This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and the Friends of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Public Library heard a presentation about one-room school houses and how teaching was during that era Thursday.
Retired Professor from Western Kentucky University, Dr. William Lynwood Montell, has written 28 books about the culture and history of Kentucky, including about education in one-room school houses. Speaking with the group, Dr. Montell read the nine rules set down for teachers by the Kentucky legislature in 1872.
Rules included allowing male teachers one night a week to “go courting”, saying female teachers who engaged in “unseemly” behavior or marriage would be dismissed and saying those who were shaved in a barber shop had questionable worthiness.
Dr. Montell read stories about how one teacher often taught multiple grade-levels with often up to 30 students, the games that used to be played at recess and how several school houses didn’t have restrooms.
He says things have certainly changed since then, but he says people should still treat others with kindness and cherish their teachers.
Several audience members shared their stories from their time either attending or teaching at one-room school houses. One man, Jerry Brockman, read a newspaper clipping about the first “school bus” in Cumberland County, which was a horse ridden by five children and driven by his father George Brockman, who was once a city councilman in Hopkinsville.