Marriage and Teacher Contracts

SarahAtDeskStoneAcademy

In the fake “Rules for Teachers” that is constantly being sent around, posted, and published, it says that teachers who married would be fired. No matter how many counter examples you can produce many people hold firm in their opinion it was true in all times, in all cases, all across the country. My own personal opinion is that it was a prejudice held by SOME school boards, mostly during the 1930s when any job was scarce and there was a general prejudice about trying to push women out of the workplace to reserve what jobs there were for men. This was part of the general prejudice that still means that women, on average, make less for the same job as men (although other factors play into it today).

Anyway, for the first time, I’ve found a mention of it in a teacher contract. This contract was for Marian Hoffa for School District #22 of Cass County, Minnesota and is dated Sept 30, 1935.  It’s a printed form which includes such specifications as days school is closed, times of school, and if the teacher will receive extra compensation for janitor work, so these must have been commonly needed and considered points. Handwritten in are two terms after the description of janitor duties.

“Teacher will do janitor work.

If teacher marries, this contract becomes void.”

Again, this was handwritten in and squeezed into a line where it barely makes sense. Lines were included for other things that must have been considered important and commonly used. That makes me think this was a definite exception rather than something that was commonly accepted and must not have been a law or writing it in wouldn’t be necessary.

However, this is the first period reference I’ve come across that wasn’t just a second hand story, so I’m sharing it.

UPDATED December 1 2018: I added my current signature block, italicized the quote, and added a photo and a link for the Rules for Teacher report at Snoops.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

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Sarah Uthoff - Trundlebed Tales

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

2 thoughts on “Marriage and Teacher Contracts”

  1. Interestingly, my 1st grade teacher (in 1947) retired after my class. After her retirement, she made it known that the “gentleman boarder” in her home – which she shared with another teacher, was actually (and had been for some time) her husband. Later, when I asked my mother about this – at 6 I didn’t have a problem with her private life – Mom told me that when Miss Slack started teaching, she would not have been allowed to marry. No documentation on this – just a piece of oral history. This was in Northern New York state.

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