Rules for Teachers

By Keith Gibson

I found this list of rules  hanging on the wall in the old McGill School building. I had gotten permission to enter the building along with David Robb to take some pictures for an upcoming book on the McGill 6,7,8, grade building.  It was called the ‘New building” in our time, circa 1940s.  It was in the teacher’s lounge.   I am sure the teachers of today don’t have the same rules.



Teachers each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys.

Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for each day’s session.

Make your pens carefully.  You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupil.

Men teachers will take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.

After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.

Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemingly conduct will be dismissed.

Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefits during his declining years so he will not be a burden on society.

Any teacher who  smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.

During those early years in the 1870s, many  of the schools in the western US were one room affairs, especially in small towns or on ranches.  There was one at Cherry Creek.

The Pescio ranch had a small one to educate the Pescio boys.  My father told me that when he first went to work for Consolidated Copper (fore runner of Kennecott) on the labor gang, that his crew was sent to the Duck Creek dam area to tear down a one room school house.  That would have been in the late 1920s, probably 1926-29.

The copper company at that time would hire young men at 15-16 years old and my father was born in 1911.  Many schools used the McGuffy (sp) reader.  Textbooks were very limited.

The curriculum was a lot different back them. History and government were important topics along with English and math.  I have seen examples of the tests given the pupils in those days and the questions are very difficult.

The kids came out of those schools very well educated.  It must have been the fact that they all had to sit thru the lectures and actually pay attention.  The room was full of kids from various class years.

The young ones got a sample of what was to come in their later years and the older kids were treated to hearing the same lessons many times over.  Gee, what a concept—teaching and discipline all at the same time. I presume that this set of old time rules was in the teacher’s lounge in the McGill school to remind the teachers of just how lucky they were.