Country School Journal

Country School Association of America

Country School Journal, Vol. 6 (2018) 

Country School Journal, Vol. 6 (2018)

Table of Contents

Allison Speicher, 1-21

In this article, Professor Speicher introduces readers to the common school narrative, an immensely popular genre of fiction in the nineteenth century. She found 130 narratives that depict schools as sites of both community building and social strife. Rather than portraying idealized, earnest schoolchildren in humble schoolhouses, these narratives depict contemporary problems like school violence and apprehensions about assessment. The plots have common features: romance between teacher and student, violence against the teacher, a teacher who adopts a student, and a spelling bee or school exhibition. Professor Speicher augments her analysis with the complete text of a narrative by Anna MacDonald, “Our District Schoolmaster” (1856).

Key words: common school narrative, fiction, community building, social strife, schoolchildren, schoolhouses, contemporary problems, school violence, assessment, plot, teacher-student romance, adopt a student, spelling bee, school exhibition, district schoolmaster

Beyond the “MotherTeacher:"  How Teaching Became Women’s Work

Nicole E. Green, 22-42

In the nineteenth century, an increasing number of women entered the field of teaching. These women were socialized to view their teaching jobs not as positions of authority, but rather as expressions of their caring personalities. A number of educational reformers argued that the teaching role was essentially feminine:  motherly, emotional, and nurturing. Nicole Green’s focus is not on the visions of these reformers but the voices of the teachers. In this paper, she analyzes the gap between the cultural prescriptions of the era and the thoughts and feelings of women teachers who live in a variety of locations. She challenges the centrality of the “motherteacher” model in order to better understand the labor of women teachers.

Key words: nineteenth century, teaching, authority, caring personalities, emotional, motherly, nurturing, educational reformers, teaching role, feminine, voices of teachers, cultural prescriptions, feelings, thoughts, labor


Keeping Schoolhouses in the Finger Lakes Region of New York State

Christopher Manaseri, 43-72

Today, most historians of education devote little attention to country schools, yet hundreds of volunteers are deeply involved in preserving these schools and educating visitors about their significance. Professor Manaseri is one such volunteer. He studied 39 schoolhouse preservation projects in 14 counties in the greater Finger Lakes region of New York State and recorded, transcribed, and analyzed the oral histories of 60 volunteers. In this paper, Professor Manaseri groups the projects into categories and answers questions about the volunteers’ understanding of what they are doing and why they are doing it.

Key words:  historians of education, country school, volunteer, preservation project, historic significance, record, transcription, analysis, oral histories, educating visitors  

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