerningthe history of teachers and teaching and have employed more qualitative methodologies. Byexploring and analysing first-person accounts of teachers' lives in letters, diaries, personaljournals, memoirs and autobiographies, and also by way of oral testimony, historians havebeen able to examine the social context and the meaning of the information established bythe quantitative studies of teacher's lives. Clifford states that such documents "providesubjective commentary on events, interpret experiences, perserve (sic) facts and expressfeelings according to some personal sense of what is meaningful, and they communicate anintense understanding of what one's own life is and has been." In this way such material"presupposes reflection on an inner world of experience made conscious; it relatesexperienced reality" (italics in original)." Sociologist Arlene Tigar McLaren has arguedthat the "discovery" and "acceptance within the discipline" of these "new" historical sourceshas given women's history a "vitality."71Historians utilizing such sources have revealed the immense variety in women'sexperience in teaching. They have highlighted the fact that teaching was an extremelypersonal affair for those who chose to work in the occupation. A number of studies of bothAmerican and Canadian teachers have challenged many of the taken-for-granted notionsand assumptions concerning the stereotype of the female teacher as the victim of oppressionand have examined the ways in which some women, individually and collectively, usedteaching to further their own aspirations despite the oppressive conditions with which theyhad to contend. Indeed some historians have been able to document that teaching was, infact, a liberating experience for many women. Although published eighteen years ago thecomments of Carroll Smith-Rosenberg are particularly pertinent:70 Clifford, "History as Experience," 186, 192.71 Arlene Tigar McLaren, "Introduction," in Gender and Society: Creating a Canadian Women'sSociology, ed. McLaren (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman Limited, 1988), 14.29The view of woman as victim presupposes a simplistic view of role determinism -the assumption that cultural norms expressed in the cult of domesticity produced asingle modal female personality....Women, as well as men, come in assortedpsychological shapes and sizes....Any study of women's personal papers willreveal that women responded to normative definitions of their role in a variety ofways. Indeed a spectrum of female behavior and personality ranging frombelligerent deviance to uncritical acceptance far more accurately reflects reality thanany hypothesis of one or a few modal personalities. 72Clifford has extracted from a large body of nineteenth and twentieth century writingon education those that deal with the experiences and consciousness of teachers and hasargued, in a number of important papers, that although there are ample examples of theblacker side of teaching there was also "recompense for the arduous and often unfulfillingduties of the teacher." A teaching career, however brief, provided many young men andwomen with "an opportunity for respectable paid employment, greater personal freedom, amodicum of independence and authority, and a larger world view."73 However, she alsoargues that women derived rewards from teaching that were unique to their gender. Manywomen became teachers because of the economic independence it gave them. The teachers'diaries and letters she read make it clear that "women teachers wished to be neither afinancial burden nor otherwise indebted to anyone. They wished to pay their own way, togain initiative and advantage not likely to be experienced in their parents' home or as theunmarried 'auntie' in the homes of their brothers." 74 Their abilty to gain independencethrough self-support was deemed critical to the development of some sense of self in manywomen teachers and also enabled them to contribute to the finanancial well-being of theirfamilies. As Clifford explains:72Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "The New Woman and the New History," Feminist Studies 3, 1-2(Fall1975): 194.73 Clifford, "History as Experience," 195-196. For a very brief discussion of some of these pointsas they relate to Canadian rural teachers, see J. Donald Wilson, ""I Am Here to Help You If You Need Me':British Columbia's Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer, 1928-1934," Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'etudescanadiennes 25, 2(Summer 1990): 97-98.74Geraldine J. Clifford, "Lady Teachers' and Politics in the United States, 1850-1930," in Teachers: The Culture and Politics of Work, eds. Martin Lawn and Gerald Grace (London, England: The Falmer Press,1987), 10.30Teaching wages were low, but the ability to earn even a small wage, especially incash-poor rural and small town America where most of the population still lived,made young women, many girls in their teens, economically important to theirfamilies. The wages of teachers...might make the difference between keeping orlosing the farm in a bad year, between renting or buying a house, between sendinga brother to learn telegraphy in a proprietary school or to study natural philosophyin a college (italics in original). 75Teaching came to be regarded as a desirable transition stage for women between their ownschooling and the beginning of married life. 76 In fact, teaching permitted women to put offtemporarily, or even reject permanently, the act of losing their "precious independence" bymarriage which appeared to many women teachers to signify domestic servitude or socialuselessness. 77 By being able to choose when, and whether to marry, some womenteachers "very likely retained a degree of power, egotism, and individualism within themarital relationship that was inconsistent with conventional expectations of marriage." 78Equally important to women was the fact that teaching enabled them to lead arespectable public life. To quote Clifford once again:To organize a school, deal with the community's leaders, put on ceremonies, andtravel about collecting the wages owed from cash-poor patrons was to take onmajor responsibility in a time when the public world was not yet considered theappropriate place for women. As teachers women exercised control over nonfamilymen and provided for themselves in the process, gaining self-confidence and higherexpectations of what they were owed in economic and professional terms. 7975Ibid., 10-11.76David Mlmendinger, Jr., "Mount Holyoke Students Encounter the Need for Life-Planning, 1837-1850," History of Education Ouarterly 19, 1(Spring 1979): 27-46. Veronica Strong-Boag has argued thatalthough marriage was both desired and expected by most Canadian women in the inter-war period, somewomen were able to postpone this inevitability by taking a teaching job. As she states: "For many youngwomen who wished respectable employment and enjoyed children, teaching offered a prized opportunity forsome independence and challenge." See The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in EnglishCanada. 1919-1939 (Markham, Ontario: Penguin Books, 1988), 63 and passim.77Clifford, "'Lady Teachers'," 12. See also Hoffman, Woman's "True" Profession, xviii.78Clifford, "'Lady Teachers'," 13. See also Polly Welts Kaufman, Women Teachers on the Frontier(New Haven: Yale University Press, 1984), 43.79Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Women's Liberation and Women's Professions: Reconsidering thePast, Present, and Future," in Women and Higher Education in American History: Essays from the MountHolyoke College Sesquicentennial Symposia, eds. John Mack Faragher and Florence Howe (New York:W.W. Norton and Company, 1988): 177.31Clifford further argues that through teaching women forged bonds with other women -students, mothers of students and women with whom they boarded, as well as other femaleteachers. This broadened their perspectives and created sentiments of sisterhood. Networksof support, grounded in the realities of the work of teaching, and shown in their closefriendships, their yearly meetings at institutes and summer courses, their help to each otherin finding schools in terms of job information and references, were the commonplaceexperience of many female teachers." The effect of such a situation was that these"unremarkable and historically unremembered women teachers, most of whom eventuallymarried and settled into relatively conventional domestic lives, were a large, receptive andinfluential constituency for feminism." 81 Hence as Clifford makes patently clear in herwork, teaching provided some women with a measure of autonomy and control over theirlives and allowed them to develop a sense of independence and personal growth. 82Nancy Hoffman has also used autobiographical materials to study the lives offemale teachers who taught in schools on America's East Coast in the nineteenth and earlytwentieth centuries, and her findings concur with much of Clifford's work as regards theliberating effect of teaching on women's lives. She reveals how the woman teacher's owndescriptions of her motivations for taking up teaching as an occupation diverged sharplyfrom the picture of the ideal woman teacher as the natural educator of the young whoregarded teaching as merely a stepping stone to marriage. She found that "neither their love80 Clifford, "History as Experience," 196; "'Lady Teachers'," 14-15. Wilson, on the other hand, inhis work on rural teachers in British Columbia in the 1920's, "found little evidence of the existance of femalenetworks between the teacher and the women in the community" and in fact "friendship with married womenmay have been problematic." See Wilson, ""I Am Here to Help You If You Need Me, — 113.81 Clifford, "'Lady Teachers'," 22. Anne Firor Scott has argued for the importance of female teachertraining institutions in the development of feminist values of self-respect and self-support in the women whoattended them. See "The Ever Widening Circle: The Diffusion of Feminist Values from the Troy FemaleSeminary 1822-1872," History of Education Quarterly 19, 1(Spring 1979): 3-25. Reprinted as a chapter inthe author's Making the Invisible Woman Visible (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1984), 64-88.82See also Geraldine Joncich Clifford, Those Good Gertrudes: Women Teachers in America(forthcoming).32of children nor their attitude toward marriage" dominated the comments of women teachersin their writings. Rather, women entered teaching "because they needed work." Womenhad only a few choices of occupation and, compared with most, teaching offered manyattractions. She concludes that, from the teacher's perspective, "the continuity betweenmothering and teaching was far less significant than a paycheck and the challenge andsatisfaction of work." 83Polly Welts Kaufman has painstakingly retraced the lives of single antebellumEastern pioneer women teachers who were sent to the American West by the NationalBoard of Popular Education from 1846 on two-year teaching contracts. Basing her accounton a diary, letters and a reminiscence of nine teachers, she emphasizes that these womenwere "distinct individuals" and notes the "tremendous diversity among them and thedifferences in their perceptions and conditions." Kaufman draws attention to the variedmotivations that drew these women into teaching: "As teachers the women felt a strong pullto bring education and Protestant evangelical religion to the West, and some possessed asense of adventure as well; as women they were pushed by a strong sense of personaleconomic need. "84 But whatever reasons inspired each individual teacher to travel West theexperience proved to be a liberating one. As Kaufman contends:By using the teaching profession as their route to new lives, they achieved asignificant degree of autonomy. Because teaching was an acceptable profession forwomen, they were able to attain a higher level of self-sufficiency than practicallyany other group of women in their time, almost unnoticed. By acting to take controlof their lives, they exhibited an independence of spirit.8583Hoffman, Woman's "True" Profession, xvii-xviii. See also Jo Anne Preston, "Female Aspirationand Male Ideology: School-Teaching in Nineteenth-Century New England," in Current Issues in Women'sHistory, eds. Arina Angerman, Geerte Binnema, Annemieke Keunen, Vefie Poels and Jacqueline Zirkzee(London, England: Routledge, 1989), 171-182.84 Kaufman, Women Teachers on the Frontier, 13.85Ibid., 48. See also an earlier article by the author, "A Wider Field of Usefulness: Pioneer WomenTeachers in the West, 1848-1854," Journal of the West 21, 2(April 1982): 16-25.33Historians have been able to document not only the liberating impact of teaching on womenteachers but also the ways in which some women, both American and Canadian, have beenable to transcend the structures and roles that were intended to maintain and promote theirinferior position in the workforce in particular, and society in general, by using teaching asa stepping stone to more powerful roles in politics and the professions. Indeed womenwere empowered by the competencies they gained in public school teaching. Theorganisational and managerial skills they acquired in running a nineteenth centuryschoolroom, more often than not entirely alone, inspired women with self confidence and astrong belief in their capabilities that encouraged many to move on and apply their talentselsewhere. Many women began their public lives in the schoolroom and later enlarged theiraudiences in other, more challenging areas. 86Clifford has argued for the importance of teaching in the lives of American womenwho chose to go into the political arena. By examining the role of women teachers inelectoral politics in twentieth century America she has demonstrated the possibilitiesavailable to women teachers to form a political agenda and play a role in matters of publicpolicy and government. She also speculates as to the role that former teachers might haveplayed in the political movement of organized feminism that helped to persuade publicopinion of the necessity of expanding women's rights and opportunities. 87 She argues thatsome women "discovered themselves in the classroom" and inspired by the "injustice andmale arrogance" they saw in teaching they became "the readied soil to catch the seeds offeminism." 88 Why this was so is clearly explained by Clifford:86For a fascinating account of the teaching lives of two women who chose the "scholarly life" andcarved out careers in "institutions of higher learning" see Alison Prentice, "Scholarly Passsion: Two PersonsWho Caught It," Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'education 1, 1(Spring 1989): 7-27.87Clifford, "'Lady Teachers'," passim.88Ibid., 16. Italics in original.34[I]n the process of pursuing the independent life of an unmarried school mistress,often far from home influences, a significant number of women teachers came todifferent conclusions than their mentors intended about woman's God-given natureand her proper place in society. It turns out that her personal odyssey also greatlyenlarged the pool of political activists who would agitate the 'woman question' untilfemale suffrage and the other goals of the 19th-century women's rights movementwere achieved. 89Similar examples of the impact of teaching on the course of women's careers can befound in the literature on the history of Canadian women. Veronica Strong-Boag hasexamined the diaries of nineteenth century Canadian doctor Elizabeth Smith and hasrevealed the important role that teaching played in the development of her career. Elizabethchose teaching because it provided her with economic independence, the means to pay forfurther study and her route into a more challenging profession in medicine. Success withschool teaching and the approval of trustees provided her with the self assurance that wouldbe essential in her medical career." The autobiography of Nellie L. McClung - prairiereformer, suffragette, parliamentarian, author, newspaperwoman and one of Canada'sleading feminists - makes clear the relevance of her teaching experience in the small ruralschools in Manitoba to her later career in more public arenas. 91 Likewise Agnes Macphail,the first woman to be elected to the house of Commons in Canada, also began her career asa teacher. In fact, until age eighteen the height of her ambition was to enter the profession.Her experience in the rural schools of Ontario and Alberta allowed her to fulfil her resolveof "doing some work as a person." 92 It also brought her to the realization that perhaps there89Ibid., 4. See also Sarah King, "Feminists in Teaching: The National Union of Women Teachers,1920-1945," in Teachers, eds. Lawn and Grace, 31-49. Reprinted in Women Who Taught, eds. Prentice andTheobald, 182-201.90Veronica Strong-Boag, ed., 'A Woman With a Purpose': The Diaries of Elizabeth Smith 1872-1884 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1980).91 Nellie L. McClung, Clearing in the West: My Own Story (Toronto: Thomas Allen & SonLimited, 1965) and Nellie L. McClung The Stream Runs Fast: My Own Story  (Toronto: Thomas Allen &Son Limited, 1965).92Margaret Stewart and Doris French, Ask No Quarter: A Biography of Agnes Macphail (Toronto:Longmans, Green and Company, 1959), 30, and passim. See also Doris French, "Agnes Macphail 1890-1954," in The Clear Spirit: Twenty Canadian Women and Their Times,  ed. Mary Quayle Innis (Toronto:35was more to life than country school teaching. Although she was proud and happy to be ateacher, when the time came she was ready for the next step. She was elected as M.P. forSouth-East Grey, Ontario, in 1921, a seat she held until 1940, first for the United Farmersof Ontario and the C.C.F. but mainly as an Independent. As the first woman M.P. inCanada she acted as an inspiration to other women.It is clear from the studies cited above that many women did not conform to thestereotype of the female who entered the occupation as described in much of theprescriptive literature of the nineteenth century. However two important points need to bemade here. First of all, it has been recognized that the powerful images projected by suchstereotypes "possess power in their own right." 93 As cultural constructions stereotypes aregrounded in what is perceived to be reality and as such they influence the self-concept ofthe teachers themselves. Secondly, any evaluation of the work commitment of women mustconsider women's own perceptions of the place of work, and in this case teaching, in theirlives. Following on from this the necessity of acknowledging the importance of familialcommitments is deemed critical to any understanding of the meaning of teaching as work towomen within the wider context of the rest of their lives. Indeed such concerns must beplaced at the centre of any inquiry into the nature of women's participation in theworkforce." A number of studies, drawn mainly from historical research on Americanteachers, have begun to address some of these issues.Richard Quantz has used oral testimony "to discover the cultural definitions ofparticipants in an historical situation." Specifically, he examines the failure of unions toorganize female teachers in Hamilton, Ohio in the 1930's. Four metaphors of theUniversity of Toronto Press for the Canadian Federation of University Women, 1966), 179-197. For a morerecent biography see Terry Crowley, Agnes Macphail and the Politics of Equality (Toronto: James Lorimer &Company, Publishers, 1990).93 Clifford, "Man/Woman/Teacher," 311. The dual themes of "domesticity and familism" emerge inthis analysis of gender and schoolteaching. Clifford examines the gender-laden stereotypes of teachers andattempts to uncover the meaning of teaching as stages in the lives of men as well as women.94Ibid., 329.36subordinate authority figure, the school as family, the natural female avocation and the dualself emerged from the stories of the teachers as they were asked to define the world inwhich they worked and lived. The failure of unions to organize women teachers wasinevitable, Quantz argues, given the commonly accepted reality the women had concerningtheir place in the workforce and in the larger context of society as a whole. He argues thatin using the four metaphors as "guidelines for their lives and their jobs" the womenteachers in Hamilton "may have participated in their own powerlessness and been part ofbroader social movements, while merely acting within their own subjective worlds." 95Kathleen Weiler has suggested that the position of women in teaching was a"contradictory" one. From her work based on first person accounts of the women whotaught in the rural schools of Tulare County, California in the period 1860-1900, shecontends:Rather than viewing teaching as either a means of social control and thereproduction of the ideology of women's subordinate place in an expandeddomestic sphere ar viewing teaching as a path to personal autonomy and resistanceto the dominant ideology, I suggest that it contained both possibilities. 96By examining the individual lives of women teachers Weiler has revealed the manypossibilities that existed for women in teaching within the material constraints andideological constructs of what it meant to be a female teacher in the nineteenth century. Sheargues that women used teaching primarily to meet their own personal needs and desires.Teaching enabled women to find a way of being in the world that not only met societalexpectations of what it meant to be a woman, but also allowed for more subversivechallenges to that defmition.95Quantz, "The Complex Visions of Female Teachers," 457.96Kathleen Weiler, "Rural, Liberty, and Hope: Women Teachers in Country Schools in California1860-1900," paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco,27 March, 1989, ms. 23. Emphasis in original.37Utilizing a life-course approach, Kathleen Underwood has examined the lives of theyoung women who graduated from the Colorado State Normal School in the first decadefollowing its founding in 1890. Her findings are mainly based on an analysis of thecorrespondence between these women and the editor of the "Alumni News" column in thestudent newspaper, the Crucible. Underwood argues that the advantages teaching providedfor young women in terms of economic independence and social status outweighed thedisadvantages of low pay and sexual segregation in the occupation and allowed the youngwoman teacher in the West the chance to "direct the pace of her life." She concludes,however, that teaching did not "revolutionize" women's lives but rather "the decisions theymade frequently were shaped by the social and familial context within which they lived."Thus, she argues, the study of teachers "provides a view of women who tried to integratenew opportunities for education and career within the traditional and more familiar lifepattern of the nineteenth century." 97Courtney Ann Vaughn-Roberson has used the writings and oral statements ofOklahoma women educators who taught between 1900 and 1950 to try and determine theattitudes of these women to their place in the profession and found their statements to besomewhat paradoxical. As she explains:For many of the state's females...the teaching profession provided an opportunityto influence the world outside their immediate family environments. Although theyworked within the confines of the domestic image, they still won victories(sometimes unconsciously) for female social equality. Some remained single tokeep their jobs, nearly all struggled independently and collectively for fair treatmenton the job, and most promoted female leadership in the schools....At the same time,however, most retained their prejudices against women entering the workforce in acapacity other than teaching....Thus the Oklahoma women educators' struggle forindependence and individuality was accompanied by continual adherence to theideology of domesticity. They sought to preserve the female domestic sphere whilealso struggling for equal opportunity for the professional woman educator. 9897Kathleen Underwood, "The Pace of Their Own Lives: Teacher Training and the Life Course ofWestern Women," Pacific Historical Review 55, 4(November 1986): 530.98Courtney Ann Vaughn-Roberson, "Sometimes Independent But Never Equal--Women Teachers,1900-1950: The Oklahoma Example," Pacific Historical Review 53, 1(February 1984): 57-58. See also the38In a similar vein, Margaret K. Nelson contends that whilst teaching "enhanced women'sroles, it did not fundamentally alter them." 99 Her research on nineteenth century Vermontteachers (both male and female) lead her to conclude:Most women did not gain autonomy by teaching. The employment did not freethem from the immeadiate context of a family's authority, nor did it free them fromthe broader context of a patriarchal society....Common schoolteachers joined thelabor force without ever leaving home." 1°°As more studies are published on the nature and meaning of women's participationin the teaching profession, especially those that focus on the personal lives of womenteachers in different localities, as expressed in their diaries, letters, autobiographies and oralstatements, the immense variety in the experience of the female teacher in the past isbecoming increasingly apparent. Indeed, as more studies of teachers are conducted a farmore complex picture is revealed which demonstrates the importance of questioning manyof the assumptions that have been generated about the experience of teachers that rely ongeneralizations rather than specific cases of the actual lived experiences of individuals.In addition to the aforementioned need to study the lives of teachers from a personaland local perspective, it is equally relevant to examine teachers in rural settings. Such afocus is in keeping with the increasing recognition that rural society needs to be examinedin its own right and not just as the passive recipient of changes that were initiated in urbancentres. Rural society was neither "passive" nor "homogenous." Rather, historians havebeen able to document "dynamic historical processes" at work independent of anymetropolitan forces. Indeed, rural life was the main feature of social formation for themajority of the Canadian population until the early decades of the twentieth century and asauthors "Having a Purpose in Life: Western Women Teachers in the Twentieth Century," Great PlainsOuarterly 5, 2(Spring 1985): 107-124.99Margaret K. Nelson, "Vermont Female Schoolteachers in the Nineteenth Century," VermontHistory 49, 1(Winter 1981): 28.'°°Ibid., 27-28.39such must be accorded equal importance with urban society. 101 The study of the teacherswho taught in rural areas is obviously central to such an agenda. During this period theone-room school operated as the predominant educational structure across rural Canada.Rural schools were an integral part of the rural landscape. Small rural schools stoodeverywhere. This thesis offers a look at the dynamics of rural schooling, and indirectlyrural society, in the form of a case study that explores the complexities of teaching as workas determined by the self-perceptions and expectations of teachers in the small rural schoolsof the Okanagan Valley in the Southern Interior of British Columbia in the 1920's.I will now turn to the literature that relates directly to the specific research topic ofthis thesis. The educational history of rural British Columbia has been, until recently, amuch neglected area of academic investigation. This is especially true of the period from1920 to 1930. However, rural society was the experience of a large percentage of BritishColumbians in this decade. In 1921, the majority of the residents of British Columbia livedin rural areas, 102 and 806 (85.2%) of the total number of 946 schools in the province were101 Chad Gaffield and Gerard Bouchard, "Literacy, Schooling, and Family Reproduction in RuralOntario and Quebec," Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'education 1, 2(Fall 1989): 201-202. See also Robert P. Swierenga, "The New Rural History: Defining the Parameters," Great PlainsQuarterly 1, 4(Fall 1981): 211-223 and articles in Canadian Papers in Rural History, Volumes 1-8, ed.Donald H. Akenson (Gananoque, Ontario: Langdale Press, 1978-1992). Exampl