ERIC Number: ED455045
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2000-May
Rural Women Teachers in the United States. Keynote Address.
This presentation examines the history of women teachers in the rural United States. The earliest classrooms in America were a male environment modeled after European schools. But in the mid-19th century, the Civil War and westward expansion depleted the number of male teachers and brought rural women teachers to the helm of American education. Emma Willard, Mary Lyon, and Catherine Beecher established training programs and served as role models for the first trained women teachers. Mass recruitments of teachers were responsible for placing women teachers in Western frontier schools, southern schools for freed slaves, and missionary schools for American Indians. Women answered these calls, drawn by the promise of adventure, economic stability, independence, marriage opportunities, or the chance to do God's work. Immigrant mothers established schools for their children on the frontier and thereby maintained their language and culture. The demand for teachers continued in the late 1800s as legislation in many states required a school within 4 miles walking distance of every student. In the late 1880s, 90 percent of rural teaching positions were held by women. In the early 1900s, girls outnumbered boys in rural schools as boys were needed on the farm or were otherwise encouraged to work. Many women teachers were dismissed during the depression of the 1930s but were rehired during World War II. Anecdotes about specific rural women teachers are included. (SV)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: In: Issues Affecting Rural Communities (II). Proceedings of the International Conference [on] Rural Communities & Identities in the Global Millennium (Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada, May 1-5, 2000); see RC 023 040.