School Teacher Children were often scared of their teachers because they were very strict. Children as young as thirteen helped the teacher to control the class. These “pupil teachers” scribbled notes for their lessons in books .They received certificates which helped them qualify as teachers when they were older. In schools before 1850 you might see a single teacher instructing a class of over 100 children with help of pupils called “monitors”. The head teacher quickly taught these monitors, some of them as young as nine, who then tried to teach their schoolmates. Salaries were low, and there were more women teaching than men. The pale, lined faces of older teachers told a story. Some taught only because they were too ill to do other jobs. The poor conditions in schools simply made their health even worse. Sometimes, teachers were attacked by angry parents. They shouted that their children should be at work earning money, not wasting time at school. Teachers in rough areas had to learn to box!
School Pupils After 1870, all children from five to thirteen had to attend school by law. In winter in the countryside, many children faced a teeth chattering walk to school of several miles. A large number didn’t turn up. Lessons lasted from 9am to 5pm, with a two hour lunch break. Because classes were so large, pupils all had to do the same thing at the same time. The teacher barked a command, and the children all opened their books. At the second command they began copying sentences from the blackboard. When pupils found their work boring, teachers found their pupils difficult to control.
Punishment Cane Teachers handed out regular canings. Schools kept “punishment book” that every teacher would have to write in, and the reasons for the use of the crane would be: - rude conduct, - leaving the playground without permission, - sulkiness, - answering back, - missing Sunday prayers, - throwing ink pellets - being late Boys were caned across their bottoms, and girls across their hands or bare legs.
Punishment Dunce's Cap Punishment did not end with caning. Students had to stand on a stool at the back of the class, wearing an arm band with DUNCE written on it. The teacher then took a tall, cone-shaped hat decorated with a large “D”, and placed it on the boys head. Victorian teachers believed that all children could learn at the same speed, and if some fell behind then they should be punished for not trying hard enough.
Drill When its time for PE or “drill”, a pupil teacher starts playing an out-of-tune piano . The children would jog, stretch and lift weights in time to the awful music. The teacher would ring a heavy , brass bell to announce the end of school and the pupils march out to the playground in perfect time
What is a writing slate? Victorian children were taught to write at first with a tray filled with sand. They would copy a letter from the blackboard in to the sand with their finger. All children had to write with their right hand. When they could form the letters the children would write on a slate board. The teacher would check the children's work and the children would wipe the slate clean. This is where we get the saying, 'to wipe the slate clean' from. As children became older they were taught to write in copperplate handwriting. The children had to copy words and sentences from a copy book. As they used pens which had to be dipped in to ink, it was easy for the ink to splatter on the page. You would be punished if you did this.