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

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PORTRAITS IN THE FIRST PERSON: AN HISTORICAL ETHNOGRAPHY OF RURAL TEACHERS AND TEACHING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA'S OKANAGAN VALLEY IN THE 1920s by PENELOPE SIAN STEPHENSON B.A. (Hons.), University College of Aberystwyth, 1981 P.G.C.E., The University of Birmingham, 1982 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES Department of Social and Educational Studies We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April 1993 ©Penelope Sian Stephenson In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. (Signature)  Department of 5oc i pii... klb Ehoc A -1- ( 01‘.01L -robkes The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date DE-6 (2/88) ABSTRACT This study is a micro-analysis of a particular educational milieu: a history of the development of rural schools and community in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia from 1874 until 1930, focussing mainly on the period from 1920 to 1930. The teacher, or more specifically the female teacher, is the main subject. A series of oral interviews conducted with surviving rural teachers and pupils from the 1920s comprise the primary data. Personal narratives form the core of the text. Also used were the pertinent printed and manuscript records of the Department of Education, penned by teachers, school inspectors and 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 teaching in a rural school in the 1920s entailed. The physical and pedagogical conditions of that work are described. The role and status of the teacher in the local community are also highlighted. Teaching in an isolated community, especially for the novice, was an arduous assignment and one that demanded the acceptance of considerable physical, professional, mental and emotional hardships. The underlying relationship that existed between the individual teacher and the local world of education in rural districts and how the nature of that 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 key variables determining the extent to which teachers were able successfully to adapt to living and working in a remote rural district. Second, the study examines the social context and meaning of the experience of teaching as work for women. By focussing on how involvement in the profession fitted into the larger structure of the female life course, a more complex, yet clearer, vision emerges of what teaching actually did for women in terms of how they used the profession to accommodate their own personal agendas. For many women their experience as a ii teacher, 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 circumstances many teachers enjoyed their jobs. Motivated by a determination to succeed many regarded their experiences in rural schools as a challenge. They had their sense of self-worth and confidence enhanced by their ability to prove to themselves that they could survive under such adverse conditions. Teaching also afforded women economic independence and relative autonomy and thus expanded their personal and career horizons beyond the traditional domestic roles. Moreover for a substantial number of women teaching was by no means just a prologue to anticipated marriage but rather a life-time commitment. At the same 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 interests with traditional sex role and family expectations. Decisions concerning work were deeply entrenched within, and contingent upon, their changing personal and family circumstances. Home and family obligations, both real and perceived, defined their lives and played a key role in their life planning. Pursuing a "career" as a teacher in the traditional sense was not necessarily always the main priority in women's lives and certainly had little to do with what they viewed as commitment to the job. The study contributes to a fuller understanding of the phenomena of rural schooling and teaching in British Columbia and provides some insights into rural life itself. It also raises important questions as to the meaning of teaching as work to women and the nature of their participation in the workforce. It demonstrates that any evaluation of women's work must be derived from women workers' own perceptions and definitions of work and career. iii CONTENTS ABSTRACT^ II TABLES^ V I FIGURES^ VII VMAPS^  III PHOTOGRAPHS^ IX ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS^ X INTRODUCTION^ 1 CHAPTER ONE:^LITERATURE REVIEW^ 4 CHAPTER TWO:^METHODOLOGY^ 43 CHAPTER THREE: A CONCISE HISTORY OF THE OKANAGAN VALLEY 1811-1930^ 87 CHAPTER FOUR:^THE DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOLS 1874-1930^ 121 CHAPTER FIVE:^TEACHER CAREER TRAJECTORIES 1920-1930^ 158 CHAPTER SIX:^WORKING CONDITIONS: SCHOOL FACILITIES^ 192 CHAPTER SEVEN: WORKING CONDITIONS: TEACHER RESPONSIBILITIES^207 CHAPTER EIGHT:^LIVING AND SOCIAL CONDITIONS^ 254 CHAPTER NINE:^TEACHING As PART OF THE LIFE COURSE^293 i v CONCLUSION^ 337 BIBLIOGRAPHY^ 345 APPENDIX 1: NEWSPAPER ADVERTISEMENT^ 381 APPENDIX 2: INTERVIEW GUIDE^ 382 APPENDIX 3: TAPE RELEASE FORM^ 387 V TABLES TABLE 1: DEVELOPMENT OF SCHOOLS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY 1874-1930^ 125 vi FIGURES FIGURE 1: NUMBER OF ONE-ROOM AND MULTI-ROOM SCHOOLS 1920-1930^ 142 FIGURE 2: ANNUAL TOTALS AND NUMBERS OF ASSISTED, RURAL, RURAL MUNICIPALITY, SUPERIOR AND HIGH SCHOOLS 1920-1930^ 143 FIGURE 3: ANNUAL TOTALS AND ENROLMENTS IN ASSISTED, RURAL, RURAL MUNICIPALITY, SUPERIOR AND HIGH SCHOOLS 1920-1930^ 144 FIGURE 4: ENROLMENT IN ONE-ROOM AND MULTI-ROOM SCHOOLS 1920-1930^ 145 FIGURE 5: NUMBERS OF MALE, MARRIED FEMALE AND SINGLE FEMALE TEACHERS 1920-1930^ 160 FIGURE 6: PERCENTAGES OF MALE, MARRIED FEMALE AND SINGLE FEMALE TEACHERS^ 161 FIGURE 7:^FREQUENCY OF TEACHER CERTIFICATION^ 162 FIGURE 8: RELATIVE FREQUENCY OF TEACHER CERTIFICATION BY SEX^ 163 FLGuRE 9: TEACHER TRANSIENCY 1921-1930^ 175 FIGURE 10: FREQUENCY OF TEACHER TENURE^ 176 FIGURE 11: FREQUENCY OF TEACHER TENURE BY SEX^ 177 vi i MAPS MAP 1: STUDY AREA^ 89 MAP 2: SCHOOLS IN THE OKANAGAN VALLEY 1874-1930^ 124 PHOTOGRAPH CREDITS SUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926. COURTESY ALICE GIBSON^ 248 INTERIOR VIEW OF SUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926. COURTESY AMANDA SINGER^ 248 EXTERIOR AND INTERIOR VIEWS OF ELLISON SCHOOL, 1927. COURTESY BERNARD C. GILLIE^ 249 PUPILS OUTSIDE THEIR SCHOOL AT MEDORA CREEK, 1928. COURTESY ANNE VARDON^ 250 VERA EVANS, TEACHER AT WINFIELD SCHOOL, WITH HER PUPILS, 1929. COURTESY VERA TOWGOOD NEE EVANS^ 250 TEACHERAGE AT MABEL LAKE SCHOOL, 1929. COURTESY LUCY MCCORMICK^ 251 PUPILS AT MABEL LAKE PLAYING IN SCHOOL GROUNDS. COURTESY LUCY MCCORMICK^ 251 LUCY HARGREAVES, TEACHER,WITH PUPILS AT GLENROSA SCHOOL, 1923. COURTESY KELOWNA MUSEUM, #3135^ 252 FANCY DRESS PARTY AT SUGAR LAKE SCHOOL, 1926. COURTESY ALICE LAVIOLLETTE^ 252 PUPILS OUTSIDE KEDLESTON SCHOOL, 1920. COURTESY ILA EMBREE^ 253 THE CONSTRUCTION OF SPRINGBEND SCHOOL, 1924. COURTESY MILLIE BONNEY^ 253 ix ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I would like to thank Don Wilson and Jean Barman for their advice and encouragement. Jean's good humour lightened many dark moments over the last three years. I also wish to thank Nancy Sheehan, John Calam and Charles Brauner for their careful reading of the thesis. Special thanks and appreciation are extended to the women and men who so willingly talked to me about their rural school experiences. Without their help this study would never have materialised. I particularly wish to thank Lucy McCormick and Bernard C. Gillie for reading the penultimate manuscript of the thesis and for their kind words about its content. Finally, I owe more than I can possibly express to Richard. His endless patience with an extremely distracted, and often ill-tempered wife, has been heroic. It is to him that I dedicate this thesis. Thank-you Richard. x INTRODUCTION Two specific areas of inquiry frame the text of this study. First and foremost the aim is to present an empathetic appreciation of the professional and social experiences of the teachers who lived and worked in rural areas. The central question posed is a simple one: 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 did they decide to teach in small schools in remote areas? How long did they stay in any one rural community? What prompted them to move on? What were the physical and pedagogical conditions of the schools in which they worked? How well prepared were they to teach in these out-of-the-way schools? Did they experience any difficulties in "fitting into" the community? Were they able to make friends easily or did such socialising depend on factors such as the size or economic base of the community, or their own background and upbringing? To what extent were they considered as "outsiders" and/or the representatives of Victoria? How did they perceive their status as members of the community in general, and as teachers in particular? To what extent was their experience in such remote schools a positive one? To what extent did they find such challenging, and often 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 and self-development, or did the burden of their work outweigh this potential? How was their experience as a rural school teacher affected by their gender? Did their aspirations and expectations 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 long term impact on their life courses as a whole? Secondly, albeit indirectly, the purpose is to uncover the influence of the community on the character and the operation of the schools as well as the reciprocal 1 2influence of the schools on the community. In this respect the following questions are addressed: What did the community perceive the function of education to be? What were the attitudes and responses of the parents to schooling? Was pupil attendance at school dependent upon the "rhythm of work" in the local community? What was the nature of the relationship between the teacher and the pupils both in the classroom and in the larger context of the local community? To what extent were the particular characteristics of the social and learning environment in these rural schools determined by the community in which they were located? What was the role and place of the teacher in the local community? What was the nature of the relationship between the teachers and the parents and/or the school trustees? The study is divided into nine chapters. Chapters One to Four essentially provide the contextual background. Chapter One reviews the literature on the history of women teachers and teaching in North America and thus locates the research within the relevant historiographical tradition. Chapter Two describes the methodological approach adopted as well as the specific research procedures that were followed in the sample selection, data collection, analysis and representation. Chapters Three and Four provide an overview of the local physical and historical (economic and social) settings from which the participants' recollections emerged. Chapter Three considers the geography, climate and topography of the Okanagan Valley. It also includes a general outline history of the area in terms of the settlement patterns, economic activity, and transportation and communication networks that evolved in the period up to 1930. Chapter Four focuses on educational developments in the study area over the same period. The original research is presented in Chapters Five to Nine. The aim of these chapters is to convey in intimate detail a portraiture of the multiple realities 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 their career trajectories between 1920 and 1930. Chapters Six and Seven appraise the physical and pedagogical working conditions that teachers confronted on a daily basis in their rural 3classrooms. Chapter Eight explores beyond the strictly professional responsibilities and activities of the rural teacher to consider the nature of their living and social circumstances in remote communities. Chapter Nine approaches the rural teaching experience from a longer historical perspective by integrating the participants' experiences in the 1920s within the wider context of their life courses as a whole. The Conclusion then reviews the findings of the research and offers suggestions as to the overall significance of the study. 4CHAPTER ONE LITERATURE REVIEW The original research in this thesis deals with the lives of those who taught in one type of educational institution, in a specified location and within a given decade, namely the rural schools of the Okanagan Valley in the 1920's. However, this story cannot be fully understood without an appreciation of the wider historiographical tradition from which it has emerged. This literature review addresses the principal themes and questions that have emerged in recent historical research on teachers and teaching in the public school systems of North America. The teacher, or more specifically the female teacher, is the primary focus of the discussion. Early studies in the history of teachers and teaching in North America were characterized by a narrowly institutional approach that focussed mainly on the struggles involved 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 Profession in a Democracy, published over fifty years ago, is a classic example of this approach. 1 Extremely comprehensive, it includes discussions of professional preparation, teacher certification and teachers' working conditions. It is an optimistic account of educational development that was directed towards a specific audience. Although Elsbree was resentful of the low regard for teachers that had existed in the past, the future for him held hope and as such the intention of the book was inspirational: to encourage teachers, teacher educators and their students in their quest for professional improvement. Canadian studies that l(New York: American Book Company, 1939). 5address the same theme of teacher professionalism include those of J.G. Althouse, Charles E. Phillips and Andre Labarrere-Paule. 2 By the early 1970's this celebratory approach had come under attack. Revisionist historians argued for the need to incorporate the social and political context into their discussions of educational developments and to adopt a more critical perspective. As far as teachers were concerned the call was to explore their history in the context of the local communities and school systems in which they lived and worked. One American study of pre-Civil War Massachusetts teachers revealed startling conclusions about the numerical preponderancy of females in the teaching force and the effect that this might have had on American society. 3 It became increasing clear that there was a need to consider the history of teachers and teaching in terms of gender. 4 2 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 of Toronto, 1929; Charles E. Phillips, The Development of Education in Canada (Toronto: W.J. Gage and Company 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 shaping women's lives because of the large number of women who taught at some point in their lives. From their findings they conclude that "approximately one out of five white women in pre-Civil War Massachusetts was a 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 the history of education." See "Education in the New Women's History," Educational Studies 17, 1(Spring 1986): 1. It is generally acknowledged now, however, that gender must be central to any discussion of the history of teachers and teaching. David B. Tyack and Myra H. Strober argue the gender is "one of the fundamental 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 Policy and 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 regards gender as "that roar on the other side of silence." See "Feminist Scholarship and Women's Studies," Harvard Educational Review 54, 4(November 1986): 511. The all-encompassing importance of gender in historical research is made clear in Ruth Roach Pierson's definition: "When I speak of gender as a fundamental category of 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 and the 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 marxism were influential in determining the direction that revisionist historical work on teachers would take. As they point out: Feminism taught us to explore the history of teachers from the point of view of the women who taught school and to look for the structures that subordinated and exploited women in education. From Marxism, we learned to look for the material conditions of teachers' lives: their class backgrounds and economic status, the ways in 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 gradual increase in the numbers and proportions of women teaching in most state school systems, along with their low status and pay within those systems. Most of us gradually moved to broader concerns. Our goal was, increasingly, to understand the history of all kinds of women teachers in whatever social and political settings they were to be found. This meant comparing women teachers' lives and work with those of the men who taught in the past. It also meant looking at the history of women teachers in two broad contexts: the history of women more generally, and of the changing family and community structures in which their lives were embedded; and the history of work, and of the shifting economic and social structures that encompassed, in particular, women's work in educational institutions. What we were increasingly engaged in, whether we were fully conscious of it or not, was the study of gender in the history of a profession which had been implicated in the articulation and perpetuation of gender inequality in Western society. 5 As noted above, the "feminization" of teaching became one of the major questions in the research on the history of teachers and teaching in Canada and the United States. Alison Prentice identified the importance of this topic in a pathbreaking article which drew attention to the image and reality of gender as a determining variable in the historical process. 6 5 Alison Prentice and Marjorie R. Theobald, "The Historiography of Women Teachers: A Retrospect," 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 is based, 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. The two reviews differ, however, in that the Danylewycz and Prentice article focusses mainly on the North American context, whereas Prentice and Theobald have widened their scope to deal in more detail with the literature 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 in Canadian Women's History, eds. Susan Mann Trofimenkoff and Alison Prentice (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1977), 49-65. Prentice summarizes well how and why there was a shift toward female teachers during the mid nineteenth century. 7Various suggestions have been put forward to explain how and why the occupation of teaching became feminized. One approach has focussed on ideology. Studies dealing with the ideology which promoted the employment of women teachers reveal the rhetoric used for advocating the hiring of females. 7 Teaching was seen as "woman's true profession." Women's maternal and nurturing qualities, natural affinity for young children and their superior powers of sympathy and communication made them ideal teachers. The school was seen merely as an extension of the family with the parent in the home being replaced by the teacher in the school. However, this did not mean that women should be teachers instead of being mothers. Rather, it was argued that teaching prepared women to be better mothers and that it was but a step from the parental home to the schoolhouse and then back again to the home as mother and wife. As Myra H. Strober and David Tyack explain: "The conviction that teaching was appropriate to woman's sphere and compatible with marriage was one of the powerful preconditions that led to the increasing employment of women as teachers." 8 7Thomas Woody, A History of Women's Education in the United States Volumes I and 2 (New York: 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: The Teaching Profession in America, 1830-1860," American Studies 13, 2(Fall 1972): 19-32; Kathryn Kish Sklar, Catherine Beecher: A Study in American Domesticity (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1973); Joan N. 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 of Teaching (New York: The Feminist Press, 1981). 8Myra H. Strober and David Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?: A Report on Research on Schools," Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 5, 3(Spring 1980): 497. For an account of the feminization of teaching in which women are portrayed as the unwitting participants in the maintenance 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: The Feminization of American Education (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1978) provides an extremely derogatory and condemnatory view of the effect of women's growing dominance of the teaching profession. See also Deborah Fitts, "Una and the Lion: The Feminization of District School Teaching and Its Effects on the Roles of Students and Teachers in Nineteenth-Century Massachusetts," in Regulated Children/Liberated Children: Education in Psychohistorical Perspective, ed. Barbara Finkelstein (New York: Psychohistory Press, 1979), 140-157, for an interesting discussion of the ideology surrounding the feminization of teaching influenced by psychoanalytical thought. 8While ideology no doubt played a role in the shift to teaching being regarded as women's work, the issue cannot totally be explained in this way. In fact much of the rhetoric involved in the ideological arguments resemble little more than a rationalization for more objective economic and organizational changes that were occuring at the same time as teaching was being feminized. Janet Guildford has argued in her work on the feminization of the teaching force in Nova Scotia that "ideology and economics...were in fact intimately related and mutually reinforcing." 9 A number of historians have attempted to explore these changes by examining the relationship between the growth of "formalized" school systems, increases in the percentages of women teachers and decreases in female/male salary ratios. 10 Strober and Lanford argue that "where the percentage of women teachers was high, schooling was likely 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 teaching salary was likely to be relatively low." 11 9Janet 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, "The Female/Male Salary Differential in Public Schools: Some Lessons From San Francisco, 1879," Economic Inquiry 17, 2(April 1979): 218-236; Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?"; Tyack and. Strober, "Jobs and Gender," 131-152; Myra H. Strober and Audri Gordon Lanford, "The Feminization of Public 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 attendance and increased percentages of women teachers see John G. Richardson and Brenda Wooden Hatcher, "The Feminization 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 see Susan B. Carter, "Occupational Segregation, Teachers' Wages, and American Economic Growth," Journal of Economic History 46, 2(June 1986): 373-383. 11 Strober and Lanford,"The Feminization of Public School Teaching," 215. The authors are critical of studies that stress causal connections between urbanization and the rising percentages of women in teaching. 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, which tended to occur in urban settings. Examples of studies that stress the importance of urbanization include Michael Katz, The Irony of Early School Reform: Educational Innovation in Mid-Nineteenth Century Massachusetts (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1968); Michael B. Katz, "The Emergence 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 the subject of much of the research. 12 Focusing largely on the nineteenth century, studies of school systems have shown that schools in the large cities were first formalized. In these urban centres "public school teaching not only became feminized" but also "stratified by sex." 13 In other words, in urban schools women became numerically superior but in terms of the positions they occupied in the profession and the salaries they received they were inferior. The concept of a segmented labour market is central to these arguments. Women were segregated into lower paying positions in the bottom rungs of the occupation, mainly as teachers of younger pupils, whereas men were employed in the well-paid and more administrative 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 by unleashing both demand- and supply-side pressures. On the demand side, the graded school brought with it a specific demand for women teachers in part because women were cheaper to hire than men and in part because of the stereotypes concerning women's superiority in dealing with children and women's docility in taking orders. On the supply side, longer school terms and increased credentialing requirements meant the opportunity cost of staying in teaching was raised for men. Because they could neither continue to treat teaching as supplementary employment nor afford to be full-time teachers (the average salary in teaching, a public occupation funded by tight-fisted tax payers, was inadequate for supporting a family), most men dropped out. Men left teaching because they had more lucrative alternative occupations open to them. Women stayed in teaching, at lower wages than those paid to men, because they did not have other options." History of American Urban Education (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 1974); David Tyack, "Bureaucracy and the Common School: The Example of Portland, Oregan, 1851-1913," American Quarterly 19, 3(Fall 1967): 475-498. 12See Strober and Tyack, "Why Do Women Teach and Men Manage?"; Tyack and Strober, "Jobs and 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 detailed discussion of the "push" and "pull" factors that led women into teaching in the United States see Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "'Daughters into Teachers': Educational and Demographic Influences on the Transformation of Teaching into 'Women's Work' in America," History of Education Review 12, 1(1983): 15-28, reprinted in Prentice and Theobald, eds. Women Who Taught, 115-135. 10 John 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 beyond marriage resulted in distinctive male and female career paths in education." In short, he continues "most women simply did not remain in the teaching force long enough to compete for administrative posts. Sexist assumptions about their true careers blocked the movement of women into the emerging education hierarchy." 15 In contrast to the urban model outlined above some historians have noted that rural areas 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 discrepancy between male and female salaries and tended to employ more equal numbers of men and women, although women tended to be employed in the summer term (when the older boys and male teachers were engaged in agricultural work) and men in the winter time. The way in 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 any formal on-site supervisors." 16 However, this situation was not to last. American studies have shown that as state regulation and standardization increased, feminization became the norm in rural as well as urban areas. 17 Urban models of schooling transferred to rural environments were thus seen to be appropriate in accounting for the feminization of teaching. However, it became clear from work done on Canadian teachers that this explanation was too simple a generalization and that 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 Education 4, 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. 11 From an early appreciation of the fact that what we needed to document was not only the shift in public schools from a largely male to a predominantly female teaching force but also women's prior educational work in domestic surroundings, there gradually emerged a perception of the importance of regional differences in understanding both of these phenomena. 18 In their study of the evolution of the sexual division of labour in nine counties in rural Ontario and Quebec Danylewycz, Light and Prentice propose two new models to add to the already existing early urban and late rural patterns of feminization. First of all, they suggest a modified "early" rural model that was "characteristic of troubled agricultural regions and the resource frontier." Poverty and the presence of resource industries such as lumbering and fishing provided alternative employment to teaching for young men. They therefore suggest that male unavailability was in part responsible for the feminization of teaching in certain regions of rural Quebec and Eastern Ontario where women were the predominant sex from the very beginning of public school systems. Secondly, they propose an alternative model for the sexual division of labour that developed in Quebec that takes into account the importance of the tradition of women in teaching prior to the emergence of government supported schools - a tradition that can be traced back to the nuns in education since the founding of New France. 19 In another article Danylewycz and Prentice have revealed that Montreal, Quebec's largest metropolitan centre, did not conform to the classic North American pattern of a public school system governed by a male hierarchy in which women proliferated in the teaching posts in the lower ranks. Montreal developed a dual educational system in which the French Catholic system was divided along gender lines which favoured boys' schools run by male teachers. As such, the entire French Catholic 18Danylewycz and Prentice, "Revising the History of Teachers," 137. Italics in original. Guildford also 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 of Labour in Teaching: A Nineteenth-Century Ontario and Quebec Case Study," Histoire sociale/Social History 16, 31(Spring 1983): 81-109. 12 system was dominated by males until the end of the nineteenth century. 20 The necessity of examining regional differences and local settings rather than making sweeping generalizations concerning the nature and extent of the feminization of teaching in North America is made abundantly clear by these studies. 21 As more research is conducted into the topic of the feminization of teaching it is becoming increasingly obvious that it is a very complex phenomenon. Jean Barman looks at feminization and teacher (both male and female) retention rates in schools in late nineteenth century British Columbia. 22 She argues that feminization may have been overemphasized as an explanatory device and that "in British Columbia, feminization of itself did not necessarily alter the character of teaching as an occupation, both female and male retention rates gradually increasing within the very city schools where women first assumed numerical preponderance." 23 She found that there were markedly differing patterns of retention between city and non-city schools and that these differences were firmly in place prior to and, as she speculates, very possibly largely unrelated to the parallel process of feminization. She offers the suggestion that the more satisfactory "material 20Marta Danylewycz and Alison Prentice, "Teachers, Gender, and Bureaucratizing School Systems in Nineteenth Century Montreal and Toronto," History of Education Quarterly 24, 1(Spring 1984): 75-100. A further paper by Danylewycz and Prentice, which includes details from the two articles cited above, is useful in this context. See "Lessons From the Past: The Experience of Women Teachers in Quebec and Ontario", in World Yearbook of Education 1984: Women and Education, eds. Sandra Acker, Jacquetta Megarry, Stanley Nisbet and Eric Hoyle (London, England: Kogan Page, Limited, 1984), 163-172. 21 Chad Gaffield recently emphasised the importance of studying "regions" as compared to "provinces and nations." He argued that focus exclusively on the latter "can rarely do justice to the complexity and variety of human thought and behaviour....[C]onclusions drawn at such high levels of aggregation either do not 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 scholarly attention." 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 that regionalism had been, and continued to be, the predominant feature of Canadian life and so urged historians to study smaller communities and to examine rural patterns. See "'Limited Identities' in Canada," Canadian Historical Review 50, l(March 1969):1-10. 22Jean Barman, "Birds of Passage or Early Professionals? Teachers in Late Nineteenth-Century British Columbia," Historical Studies in Education/Revue d'histoire de l'education 2, l(Spring 1990): 17-36. 23 Ibid., 18 13 conditions" of city as compared with non-city schools may have been a more important factor in teacher retention. Barman contends: When research is limited to a single sex, as have been recent analyses of teacher feminization, the impression is left, whether or not it be deliberate, that all human behaviour somehow derives from sex and gender. To understand the role of women in the past with all its inherent complexity, a broader context is essentia1. 24 Work in Canada and elswhere has also begun to look beyond the basic question of gender to examine the social structure of the teaching profession and how that may have changed over time. By exploring the average age of teachers, their household and marital status, ethnicity, and class origins historians have been able to build up a more precise picture 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 of different backgrounds who chose to join the occupation. Researchers have begun to investigate the backgrounds of teachers through the use of records of local school boards and provincial departments of education and manuscript census data. In their study of rural teachers in nineteenth century Ontario and Quebec in the period from 1851 to 1881, Danylewycz, Light and Prentice discovered that "women (and to some extent men) living at home with their parents were replacing both male household heads 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 years of age grew from 12.8 to 38.1 percent of all teachers." 25 Their findings for the city of Toronto reveal that "the bureaucratizing public school system in this city not only favoured the unmarried and youthful among its women teachers, it also showed a clear preference for hiring large numbers of such women to staff its growing schools. 26 Shifts in the age 24Ibid., 23. 25Danylewycz, Light and Prentice, "The Evolution of the Sexual Division of Labour," 101. 26Danylewycz and Prentice, "Teachers, Gender and Bureaucratizing School Systems, " 84. 14 structure and the marital and household status of teachers therefore paralleled the change in elementary 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 male teachers of Ontario, Danylewycz and Prentice proposed a possible correlation between ethnicity and the sexual division of labour in teaching. They found that in certain areas of rural Ontario male teachers continued to be numerically dominant for several decades longer in comparison to rural Quebec and certain Eastern Ontario counties. They argue that this resistance to the trend towards predominantly female teaching forces may have been linked to the existence of a pool of cash-hungry immigrant men who, because of fewer opportunities or skills for employment in other fields, were willing and able to teach when their Ontario-born counterparts were not. 27 Information gleaned from the manuscript censuses for Montreal and Toronto concerning the occupations of parents with whom city teachers lived enabled them to identify the class origins of these teachers and to speculate on their significance. In Montreal about half of the female teachers who lived in their father's households were the daughters of skilled and unskilled workers. Toronto revealed a slightly smaller proportion and in both cities relatively few female teachers were from the entrepreneurial and professional classes. They also point to the high proportion of women teachers in both cities who were living with a widowed relative or parent and suggest that they were the major breadwinner in the household. 28 Therefore, if the reason for employing women as teachers was because they were a cheap means of labour necessary to fill the growing needs of expanding school systems, then it was equally true that "women increasingly welcomed (and were in need of) paid employment outside of the home." As 27Danylewycz, 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. 15 such "for many Montreal and Toronto schoolmistresses, something more than a response to "women's high calling" was involved in the decision to teach school."29 Thus the details revealed in these studies of teachers' backgrounds both support and refine the findings of earlier studies on the economic and organizational explanations for the feminization of teaching in the nineteenth century.30 Despite this wealth of information on who taught in schools, and how and why this changed from a mainly male to a predominantly female occupation in the nineteenth century, little of the research has approached the topic from the perspective of the teacher as worker. 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 have tended to focus on the professionalism aspect of teachers work rather than on the actual tasks they performed. 31 In the same way teachers as workers have not been placed at the centre of enquiry in either labour or women's histories. The question of occupational categories when dealing with teachers' history appears to have been problematic because: [Teachers] have not fitted very well into the classic model of workers perceived to be men doing manual, as opposed to intellectual or managerial, work. Teachers, on the contrary, have been seen and portrayed as "brain workers," and as actually or ideally 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 in fact women (italics in original). 32 29Danylewycz and Prentice, "Revising the History of Teachers," 139. "For an interesting account of the social composition of American teachers at five points in history, 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 Profession at Work, ed. Donald Warren (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989), 9-48. 31For example, Althouse, The Ontario Teacher and Labarrere-Paule, Les instituteurs laiques au canada francais. 32Marta Danylewycz and Alison Prentice, "Teachers' Work: Changing Patterns and Perceptions in the Emerging School Systems of Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Central Canada," Labour/Le Travail 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. 16 The 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 working conditions, to develop teacher history and to inform all these with a gender conscious perspective has been the focus of recent work by Michael W. Apple and others on American and British teachers in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They argue 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 process is linked with gender. 33 As Apple contends: "Historically women's jobs have been much more apt to be "proletarianized" than men's." He goes on to argue that "once a set of positions becomes "women's work," it is subject to greater pressure for rationalization. Administrative control of teaching, curricula, and so on increases. The job itself becomes different." 34 Drawing on the work of Apple and others Danylewycz and Prentice have incisively explored the actual tasks teachers performed in their work in the schoolrooms of nineteenth and early twentieth century Ontario and Quebec. 35 In doing so they attempt to determine 33Michael W. Apple, "Teaching and "Women's Work": A Comparative Historical and Ideological Analysis," Teachers College Record 86, 3(Spring 1985): 455-473. This article is essentially reproduced in the author'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 (New York: The Falmer Press, 1983), 53-67; Barry H. Bergen, "Only a Schoolmaster: Gender, Class, and the Effort 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 clerical labour 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 Canadian Office," 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 Household to School House: The Emergence of the Teacher as Servant of the State " Material History Bulletin 20(1983): 19-29. 17 how the nature of that work, and the working conditions under which those tasks were carried out, changed during a period when state school systems were in the process of being established and the occupation was becoming increasingly feminized. The central theme 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 a critical restructuring of the form and content of the tasks of teachers themselves in subtle but important ways. 36 Danylewycz and Prentice also draw attention to the perceptions held by teachers about their social and ecomomic position in the workforce, and about what work was compatible with that position. The restructuring of the work of the teacher in the school did not improve their lot and the evidence of growing workloads encouraged school teachers to organize protective associations. However, as Danylewycz and Prentice point out, women teachers' associations often pursued contradictory policies as they tried to improve their members' conditions of work and define their position in the labour force. 37 They draw again on the work of Apple concerning his ideas on the contradictory class location of teachers. He argues that twentieth century teachers are "located simultaneously in two classes" in that "they share the interests of both the petty bourgeousie and the working class."38 Canadian teachers, as Danylewycz and Prentice note, were like their American counterparts in that they formed their associations to fight for better wages and working conditions but, unlike the most radical Americans, they found it difficult to see themselves 36For a discussion of the restructuring of the work of teachers in relation to the changing role of the school in early twentieth century British Columbia, see Timothy A. Dunn, "The Rise of Mass Public Schooling in British Columbia, 1900-1929," in Schooling and Society in Twentieth Century British Columbia, 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. 18 as "workers" or to form alliances with trade unions and other working class organizations that had similar problems. 39 There was a definite contradiction between the actual social and economic position of teachers in the workforce and their perceptions of what that position was. Classroom teachers were poorly paid, experienced difficult and demanding working conditions and had little control over the workplace. In this way they were no different from industrial workers. However, teachers, for the most part, continued to identify themselves as mental rather than manual workers despite the fact that most of them were not accepted by their communities as fully professional. Teachers therefore occupied a very contradictory position in the labour force. "It was," Danylewycz and Prentice continue, "the uncertainty of their position in the labour force that helps to explain how women teachers could flirt with the mystique of professionalism while at the same time their 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 that they were working in school systems that were, for the most part, managed by, and for men.41 This fact draws attention to the literature on the history of teachers and teaching that approaches the subject from the perspective of those who trained, organized and controlled the schools and school systems in which those teachers worked, and which underlines the importance of examining the interplay between the lives of those who taught and those who 39Studies of women teachers' associational work in Canada include: Wendy E. Bryans, "Virtuous Women at Half the Price: The Feminization of the Teaching Force and Early Women Teacher Organizations in Ontario," (M.A. thesis, University of Toronto, 1974); Alison Prentice, "Themes in the Early History of the Women Teachers' Association of Toronto, 1892-1914," in Women's Paid and Unpaid Work: Historical and Contempory Perspectives, ed. Paula Bourne (Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1985), 97-121. See also Harry 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 development of the early stages of teachers' protective associations in Ontario. An essential American source on the topic is Wayne J. Urban, Why Teachers Organized (Detroit: Wayne State Univerity Press, 1982). Urban focuses on women teachers' associations in Chicago, New York and Atlanta. See also Urban, "New Directions in the Historical 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. 19 managed. Recent work on the history of normal schools and teacher training 42 and also on the 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 in North America that, to a large extent, historians have concentrated on ideological concerns as expressed in the prescriptive literature and the rhetoric of educational promoters, have employed broadly quantitative methodologies and/or have provided accounts of teachers' lives in urban public school systems. These approaches have generated important information that has improved our knowledge of the composition of the teaching force in the nineteenth century and raised searching questions about how and why the structure and organization of teaching as an occupation changed over time. However, these studies also tend to portray male and female teachers in stereotypical roles and leave one with an interpretation of teaching as a "hierarchically structured and gendered school system" which entailed male control of women's work, the reproduction of subordinate roles for female teachers, and a situation in which "women teachers were seen both as its victims and unwitting perpetuators. "44 The essence of this vision of teaching lies in the increasing bureaucratization of school systems at various levels which led to ever tightening controls over the occupation 42John Calam, "Teaching the Teachers: Establishment and Early Years of the B.C. Provincial Normal Schools," BC Studies 61(Spring 1984): 30-63; Alison Prentice, "Like Friendly Atoms in Chemistry"?: 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 Sadly Teach: Teacher Education and Professionalization in American Culture (Madison, Wisconsin: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1989), and Herbst, "Nineteenth-Century Normal Schools in the United States: A Fresh Look," History of Education 9, 3(September 1980): 219-227. 43Philip Corrigan and Bruce Curtis, "Education, Inspection and State Formation: A Preliminary Statement," 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 in the Field": School Inspectors, Superintendents, and the Changing Character of School Leadership in British Columbia," 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. 20 in 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 district and provincial inspectors and superintendents. The purpose of this organization and control is made clear by Strober and Tyack: "Given this purpose of tight control, women were ideal employees. With few alternative occupations and accustomed to patriarchal authority, they mostly did what their male superiors ordered. Difference of gender provided an important form of social control." 45 As Danylewycz and Prentice explain: "Indeed, educational administrators developed bureaucratic modes of organization chiefly with male aspirations for power and social mobility in mind."46 Hoffman argues that the structure of the school "reinforced the notion that women were capable of teaching the ABC's and the virtues of cleanliness, obedience, and respect, while men taught about ideas, and organized the profession." 47 Melder contends that women teachers were central to the purposes of educational 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 to find that they occupied the lowest rung of a long bureaucratic ladder with virtually no hope for advancement into positions of power. A tiny minority of women became principals of secondary schools, system superintendents, or officers of teachers' organizations, but men monopolized administrative and policy making positions. One of the great advantages seen by the educators in employing them was the very docility and lack of worldly ambition which appeared to give women an advantage in teaching young children. Woman's natural submissiveness would prevent her from becoming a threat to the system of education, the policy-making and power structure erected by men. In attracting women into teaching the reformers not only obtained a competent labor force that they could not secure otherwise, 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. 21 At the same time, as Strober and Best argue, men's higher status in teaching made it possible to "more securely link the schools to the (male) power bases in the surrounding community [because] men not only had obvious overt status characteristics which served to raise the status of schools in local eyes, but also, through all-male clubs and sports, had far easier access than women to key members of the areas' business and political power structures." 49 Therefore, the bureaucratization of school systems both promoted and institutionalized unequal relations between the sexes and resulted in a situation in which women's position was in general inferior to that of men's. Prentice has drawn attention to the wider repercussions of such a situation: To the extent that this pattern persisted and spread, and to the extent that school children absorbed messages from the organization of the institutions in which they were educated, Canadian children were exposed to a powerful image of woman's inferior position in society. One must not discount, moreover, the impact on the women themselves. The experience of public school teaching, the experience of its discipline and of its hierarchical organization, became the experience of large numbers of Canadian women by the end of the nineteenth century 50 A number of problems arise from these studies that portray men and women in stereotypical roles in school systems. Women appear as all too accepting of their inferior position in the teaching force. But to what extent did women enter the teaching profession because they regarded themselves as the ideal and natural educators of the young? How far were they controlled and dominated by their male employers? How did women teachers themselves perceive their position and experience as teachers in the workforce? Quantitative studies provide a macro-portrait of the occupation of teaching in terms of age, sex, marital and household status, class, ethnicity and so on, and offer explanations for the increase in female involvement as teachers in public educational systems in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. However, they reveal little about individual experience, or the personal meaning of teaching as work, or allow us to discern how 49Strober and Best, "The Female/Male Salary Differential," 223. 50Prentice, "The Feminization of Teaching," 20. 22 teachers themselves made sense of their lives both in the classroom and in the communities in which they lived and worked. As well, studies focussing on ideology tend to equate rhetoric with actual experience, what was intended with what actually happened. Even when teachers have been the centre of attention, as is the case with much of the literature discussed so far, the story has been more in terms of what was done to them, or thought of and about them, by others, rather than in terms of their own experience as teachers. 51 In other words: [H]istorians have tended to treat teachers as nonpersons. Female teachers especially have been portrayed as objects rather than subjects, as either the unknowing tools of the social elite or as the exploited minority whose labor is bought cheaply. Rarely have they been treated as subjects in control of their own activities. Seldom has the world of schooling been presented through their eyes. 52 Therefore these approaches only go part of the way towards a full understanding of the complex picture of the history of teachers and teaching. American educational historian Geraldine Joncich Clifford has highlighted some of the problems associated with quantitative approaches to the history of teachers. She draws attention to "their inability to reveal how teachers actually perceived and reacted to their professional status, the demands of their tasks, to their students and patrons, and to pedagogical-reform 'movements' that are presumed to have existed." To continue her argument 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 statistical findings about age of marriage, illigitimacy rate, household size, infant mortality, number 51As 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 in Canadian 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 in the 1930s: An Oral History," History of Education Quarterly 25, 4(Winter 1985): 439. 23 of wage-earning members, together will produce the experience of the family." 53 As far as she is concerned: "The meanings people attatch to their experiences; their sense of what drives or limits their actions; the victories and defeats of their lives; what build them up and what tears or wears them down; the struggle within as well as the struggle without - these are also the data of history."54 In the light of such concerns the efficacy of studying the subjective side of educational history in general, and the history of teachers in particular, has, and is, being increasingly advocated. The central questions that some historians began to ask are simple, illustrated by Barbara J. Finkelstein in the preface to her bibliography of educational reminiscences: "What...was the character of pedagogy as understood by participants?" 55 Clifford has also called for "a people-centred institutional history that deals, in significant and 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 "the intentions of the givers and receivers of education" by focussing on "personal conceptions and misconceptions" and on the "consequences of formal education as perceived by the contrast to the ideals or functions of education as articulated by philosophers and recognizable "spokesmen" for education." In short she argues for a 53Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "History as Experience: The Uses of Personal-History Documents in the 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," in Work Youth and Schooling: Historical Perspectives on Vocationalism in American Education, eds. Harvey Kantor and David B. Tyack (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1982), 225. 55Barbara J. Finkelstein, "Schooling and Schoolteachers: Selected Bibliography of Autobiographies in the Nineteenth Century," History of Education Quarterly 14, 2(Summer 1974): 293. See also Barbara Finkelstein, 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 Falmer Press, 1989). 56Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Saints, Sinners, and People: A Position Paper on the Historiography of American Education," History of Education Quarterly 15, 3(Fa11 1975): 268. 24 "personalized history." 57 Canadian historian Chad M. Gaffield has reiterated these concerns and urged educational historians to focus on the "experiential meaning of education" from the point of view of "all those who have been involved in the process." 58 In his recent work on the French language problem in Ontario in the nineteenth century he emphasized the importance of documenting the experiences of "the boys and girls, men and women whose lives gave meaning to the questions of schooling." 59 Likewise Richard Quantz, an American educational historian, has suggested: To understand teachers, we need to do more than treat schools as little black boxes with interhangeable parts which take inputs and create outputs and which are manipulated by those from outside them....Attention to the larger forces of history provide a framework of understanding, but without a depiction of the finer detail of the participants' subjective realities, we fail to understand the dynamics of history. By following only microhistory we are in danger of reversing the common maxim and "failing to see the trees for the forest." In our eagerness to map out the great movements of "man," we sometimes forget that historical events often involved real women living in their own subjective, but equally real, worlds. 60 Recent feminist historiography has also influenced the move towards a more subjective approach to the history of teachers and teaching with its emphasis on the necessity of viewing women in the past as historical characters in their own right. In her 1975 article on the problems of various approaches to women's history Gerder Lerner stated that the true history of women is "the history of their ongoing functioning in that 57Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Home and School in 19th Century America: Some Personal-History Reports 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 Association Meeting, 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 Language Controversy in Ontario (Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987), 30. Alison Prentice has expressed similar concerns in her "Introduction" to a special issue on educational history of Ontario History 78, 4(December 1986): 281-284. 60Quantz, "The Complex Visions of Female Teachersd," 440-441. 25 male-defined world, on their own terms." 61 Ruth Pierson and Alison Prentice contend that the 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 have overlooked." As such they argue for a history of women that gets at "the actual experience of women in the past." 62 But, as they also acknowledge, this is not an easy task for the historian. This is the case partly because much of the female experience has gone unrecorded. However, even when women in the past have been described and analysed it has either focussed on what Natalie Zemon Davis has termed "women worthies" 63 or from the angle of vision of the men - fathers, husbands, brothers, employers - who have sought to define, explain and influence women's lives. In this situation "the activities of men and women are evaluated asymmetrically, women's activities being ignored, subsumed, or measured by the standards of male experience." 64 Carroll Smith-Rosenberg contends that we need to "hear women's own words directly, not filtered through a male record. Male voices have so often drowned out or denied women's words and perceptions that the rediscovery of women's unique language must be our first priority - and our first defense, 61 Gerder 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's History: 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 of Social History 3, 1(Fall 1969): 53-62, reprinted in Liberating Women's History, ed. Carroll, 349-356; and Gerder 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," in Feminism: From Pressure to Politics.  eds. Angela R. Miles and Geraldine Finn (Montreal: Black Rose Books, 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 Studies 3, 3-4(Spring-Summer 1976): 83. "Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Man/Woman/Teacher: Gender, Family, and Career in American Educational 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. Michelle Zimbalist Rosaldo and Louise Lamphere (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974), 17-42, particularly pages 18-23. 26 as women scholars, against the undue influence of theories formed in ignorance of women's experiences." 65 Pierson and Prentice argue that, although much valuable work has been done in examining and analyzing the prescriptive literature directed to women and also the various medical, legal, educational and religious documents which reflect prevailing attitudes towards women and their roles in the past, "it must always be recognized that women's actual behaviour did not necessarily coincide with such projected images and pronouncements." In their view the task of historians of women is "to go beyond the prescription of and debate over roles wherever possible, in order to examine women's actual behaviour and their lives through whatever sources are available." 66 In this way, a woman-centred history, as Eliane Leslau Silverman argues, "makes women the subjects of a 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 Veronica Strong-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 committed to "increasing women's autonomy in a world where it has generally been less than men's." Their starting point 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 a nutshell the sentiments held by many Canadian feminist historians: "The ultimate goal is the creation of a Canadian women's history, one that speaks both to women about the sources of their present lives and to everyone about history seen from women's point of view" (11). In the same vein a comprehensive account of the lives of women in the past from the European perspective can be found in Bonnie S. Anderson and Judith P. 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's History," in Feminist Studies: Critical Studies, ed. Teresa de Lauretis (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986), 20-30. 67Eliane Leslau Silverman, "Writing Canadian Women's History, 1970-1982: An Historiographical Analysis," Canadian Historical Review 63, 4(December 1982): 533. Silverman adopts this perspective in her powerful "collective autobiography" of the experiences of Western Canadian frontier women entitled The Last 27 [Much of female experience has gone unrecorded in easily recognizable or accessible form. Of necessity historians of women have had to tap some previously unused, even uncollected, sources. A new sensitivity, often feminist in inspiration, to the frequency with which women's lives and beliefs have been interpreted for them by men has led to a search for documents in which the historical subjects themselves describe their own experiences. 68 Margaret Conrad contends that if we are to study what she describes as "women's culture" then new approaches must be adopted. As she persuasively argues: In taking up the issue of women's culture we are addressing fundamental questions of sources and methodology. We are shifting the focus of analysis from the world of men to that of women. If public and published documents are few and macro studies difficult, then we must investigate personal and private sources with greater seriousness. If women's participation in politics is peripheral and labour force activity is muffled then we turn to local and family histories where women have figured prominantly both as participants and as chroniclers. When approaching history from a woman's angle of vision the question becomes not "Why did women not protest their deliberate disenfranchisement in the era of responsible government," but "What characterized the lives of middle-class British North American women in the nineteenth century?" Not "Why are women marginalized in the 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 sphere in industrial societies?" but "How has women's sphere been transformed by the emergence of industrial society?" The answers to questions such as these will allow us to transcend the less ambitious queries and lay the foundation for a genuine human history. 69 Best West: Women on the Alberta Frontier 1880-1930 (Montreal: Eden Press, 1984). See also Alison Prentice, "Writing Women into History: The History of Women's Work in Canada," Atlantis: A Women's Studies Journal 3, 2(Spring 1978): 72-83. 68Veronica Strong-Boag and Anita Clair Fellman, eds., Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women's History (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman Limited, 1986), 5. This point has also been made in the introduction to an excellent new collection of articles on British Columbian women. See Gillian Creese and Veronica Strong-Boag, "Introduction: Taking Gender into Account in British Columbia," in British Columbia Reconsidered: Essays on Women, eds. Creese and Strong-Boag (Vancouver: Press Gang Publishers, 1992), 11. 69Margaret Conrad, — Sundays Always Make Me Think of Home": Time & Place in Canadian Women'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 Maritime Provinces of Canada. 1759-1950 (Ottawa: Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Women, 1982), revised and reprinted in The Neglected Majority: Essays in Canadian Women's History Volume 2, eds. Alison Prentice and Susan Mann Trofimenkoff (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1985), 41-60, and Margaret Conrad, 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). 28 A number of historians have taken an alternative approach to questions concerning the history of teachers and teaching and have employed more qualitative methodologies. By exploring and analysing first-person accounts of teachers' lives in letters, diaries, personal journals, memoirs and autobiographies, and also by way of oral testimony, historians have been able to examine the social context and the meaning of the information established by the quantitative studies of teacher's lives. Clifford states that such documents "provide subjective commentary on events, interpret experiences, perserve (sic) facts and express feelings according to some personal sense of what is meaningful, and they communicate an intense 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 relates experienced reality" (italics in original)." Sociologist Arlene Tigar McLaren has argued that the "discovery" and "acceptance within the discipline" of these "new" historical sources has given women's history a "vitality." 71 Historians utilizing such sources have revealed the immense variety in women's experience in teaching. They have highlighted the fact that teaching was an extremely personal affair for those who chose to work in the occupation. A number of studies of both American and Canadian teachers have challenged many of the taken-for-granted notions and assumptions concerning the stereotype of the female teacher as the victim of oppression and have examined the ways in which some women, individually and collectively, used teaching to further their own aspirations despite the oppressive conditions with which they had to contend. Indeed some historians have been able to document that teaching was, in fact, a liberating experience for many women. Although published eighteen years ago the comments 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's Sociology, ed. McLaren (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman Limited, 1988), 14. 29 The view of woman as victim presupposes a simplistic view of role determinism - the assumption that cultural norms expressed in the cult of domesticity produced a single modal female personality....Women, as well as men, come in assorted psychological shapes and sizes....Any study of women's personal papers will reveal that women responded to normative definitions of their role in a variety of ways. Indeed a spectrum of female behavior and personality ranging from belligerent deviance to uncritical acceptance far more accurately reflects reality than any hypothesis of one or a few modal personalities. 72 Clifford has extracted from a large body of nineteenth and twentieth century writing on education those that deal with the experiences and consciousness of teachers and has argued, in a number of important papers, that although there are ample examples of the blacker side of teaching there was also "recompense for the arduous and often unfulfilling duties of the teacher." A teaching career, however brief, provided many young men and women with "an opportunity for respectable paid employment, greater personal freedom, a modicum of independence and authority, and a larger world view."73 However, she also argues that women derived rewards from teaching that were unique to their gender. Many women 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 a financial burden nor otherwise indebted to anyone. They wished to pay their own way, to gain initiative and advantage not likely to be experienced in their parents' home or as the unmarried 'auntie' in the homes of their brothers." 74 Their abilty to gain independence through self-support was deemed critical to the development of some sense of self in many women teachers and also enabled them to contribute to the finanancial well-being of their families. As Clifford explains: 72Carroll Smith-Rosenberg, "The New Woman and the New History," Feminist Studies 3, 1-2(Fall 1975): 194. 73 Clifford, "History as Experience," 195-196. For a very brief discussion of some of these points as 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'etudes canadiennes 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. 30 Teaching wages were low, but the ability to earn even a small wage, especially in cash-poor rural and small town America where most of the population still lived, made young women, many girls in their teens, economically important to their families. The wages of teachers...might make the difference between keeping or losing the farm in a bad year, between renting or buying a house, between sending a brother to learn telegraphy in a proprietary school or to study natural philosophy in a college (italics in original). 75 Teaching came to be regarded as a desirable transition stage for women between their own schooling and the beginning of married life. 76 In fact, teaching permitted women to put off temporarily, or even reject permanently, the act of losing their "precious independence" by marriage which appeared to many women teachers to signify domestic servitude or social uselessness. 77 By being able to choose when, and whether to marry, some women teachers "very likely retained a degree of power, egotism, and individualism within the marital relationship that was inconsistent with conventional expectations of marriage." 78 Equally important to women was the fact that teaching enabled them to lead a respectable public life. To quote Clifford once again: To organize a school, deal with the community's leaders, put on ceremonies, and travel about collecting the wages owed from cash-poor patrons was to take on major responsibility in a time when the public world was not yet considered the appropriate place for women. As teachers women exercised control over nonfamily men and provided for themselves in the process, gaining self-confidence and higher expectations of what they were owed in economic and professional terms. 79 75 Ibid., 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 that although marriage was both desired and expected by most Canadian women in the inter-war period, some women were able to postpone this inevitability by taking a teaching job. As she states: "For many young women who wished respectable employment and enjoyed children, teaching offered a prized opportunity for some independence and challenge." See The New Day Recalled: Lives of Girls and Women in English Canada. 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 the Past, Present, and Future," in Women and Higher Education in American History: Essays from the Mount Holyoke College Sesquicentennial Symposia, eds. John Mack Faragher and Florence Howe (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1988): 177. 31 Clifford 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 female teachers. This broadened their perspectives and created sentiments of sisterhood. Networks of support, grounded in the realities of the work of teaching, and shown in their close friendships, their yearly meetings at institutes and summer courses, their help to each other in finding schools in terms of job information and references, were the commonplace experience of many female teachers." The effect of such a situation was that these "unremarkable and historically unremembered women teachers, most of whom eventually married and settled into relatively conventional domestic lives, were a large, receptive and influential constituency for feminism." 81 Hence as Clifford makes patently clear in her work, teaching provided some women with a measure of autonomy and control over their lives and allowed them to develop a sense of independence and personal growth. 82 Nancy Hoffman has also used autobiographical materials to study the lives of female teachers who taught in schools on America's East Coast in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and her findings concur with much of Clifford's work as regards the liberating effect of teaching on women's lives. She reveals how the woman teacher's own descriptions of her motivations for taking up teaching as an occupation diverged sharply from the picture of the ideal woman teacher as the natural educator of the young who regarded teaching as merely a stepping stone to marriage. She found that "neither their love 80 Clifford, "History as Experience," 196; "'Lady Teachers'," 14-15. Wilson, on the other hand, in his work on rural teachers in British Columbia in the 1920's, "found little evidence of the existance of female networks between the teacher and the women in the community" and in fact "friendship with married women may 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 teacher training institutions in the development of feminist values of self-respect and self-support in the women who attended them. See "The Ever Widening Circle: The Diffusion of Feminist Values from the Troy Female Seminary 1822-1872," History of Education Quarterly 19, 1(Spring 1979): 3-25. Reprinted as a chapter in the 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). 32 of children nor their attitude toward marriage" dominated the comments of women teachers in their writings. Rather, women entered teaching "because they needed work." Women had only a few choices of occupation and, compared with most, teaching offered many attractions. She concludes that, from the teacher's perspective, "the continuity between mothering and teaching was far less significant than a paycheck and the challenge and satisfaction of work." 83 Polly Welts Kaufman has painstakingly retraced the lives of single antebellum Eastern pioneer women teachers who were sent to the American West by the National Board of Popular Education from 1846 on two-year teaching contracts. Basing her account on a diary, letters and a reminiscence of nine teachers, she emphasizes that these women were "distinct individuals" and notes the "tremendous diversity among them and the differences in their perceptions and conditions." Kaufman draws attention to the varied motivations that drew these women into teaching: "As teachers the women felt a strong pull to bring education and Protestant evangelical religion to the West, and some possessed a sense of adventure as well; as women they were pushed by a strong sense of personal economic need. "84 But whatever reasons inspired each individual teacher to travel West the experience proved to be a liberating one. As Kaufman contends: By using the teaching profession as their route to new lives, they achieved a significant degree of autonomy. Because teaching was an acceptable profession for women, they were able to attain a higher level of self-sufficiency than practically any other group of women in their time, almost unnoticed. By acting to take control of their lives, they exhibited an independence of spirit. 85 83Hoffman, Woman's "True" Profession, xvii-xviii. See also Jo Anne Preston, "Female Aspiration and Male Ideology: School-Teaching in Nineteenth-Century New England," in Current Issues in Women's History, 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 Women Teachers in the West, 1848-1854," Journal of the West 21, 2(April 1982): 16-25. 33 Historians have been able to document not only the liberating impact of teaching on women teachers but also the ways in which some women, both American and Canadian, have been able to transcend the structures and roles that were intended to maintain and promote their inferior position in the workforce in particular, and society in general, by using teaching as a stepping stone to more powerful roles in politics and the professions. Indeed women were empowered by the competencies they gained in public school teaching. The organisational and managerial skills they acquired in running a nineteenth century schoolroom, more often than not entirely alone, inspired women with self confidence and a strong belief in their capabilities that encouraged many to move on and apply their talents elsewhere. Many women began their public lives in the schoolroom and later enlarged their audiences in other, more challenging areas. 86 Clifford has argued for the importance of teaching in the lives of American women who chose to go into the political arena. By examining the role of women teachers in electoral politics in twentieth century America she has demonstrated the possibilities available to women teachers to form a political agenda and play a role in matters of public policy and government. She also speculates as to the role that former teachers might have played in the political movement of organized feminism that helped to persuade public opinion of the necessity of expanding women's rights and opportunities. 87 She argues that some women "discovered themselves in the classroom" and inspired by the "injustice and male arrogance" they saw in teaching they became "the readied soil to catch the seeds of feminism." 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" and carved out careers in "institutions of higher learning" see Alison Prentice, "Scholarly Passsion: Two Persons Who 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 to different conclusions than their mentors intended about woman's God-given nature and her proper place in society. It turns out that her personal odyssey also greatly enlarged the pool of political activists who would agitate the 'woman question' until female suffrage and the other goals of the 19th-century women's rights movement were achieved. 89 Similar examples of the impact of teaching on the course of women's careers can be found in the literature on the history of Canadian women. Veronica Strong-Boag has examined the diaries of nineteenth century Canadian doctor Elizabeth Smith and has revealed the important role that teaching played in the development of her career. Elizabeth chose teaching because it provided her with economic independence, the means to pay for further study and her route into a more challenging profession in medicine. Success with school teaching and the approval of trustees provided her with the self assurance that would be essential in her medical career." The autobiography of Nellie L. McClung - prairie reformer, suffragette, parliamentarian, author, newspaperwoman and one of Canada's leading feminists - makes clear the relevance of her teaching experience in the small rural schools 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 as a 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 resolve of "doing some work as a person." 92 It also brought her to the realization that perhaps there 89Ibid., 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 and Theobald, 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 & Son Limited, 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: 35 was more to life than country school teaching. Although she was proud and happy to be a teacher, when the time came she was ready for the next step. She was elected as M.P. for South-East Grey, Ontario, in 1921, a seat she held until 1940, first for the United Farmers of Ontario and the C.C.F. but mainly as an Independent. As the first woman M.P. in Canada she acted as an inspiration to other women. It is clear from the studies cited above that many women did not conform to the stereotype of the female who entered the occupation as described in much of the prescriptive literature of the nineteenth century. However two important points need to be made here. First of all, it has been recognized that the powerful images projected by such stereotypes "possess power in their own right." 93 As cultural constructions stereotypes are grounded in what is perceived to be reality and as such they influence the self-concept of the teachers themselves. Secondly, any evaluation of the work commitment of women must consider women's own perceptions of the place of work, and in this case teaching, in their lives. Following on from this the necessity of acknowledging the importance of familial commitments is deemed critical to any understanding of the meaning of teaching as work to women within the wider context of the rest of their lives. Indeed such concerns must be placed at the centre of any inquiry into the nature of women's participation in the workforce." A number of studies, drawn mainly from historical research on American teachers, have begun to address some of these issues. Richard Quantz has used oral testimony "to discover the cultural definitions of participants in an historical situation." Specifically, he examines the failure of unions to organize female teachers in Hamilton, Ohio in the 1930's. Four metaphors of the University of Toronto Press for the Canadian Federation of University Women, 1966), 179-197. For a more recent 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 in this analysis of gender and schoolteaching. Clifford examines the gender-laden stereotypes of teachers and attempts to uncover the meaning of teaching as stages in the lives of men as well as women. 94Ibid., 329. 36 subordinate authority figure, the school as family, the natural female avocation and the dual self emerged from the stories of the teachers as they were asked to define the world in which they worked and lived. The failure of unions to organize women teachers was inevitable, Quantz argues, given the commonly accepted reality the women had concerning their place in the workforce and in the larger context of society as a whole. He argues that in using the four metaphors as "guidelines for their lives and their jobs" the women teachers in Hamilton "may have participated in their own powerlessness and been part of broader social movements, while merely acting within their own subjective worlds." 95 Kathleen 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 who taught in the rural schools of Tulare County, California in the period 1860-1900, she contends: Rather than viewing teaching as either a means of social control and the reproduction of the ideology of women's subordinate place in an expanded domestic sphere ar viewing teaching as a path to personal autonomy and resistance to the dominant ideology, I suggest that it contained both possibilities. 96 By examining the individual lives of women teachers Weiler has revealed the many possibilities that existed for women in teaching within the material constraints and ideological constructs of what it meant to be a female teacher in the nineteenth century. She argues 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 societal expectations of what it meant to be a woman, but also allowed for more subversive challenges to that defmition. 95Quantz, "The Complex Visions of Female Teachers," 457. 96Kathleen Weiler, "Rural, Liberty, and Hope: Women Teachers in Country Schools in California 1860-1900," paper presented at the American Educational Research Association Conference, San Francisco, 27 March, 1989, ms. 23. Emphasis in original. 37 Utilizing a life-course approach, Kathleen Underwood has examined the lives of the young women who graduated from the Colorado State Normal School in the first decade following its founding in 1890. Her findings are mainly based on an analysis of the correspondence between these women and the editor of the "Alumni News" column in the student newspaper, the Crucible. Underwood argues that the advantages teaching provided for young women in terms of economic independence and social status outweighed the disadvantages of low pay and sexual segregation in the occupation and allowed the young woman 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 they made 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 integrate new opportunities for education and career within the traditional and more familiar life pattern of the nineteenth century." 97 Courtney Ann Vaughn-Roberson has used the writings and oral statements of Oklahoma women educators who taught between 1900 and 1950 to try and determine the attitudes of these women to their place in the profession and found their statements to be somewhat paradoxical. As she explains: For many of the