Dispatch from Canada: Rules for teachers 1872

Published on 2nd February, 2010 in Author Blog by Lindsay Clandfield

I was in Canada this past Christmas and I came across the following list of rules for Canadian schoolteachers from 1872. Now I’ve often been guilty of having a good old moan about teaching and how things are getting worse than in the past. Until now.

Rules for Teachers in 1872

Teachers each day will fill the lamps and clean the chimney.

Each teacher will bring a pail of water and a box of coal for each school day.

Make your pens carefully you may carve the nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.

Men teachers may take one evening per week for courting purposes or two evenings per week if they go to church regularly.

Following ten hours in school the teacher may spend the rest of the day reading the Bible or similar good books.

Women instructors who marry or behave improperly will be dismissed.

All instructors should put aside from each pay, a decent amount of their earnings for their benefit during retirement, so they will not become a burden to society.

Any teacher who smokes, drinks liquor in any form, visits pool or public halls, or is shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to the Board of Education to suspect his worth, intention and honesty.

The teacher who performs his job faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of 25 cents a week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves. (Teachers at this time were paid $350 a year.)


  • This is hilarious. I love the bit which refers to the Bible… ‘or similar good books.’ 🙂

    George Gilbert on 2 February, 2010
  • Whoa, are you kidding me? So much to comment on here:
    a) “one evening per week for courting purposes.” I’m gonna make a proposal to the EU on this one, see if we can’t get that happening here.
    b) how is getting a shave in a barber shop “good reason to doubt (one’s) worth, intention, and honesty”??? Hilarious…

    nicky on 11 February, 2010
  • My gosh! Thank you for bringing this to my attention. I had heard of snopes but had not checked this particular one. Well, once bitten twice shy. Thanks again, and to all the other readers: I stand corrected, or at least I stand thinking I shall investigate this further!

    Lindsay Clandfield on 14 March, 2010