This past week we had our annual Teachers' In-Service meetings on campus. It was a great week and I heard many things that I want to put into use in my classes. One of the speakers read a list of rules for teachers in the late 1800s that he received by e-mail from someone who had visited a historical site this summer. I was able to find the list online. According to snopes.com it may not be authentic, but it certainly seems plausible and is still a fun contrast to life nowadays. As tough as we may think we have it today, I'm sure that some aspects of life were much tougher in the "good old days."
Rules for Teachers in the Late 1800s
1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean chimneys.
2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.
3. Make your pens carefully. You may whittle nibs to the individual taste of the pupils.
4. Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly
5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.
6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.
7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society
8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barbershop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty
9. 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.
In my files I found a list of Murphy's Laws of Teaching that might be a little less dated than the list above.
Murphy's Laws of Teaching
The clock in the classroom will be wrong.
Disasters will occur when visitors are in the room.
A subject interesting to the teacher will be boring to the students.
The time a teacher takes in explaining is inversely proportional to the information retained by students.
The length of a meeting will be directly proportional to the boredom the speaker produces.
The more important the occasion or the larger the audience, the greater the chance that the bulb in whatever machine you are using will burn out.
Students who are doing better are credited with working harder. If children start to do poorly, the teacher will be blamed.
The problem child will be a school board member's son.
Students with behavior problems are never absent — not one day — all year.
After 27.5 hours of intense creative work, your bulletin boards — the best ever — are finally complete. Ten minutes later you will be notified that you are assigned to another classroom in which the bulletin boards are not the same size as those you had just prepared.
The day the cafeteria serves mini-missiles — raisins, corn, peas, etc. — is the day the superintendent will have lunch at your school and will decide to eat with your students.
Once your notebook is full of good ideas, tests, sample lessons, films and a list of 500 library books for supplemental reading, and all of this is correlated to the textbook you are using, you will get the message that they're adopting new textbooks next year or that your current textbook is out of print.
Your first experience with a vomiting student will take place with a guest speaker in the room.
When the instructor is late, he will meet the principal in the hall. If the instructor is late and does not meet the principal in the hall, the instructor is late to the faculty meeting where the principal is waiting.
Good students move away.
New students come from schools that do not teach anything.
When the teacher says "weird" rather than "emotionally disturbed," he learns that the person to whom he is speaking is the school counselor.
The instructor's study hall will be the largest in several years.
The administration will view the study hall as the teacher's preparation time.
News of what you failed to do travels at 1,000 times the speed of news of what you did well.
The week after you have completed your lesson plans that will keep you on schedule with the curriculum and allow you to teach all you need to before the school year ends, you will lose four days of school because of snow.
Parent-Teacher Open House will be held on the night of part two of the best three-part TV series of the year.
On a test day, at least 15% of the class will be absent.
If the instructor teaches art, the principal will be an ex-coach and will dislike art. If the instructor is a coach, the principal will be an ex-coach who took a winning team to the state.
Clocks will run more quickly during free time.
Murphy's Law will go into effect at the beginning of an evaluation.
I'd love to hear the comments of fellow teachers to the lists above. I'm sure some of you could add your own Murphy's Laws of Teaching!
"Contentious people are not right with God." - Dr. Drew Conley
Time is the best teacher; unfortunately it kills all its students.
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