November 10: American Education Week

November 10, 2017

Hello, Black River Falls Community!  This is Dr. Shelly Severson with the School District of Black River Falls, and I'm here to share this week's installment of our Spotlight on Schools!  Today we are going to talk briefly about the fact that the coming week is celebrated nationally as American Education Week.  This is a time when we slow down and intentionally celebrate the work that is done each day in the classrooms, on the buses, on the playgrounds, fields, courts and just about anywhere else you can imagine!  We are very proud of our staff and believe fully that the adults that interact with the children of our community matter a GREAT deal more than any program or resources that we may purchase.  We have a saying in the District that anyone that works with students is considered a teacher, regardless of their current job position.  This means when we use the term teacher, we are truly talking about all of us that work within the district.


In honor of American Education Week, I wanted to quickly share an old document that has certainly been shared over time, but is still appropriate!  There is a list of Rules for Teachers from the year 1872.  While it is incredibly outdated and has not been verified as authentic, it makes for pretty good folly!  

  1. Teachers each day will fill lamps and clean the chimneys.  In today’s version, teachers arrive at school before their students to make sure their classroom is organized and ready for kids each day!

  2. Each teacher will bring a bucket of water and a scuttle of coal for the day’s session.  While teachers certainly don’t have to bring in coal and water to make it through the day, there are countless supplies and materials paid for by teachers each year!

  3. Make your pens carefully by whittling nibs.  Teachers still help to supply pencils, paper, etc. They are not typically making them!

  4. Male teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly.  While the sound of this is preposterous, by the time committee meetings, coaching, and other after-school activities are scheduled, teachers sometimes struggle to find a balance between work and life.  Students sometimes get excited to see their teachers at the grocery store, as if they expect them to always be at school!

  5. After ten hours in school, the teachers may spend the remaining time reading the Bible or other good books.  While classroom teachers spend six to seven hours a day in their classroom, they spend a significant amount of time outside the classroom preparing lessons and materials, scoring work, communications, etc.  It is a job that is never really “done”!

  6. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.  Hah!  What to say to this one...clearly many woman teachers are also mothers themselves.  Some may argue that you become a better educator when you are also a parent.  Perhaps your perspective shifts a bit.

  7. Every teacher should lay aside from each pay a goodly sum of his earnings for his benefit during his declining years so that he will not become a burden on society.  Currently, in Wisconsin, teachers participate in the Wisconsin Retirement System.  This system requires teachers to pay a portion of every paycheck into the WRS.  It’s no longer a suggestion, but a requirement!

  8. Any teacher who smokes, uses liquor in any form, frequents pool or public halls, or gets shaved in a barber shop will give good reason to suspect his worth, intention, integrity and honesty.  While there is certainly no longer a list of specific behaviors such as this, it is common that school staff are held to a high moral standard.  This goes back to the comment earlier that every adult that interacts with students is a teacher, regardless of their job title.  We recognize that students are always watching our interactions.  We have to be careful we are role modeling something that we are comfortable with them seeing!

  9. The teacher who performs his labor faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of twenty-five cents per week in his pay, providing the Board of Education approves.  Let’s hope that teachers can get an annual increase of more than twenty-five cents per week, the cost of living increases more than that annually.


Next week, as we celebrate American Education Week, I challenge you to think back to your own educational experience.  My guess is that you have pictured either a favorite adult that worked at school who had a significant impact on you, or perhaps you thought of a friend that you shared some time with while you were in school.  Please take the time this week to reach out to that person and do some storytelling and reminiscing about the “good old days”!


As always, thank you so much for your support of the School District of Black River Falls!  If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me!  Let’s show our Tiger Pride in all that we do!


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