Education then, beyond all other devices of human origin, is the great equalizer of the conditions of men, the balance-wheel of the social machinery.-Horace Mann

The One-Room Classroom Guidelines

By Julie Hanks, Ph.D.  aka  Jesse J Elliot

Classroom Management Guidelines

One Room School House 1800’s Daily Lesson Plans by Natalie Wilson‎

www.teacherspayteachers.com

  1. Boys and Girls shall file into classroom in separate lines and be seated quietly on opposite sides of the room. Five minutes tardy in the morning equals one hour after school.
  2. Boys shall remove their caps when entering.
  3. Children must sit up straight at all times.
  4. Children must not squirm, fidget, or whine.
  5. Children must be clean and tidy in clothing.
  6. There will be a daily inspection of neck, ears and fingernails prior to class to ensure cleanliness of person.
  7. Nothing shall be dipped into inkwells except pens.
  8. Homework will be handed into the teacher every morning. Double assignments if homework is not done.
  9. Children must write with their right hand only. Children who are caught writing with their left hand=one ruler rap on the knuckles.
  10. Children must be quiet and respectful.
  11. Children will only speak when spoken to. Talking in class=one whack with a rod.
  12. Nothing shall be thrown in class. Such behavior=5 wracks with a rod.
  13. Chewing of tobacco or spitting is prohibited. Chewing of tobacco or spitting=seven wracks of the rod.
  14. Speaking immoral language will result in suspensions.
  15. Carving on desks or defacing school property will result in expulsion.
  16. Fighting, lying, or cheating will result in Expulsion.

The one-room classroom remains an icon of the pioneer spirit of America. Its purpose was to prepare and assimilate the new citizens of America and later, the new citizens of the American West. Students were well versed in patriotism, practical math, reading, writing, and memorization. Manners and common etiquette were also a part of the lesson plan, and generally for the most part, students learned to be viable citizens, capable of working a farm, a ranch, a household, or small business. Horace Mann’s dream of universal education was realized in the phenomenon of the one-room schoolhouse.

However, what about those kids who were special learners, outliers, or just overly active kids? In the one-size fits all classroom, students had to conform or spend their entire time in the corner, holding up a book, or wearing a dunce hat. Many students probably dropped out.

#4 on list below:  Children must not squirm, fidget, or whine? My first student teacher coordinator made us sit and observe our assigned class before we taught. For an hour, we were to choose a few boys and compare them to a few girls, counting the times they moved while sitting at the desk, either with their legs, fingers, pencils, etc.  We were to mark down every movement. Some of the boys (and a few girls) moved at least twice as much as the majority of girls (natural muscle development), some moved three to five times as much, and one boy moved sixty times more than the little girl who sat like a statue! These boys were typical. They wiggled, pulled girls’ hair, touched themselves, threw spit wads, etc.  And, this is not even counting the children with ADD. How in the world were they able to observe the apparently stringent rules of the one-room classroom?

Most modern teachers recognize these natural and healthy movements of muscle development. To accommodate movement and intellectual interests, there are classroom learning centers, trips to the library, PE as well as recess, class stretches, etc. Children who must move a little more than the other children might sit a bit away from the other kids or in an aisle seat.

#9 Children must write with their right hand only. Children who are caught writing with their left hand=one ruler rap on the knuckles. My grandson is left-handed. How many of you out there are left-handed? Why did your parents and your teachers try to discourage you from using your left hand?  Well, superficially it’s definitely tricky when it comes to scissors, desks, or baseball gloves, etc.  However, there is much more: “Throughout much of history, massive stigmas attached to left-handedness meant they were singled out as everything from unclean to witches. In Medieval times, writing with your left-hand was a surefire way to be accused of being possessed by the devil; after all, the devil himself was thought to be a lefty.” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-some-people-left-handed-6556937/#sRfEt5W6qwThI32x.99

Fortunately, today we know not to try and switch a left-handed child to a right-handed one, and thankfully a lot of physical and mental stress for that child is avoided. Handedness is directly related to the brain, and forcing a child to use a side of his/her body may lead to learning problems, frustration, and misconduct—even traumatization.

However, fortunately, the one-room schoolhouses did educate America and still do in isolated areas. Their efficiency and success is attributed to dedicated teachers, peer tutoring, a sense of community, and creative instruction when a paucity of materials exists.

Certainly there were children who did not succeed because of numerable issues–physical and mental problems as well as outlying learning problems that we did not recognize then. We are doing much better dealing with heterogeneous student populations; however, in many cases we still haven’t mastered the understanding and the skills to deal with those differences today.

Below are the Guidelines that teachers and students were required to follow. Some teachers followed every rule while some followed some of the rules. Children without access to water (no well or running stream) were probably unable to fulfill the cleanliness guidelines (#5 and #6), and I am sure the kinder teachers did not adhere to these guidelines as adamantly as less sensitive teachers. However, #7 was probably enforced regularly, especially when it involved dipping pigtails into the inkwell and not the child’s pen.

Desks were expensive and hard to come by. In 1956, I sat in the old-fashioned desks in Fresno, CA, and I often imagined using a pen and inkwell and not my mandatory pencil. Number 15 had to be enforced, because though old and worn, the surfaces of most of those desks in the classroom were free of defacement and carving.

Whether the one-room schoolrooms had excellent teachers or not, the majority of Americans who attended them often had fond memories of their studies and classmates. Unfortunately, those who didn’t fit the mold dropped or were forced out, and their opinions and experiences are not recorded.

Hopefully you enjoyed reminiscing into the past. As a former educator, I would give anything to be a fly on the wall in the One-Room Schoolhouse.

The one-room classroom remains an icon of the pioneer spirit of America. Its purpose was to prepare and assimilate the new citizens of America and later, the new citizens of the American West. Students were well versed in patriotism, practical math, reading, writing, and memorization. Manners and common etiquette were also a part of the lesson plan, and generally for the most part, students learned to be viable citizens, capable of working a farm, a ranch, a household, or small business. Horace Mann’s dream of universal education was realized in the phenomenon of the one-room schoolhouse.

However, what about those kids who were special learners, outliers, or just overly active kids? In the one-size fits all classroom, students had to conform or spend their entire time in the corner, holding up a book, or wearing a dunce hat. Many students probably dropped out.

#4 on list below:  Children must not squirm, fidget, or whine? My first student teacher coordinator made us sit and observe our assigned class before we taught. For an hour, we were to choose a few boys and compare them to a few girls, counting the times they moved while sitting at the desk, either with their legs, fingers, pencils, etc.  We were to mark down every movement. Some of the boys (and a few girls) moved at least twice as much as the majority of girls (natural muscle development), some moved three to five times as much, and one boy moved sixty times more than the little girl who sat like a statue! These boys were typical. They wiggled, pulled girls’ hair, touched themselves, threw spit wads, etc.  And, this is not even counting the children with ADD. How in the world were they able to observe the apparently stringent rules of the one-room classroom?

Most modern teachers recognize these natural and healthy movements of muscle development. To accommodate movement and intellectual interests, there are classroom learning centers, trips to the library, PE as well as recess, class stretches, etc. Children who must move a little more than the other children might sit a bit away from the other kids or in an aisle seat.

#9 Children must write with their right hand only. Children who are caught writing with their left hand=one ruler rap on the knuckles. My grandson is left-handed. How many of you out there are left-handed? Why did your parents and your teachers try to discourage you from using your left hand?  Well, superficially it’s definitely tricky when it comes to scissors, desks, or baseball gloves, etc.  However, there is much more: “Throughout much of history, massive stigmas attached to left-handedness meant they were singled out as everything from unclean to witches. In Medieval times, writing with your left-hand was a surefire way to be accused of being possessed by the devil; after all, the devil himself was thought to be a lefty.” http://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/why-are-some-people-left-handed-6556937/#sRfEt5W6qwThI32x.99

Fortunately, today we know not to try and switch a left-handed child to a right-handed one, and thankfully a lot of physical and mental stress for that child is avoided. Handedness is directly related to the brain, and forcing a child to use a side of his/her body may lead to learning problems, frustration, and misconduct—even traumatization.

However, fortunately, the one-room schoolhouses did educate America and still do in isolated areas. Their efficiency and success is attributed to dedicated teachers, peer tutoring, a sense of community, and creative instruction when a paucity of materials exists.

Certainly there were children who did not succeed because of numerable issues–physical and mental problems as well as outlying learning problems that we did not recognize then. We are doing much better dealing with heterogeneous student populations; however, in many cases we still haven’t mastered the understanding and the skills to deal with those differences today.

Below are the Guidelines that teachers and students were required to follow. Some teachers followed every rule while some followed some of the rules. Children without access to water (no well or running stream) were probably unable to fulfill the cleanliness guidelines (#5 and #6), and I am sure the kinder teachers did not adhere to these guidelines as adamantly as less sensitive teachers. However, #7 was probably enforced regularly, especially when it involved dipping pigtails into the inkwell and not the child’s pen.

Desks were expensive and hard to come by. In 1956, I sat in the old-fashioned desks in Fresno, CA, and I often imagined using a pen and inkwell and not my mandatory pencil. Number 15 had to be enforced, because though old and worn, the surfaces of most of those desks in the classroom were free of defacement and carving.

Whether the one-room schoolrooms had excellent teachers or not, the majority of Americans who attended them often had fond memories of their studies and classmates. Unfortunately, those who didn’t fit the mold dropped or were forced out, and their opinions and experiences are not recorded.

Hopefully you enjoyed reminiscing into the past. As a former educator, I would give anything to be a fly on the wall in the One-Room Schoolhouse.