Search America's historic newspaper pages from 1777-1963 or use the U.S. Newspaper Directory to find information about American newspapers published between 1690-present. Chronicling America is sponsored jointly by the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress. external link Learn more
Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
Newspaper Page Text
IC; 1PT rVir.i 1 lS - -.. iT- 4 IV y T-V I III II t A - V 1 I III (I II I I I MUM III II li.kOtxt . S l ". kl . m f HI It II 1 1 1 V -V ..11 111 I II - IK 1111 Wiiiiiiiiiifl isai ft"T P RETT? Mrs. E. W. Preston, formerly Miss M libel Pock, for four years a teacher at the Raymond school In Chicago, lias definite and original views upon school teaching as a profession for women which she has drawn from her, experience ami observation. "They are not reallv original at all," she says. " they are held bv thojsands of teachers, the only diffoience being that they are afraid to express them." Now this Is Just what Mrs. Preston la not. With In finitely (treat restraint in the choice of language, but nevertheless in terms radical enough to startle the school trustees, she declares the following things: It Is the last profsslon In the world for the average woman to choose. Scrubbing Is better. It not only debars her. It positively unfits her for mat rimony. She walks around on a V"ded mine of hypocrisy be cause she glibly professes love for an occupation which it is her most passionate prayer to be delivered from. If she doesn't she Iorcs 'her Job. Sooner or later she Is bound to halt her work.. She must, because It is a vampire that preys upon her per sonality. J J Nihilistic Words From Pretty Lips. Now, the woman who says these things is so pretty that her worst enemy couldn't say that she Is soured or Imblttered even by school teaching experiences. She has such a gentle and altogether " nonschocl teachery " way of uttering her opinions that nobody could call her rabid. She shows the reflective faculty so plnlnly while talking that no one would call her superficial. Truly, from her pretty Hps the most nihilistic utterances turn to pearls. Moreover, she has perspective In her view, for she hns worked In other positions. Two years in the Chicago public library, a year In the treasury department at Wash ington, and work on a metropolitan dally give her con clusions a range which classifies them expert. She has the authority of having had her four yea.-s of school work pronounced highly successful by superiors, and conceded so by associates. Her happy desertion of her post for matrimony In so short a time would also exempt her from being predisposed to a hopeless view. Teaching Worse Than Slavery. " I first began to think strongly upon the subject out side of my own personal view." said Mrs. Preston, " when tin ex-school teacher said to me one day that she felt as if tho seven years she had taught were Just seven years lost out of her life. 'Do you feel that way. too?' I said. I know It had been that way with me. but I hadn't seen that others shared the conviction. Afterward I became convinced that It was practically universal. "Now, If I had a daughter I should prefer that she should do anything In the world that fc'ae had the slightest Inclination for rather than teach, If it was only to scrub. I don't believe that thene is one girl In n thousand who chooses the profession because she has thought the matter out and decided that It l what she wants When I see the endless procession of ulrls going to noinial every year to prepare for the life I can only think of the sacrifice to respectability upon which their parents arc offering them up. . Parents Push Girls Into Schools. "It Is the fathers und mothers that rush girls Into it. The girls themselves are most of them without any opinions as to whys and wherefores of the matter mhen they begin. But the fathers and mothers think that It Is so perfectly respectable and so safe that they pick it out for their daughters an I begin early to talk them Into It. due in a while there is an exception and a girl forms her own opinions as to wnut she wants to do like h boy. This Is only In families where the girls are brought up to think Of a career as well as the boys. " In one family I knew the mother told the daughter When she was still a little thing (hat she must work hard, ao that when she grew up she could be a school teacher. But I will not be a school teacher.' said the young per son, stamping her foot. ' School teachers never can do as they please. I will be a newspaper woman they do.' She went after what ihe wanted and In now doing It with at least the satisfaction of having the work she wants and likes. Chances of Marriage Ruined. " I'sually the mother who doesn't want her daughter to go Into business or to go downtown and work has her way andi the girl goes Into the school work. When she does, disintegration begins. It Is only a question of how much resistance she has mentally and physically whether she gets out before It is apparent. She is roon well on the road to becoming a mummified nervous system. If she has enough enmbativeness in her to stick to her pleasures, and enough strength to carry them on with her work for a little while, she may marry. " The chances of matrimony are much greater against the buyer in this kind of a game of policy than is usually supposed. First, of course, the chances of propinquity are all eliminated. She spends all of hei prettiest and best years Immured, s far as men are concerned. They do not see her when hey would want her, and when she gets old It Is n t only matrimony to which she Is not eligible, but t lie schools dorl't want her either. " Rut this Isn't the half. There n"vei was anything truer than that three years of school teaching make a woman unfit to live with. She Is positively depleted of mental and emotional charm unless she has the gift in a great quantity. The riiain upon her nerves has been so great that stfe hns prsltivcly no reserves of the good temper and diplomacy to draw upon, which are necessary to cajole the ordinary man into being a model or happy husband. She Is not jnly short on the attractions of high spirits and physlcnl prettiness which ennble her to get a husband, but unless rhe has as many years to recuperate as she hns put In she Is positively ui.flt for matrimony. M Is a fact of observation that highly nervous tempera ments subjected to the strain of teaching for a few years Imfore marriage are less successful in the physical part uf motherhood. Men Preiudiced Against Teachers. " The prejudice wnlch men are siH to have ugalnst school teachers my jbservation maks me think exists even mere than Is generally tx-llcved. They fear tkat they are aggressive and opinionated and fond of control, and I think that it Is easy for them to get to he. I know that since I taught it has never been half so easy for me to give up my own opinion to that of somo'iody else as It was when I was doing other things. Any teacher will tell you that you can t teach a little while before you find vourself telling everybody ho- to do things. And another thing I noticed was that after I had taught a year or a little over I could control the school by simply standing and looKing at me children, und almost-unconsciously on my part. too. The wish to cio so had become so much a part of my mental attitude that it exercised a positive effect. Once started,, this Is a quality that dominates the possessor and radiates from her more than she hns any Idea of. "As to her fondness for children, the worst of It Is that a teacher loses the fondness for them that she nat urally possesses. Why shouldn't she? They are drawing all the time In a terrible quantity upon all her best quali ties of heart and soul. She is constantly giving out of her best and never getting rny chance to put anything In She does not realize this at first, but when she does, If she has already reached the physical state where It gets on her nerves, she begins In ier heart to think ol the children as Iyer natural enemies. She feels like closing every part of her sympathy and he.-self against this terrible onslaught of young life, which is sapping her body and soul. You know, don't you, that ou never can relax ts long as there Is a child in front of you? Love for Children Dies. "The worst Is the Irritating effort at constant dis cipline and the equally Irritating effort to make a good showing In the eyes of the many overseers and supervisors, which is necessary to keep her Job. These are. of course, the real obstacles which prevent her recuperating In the happy qualities with which one needs to affiliate with children. " I have only known one teacher who was able to keep her love for them throughuany year of the work so that you would know instinctively thai It was the 'real thing. She asked to be put down In the lower grades where she would not have discipline to contend with und where she could really lavish all her affections on them She has a lovely way with them and would make a beauti ful mother, but the chances are that this career will be cut off from her. She is : and she looks .Kl j tried so hard to perfect myself and to work ..p to a fine point in my work.' she told me. that I gradually gave up my chance, to go anywhere.' She was one of the rare one. that would be all things that the most exacting could ex pect of her, and her lonely life Is the pathetic forfeit. Sacrifice Great; Reward Small. "This self-effacement is the bogy which all school teacher, dread. They understand, better than any one else, the greatness nf ih .u,.,ih... ..... "v " "u ine KmaiiueHs or You know, all the reward there Is for this l i fill ' fv!SS5&. " -':J 11 I f I v. " If the reward.. sort of thing Is that once In a great while a parent with more than ordinary chances of salvation will come to ynu and tell you how much Khe feds what you have really done for her child. This '.s the only Inspiring thing that ever happens In the profession, except, of course, the funny things the children say and It Is far from happening often, as the attitude of the ordinary parent is that you are fa vored among young women If you are iliowed to teach her Johnny. ' "One of the most depressing things about the work to the average girl Is that she cjn'i be honest about what she thinks. There is a little fiction i vpected of school teachers, you know, that they love their work. It Is a creed. Many teachers recite It glibly. None deny It. Yes, there w:is one. She was a girl with lots of brains, no feelings, end lessly smiling, and pessimistically good humored. She got the children up wonderfully In their grades the first year, besides having time to state frankly and frequently that Bhe hated her school and hnted the work. The next year she was removed. Btrt she Is the only ope I remember. " Sometimes you hear a new tenchc say, ' I am tired of teaching already,' or ' I never can like this kind of work.' Hush,' says cne of the older ones of the order, 'don't ever let anybody hear you breathe anything like that.' " You will find, if you should ask, that the young teach ers whom yon see pi fining for automobile rides, and par ties, and balls always fall to mention these matters to the principal. There Is many a school In Chicago whose at mosphere Is frosty to things of that sort. Should the teacher be 111 for a hilf day and the little diversion had become known, she would soon hear of It. ' You can't go out In the evenings and attend to your school work.' " The average educator In a superior poaltlon points out technical study as n means of getting back the heart and soul that a girl gives out In her work to young chil dren. She will have none of the theory lhat this course exhausts rather than accumulates. One of the trials of the teacher who Is honest with herself Is that she has to play up to an opinion at which she inwardly rages. Jm Teaching Destroyer of Girls. " If every teacher tald what she thought she would sny that she recognizes the work as her arch enemy and de stroyer. If every ex-teacher would say what she thought she would say that the nightmnre of her life Is the fear that she may some time have to go back to It. " If the girl who is In It could be honest about it and get credit and sympathy outright, and openly pursue every possible recreation and diversion to offset It, her position would become more possible. Rut the only time she will speak her mind is when she Is on a vacation "A girl librarian had a school teacher from a small town come up to visit her. The girl it, the library re marked that she loved her work. The otner looked at her as If she was demented. Ixive your work! Did you say love?" Thereupon the young school mistress, who so far had not succumbed to the depressing effects of her posi tion, went Into peals of laughter. Yet she was considered Al In the town In which she taught. " I don't say that this is the way It should be, you know.It Is only the way I truly believe that It is in ninety-nine cases. The conditions are certainly such that girl, would do well to see If there was not some other work to which they were iwtter fitted, and which they might at least have a chance to say they love their work after a few years. At pres-nt the only reasons that I can see for a girl going Into teaching are that she has abnormal strength, phlegmatic temperament, and a conviction of a lifelong vacation. The alternative is that She has definite plans for getting out."