Stories of Some Women Who Have a Place in Canada’s Unrecorded History —The School Teacher

GERTRUDE E. S. PRINGLE April 15 1922


Stories of Some Women Who Have a Place in Canada’s Unrecorded History —The School Teacher

GERTRUDE E. S. PRINGLE April 15 1922



Stories of Some Women Who Have a Place in Canada’s Unrecorded History —The School Teacher


WHAT VOCATION will our daughter decide on, is now becoming a question of as great importance to parents as the old but ever predominant problem, what shall we make of our son?

A mother of four girls under twenty years declared “Betty who has studied stenography is going on to the University to take her B. A. and will qualify for a private secretaryship; Jessie has decided to be a dietitian, Sophy a librarian, and Doris, my youngest, is so fond of athletics that she will become a teacher of physical training.” Is this not precisely as a mother of sons a generation ago would have discussed their probable occupations?

War Made Work Fashionable

DURING the war we all know how Canadian girls as a patriotic duty went into banks, offices and munition factories in order to release men for Overseas service. Many of these girls who had previously danced lightly through life then learned for the first time business habits of punctuality, orderliness and system. They lost their awe for the teller’s cage, and became as adept on the adding machine as they were at the piano. When War ended and there was no .further need for their services they found they did not want to give up this new interest. They enjoyed their work and their financial independence. So to-day many prosperous, well-fixed families, who previous to 1914 would have strongly opposed the idea of their daughters working, are now content they should continue in the occupations they took up during the War, or if these came toan end, in other_ employment.

The Girl Who Wants A Career

IT IS MORE and more the custom for all girls, whether rich or poor, to take some special training and prepare to be

self-supporting, and where nowadays is the girl who once mistress of a remunerative vocation does not want to practise it? For instance there is the only daughter of a prosperous father who was unwilling that his child should work, so told her she might have a trip to Europe but afterwards must settle down at home. When she returned from her travels she

Mrs. Gertrude E. S. Pringle has heen making a study of what the woman of to-day is doing in business and professional life. She has discovered some very unique and interesting lines of work which the modem girl has taken up and she will be glad to give counsel and advice to any reader of MACLEAN'S.

Therefore, if you or any of your friends are in doubt as to how to enter any particular line of business or profession, or how to lay out your business life in the future, write Mrs. Pringle, c/o MACLEAN'S MAGAZINE enclosing a stamped, addressed envelope, and your enquiry will • be given expert attention.

begged to be allowed to study domestic science, as she cared nothing about teas and bridge. Her father, thinking this was the least unwomanly of all the new fads for girls—that was the way he put it —grudgingly gave his assent, and she hied her off to a University and took a dietitian’s course. Poor, old-fashioned father! When he pictured daughter concocting nourishing soups and savouries, she was deep in the mysteries of germs

and microbes. Now she is engaged im research work in a laboratory, which shefinds of absorbing interest.

To-day there are wonderful openings for girls everywhere, and Canada does not lag behind in this respect. Any educated young woman of fair ability and industry can choose from a number of well-paid vocations, and after undergoing special training,, can make a comfortableincome. Indeed in some respects thegirls in this way have an advantage over young men, as they can earn more in proportion to the length of their training than a man after the same time spent in preparation.

A public man of note remarked recently that girls are much more interesting than they were a few decades ago; they move in a wider orbit, and are developing: their own individuality to a far greater extent than heretofore. Certainly they are less conventional, much more natural. There does not exist to-day a girl of thetype of an Ottawa beauty of a past régime who, on being proposed to at a ball, lisped blushingly to the gallant, “Ask Mamma.”

The Days Of Little Choice

THE FORTUNATE daughters of today can hardly realize how limited the field was a generation ago. If a girl had to earn her own living then there were only two occupations she could take up without loss of caste. She might teach school or nurse the sick. Many girls underwent their nurses’, training in large American hospitals and after graduating remained across the border where they were sure of plenty of well paid work. Others there sought posts as companions, governesses and teachers in private schools, and got them at salaries which they considered quite munificent. Through the lack of openings then in this country we lost numbers of our young women to the United States, many of whom formed new ties in the country of their adoption.

In those days few trainéd as stenographers, bookkeepers or librarians, as he demand for such workers was negligible in Canada.

The Early Days of the Woman Teacher

rE ACHING, the oldest profession that women engage in, now offers reater variety of choice than ever before, t is within the memory of living Canadins when a woman teacher was regarded i the light of an extraordinary innovaon. Dr. James L. Hughes, for so many Bars Inspector of Public Schools in oronto, recalls the sensation made 65 Bars ago when the first woman teacher as appointed to a school in Durham ounty. He says there were three school ustees, one named Stark, a grand old ¡otchman who was the secretary; an ishman and Englishman, and, on adversing lor a teacher, fifteen applications sre received. It came as a tremendous rprise when Secretary Stark announced at one was from a “female teacher.” 10th he, “the female is the best writer, r grammar is the best and her spelling the best, and I’ve decided to vote for e female teacher.”

The Englishman replied “I’m not ing to vote for any ‘feemile’ buta ‘mile.’ ” te Irishman chorused “And I’ll vote • nayther male nor female. I want a m.”

However, Mr. Stark won over one jector, and the two forming a majority 3 female teacher got the job. Soon th Irishman and Englishman were dng the credit for her appointment she proved so satisfactory.

More Men Teachers Then

'WELVE YEARS later when Dr. Hughes attended Normal in Toronto far the largest proportion of the dents were men. To-day more women tn men are enrolled, sometimes the mg men numbering a bare half-dozen, those early days the men and girls were bidden to speak to one another and the laities for infraction were severe. In te of this, romance flowered, perhaps the more because of the scarcity of . students. One young student, Hiring a dark-haired girl, wrote on her e, (there were no exercise books n) “I want to be your husband,”

1 boldly signed his name. She respondwith a provocative, mischievous little e. They did not meet until two years ¡rwards, and then in a crowded church ! placed the girl next to the young man. ingely enough, each one had separateformed a plan to attend a different rch than the one they met in, and by merest chance both went to the same . He saw her home, they were engaged H afterwards and then happily married.

Conditions Then and Now

7ITII THE improved facilities of V modern life the work of teaching has ome less strenuous. Schools are betplanned, better ventilated and have ier equipment, adding greatly to the dort of both teachers and children, lough the working hours of teachers the same, their holidays are longer two months instead of one. Salarhave greatly improved. In 1874 pay of a rural teacher used to be $200 ear and they now get a maximum of 00 in Ontario, $1,200 in Alberta,

'00 in Manitoba and less in the •itime Provinces. The initial salary woman teacher in a city school used ►e $324, with very small increases in •pect. In Ontario, city teachers now t with a minimum of $1,000 a year, receive an annual increase of $50 a • until the maximum of $2,000 is fed at. As in British Columbia, the e salary is given for every grade, the or work being regarded as just as imant as the senior.

nailer classes now prevail than was case formerly. Picture the dismay i young teacher 15 years ago just ting in a small town school and being fronted with a wild, unruly throng of jt she feelingly describes as “125 p yelling brats.” It is now the city I ols that have the largest classes with jiximum of 40 pupils, for sadly enough Hg to rural depopulation country ols are apt to contain but a handful 'hlldren.

An almos universal change has come about in the method of training children For coercive punishment there has been substituted comradeship. The result is that discipline is much better and easier to maintain than in earlier days when the rawhide hung handily by the side of every teacher. No more is seen the exciting and unedifying spectacle of an angry teacher chasing an unruly boy round and round the school room to the huge delight of the onlooking scholars. The following story shows the attitude of teachers in the old days towards child training:

An old negro called one day to see a school Inspector and in a very placid manner said; "Mah boy’s suspended. I doan want mah boy suspended. I want him to be licked if he does wrong. Of course I doan want him to be licked the way mah oldest boy was licked by his teacher. Mah oldest boy cum home one day, his little hip was awful cut up, but I didn’t make no row about it. I just got a piece of sheepskin and I had it sewed inside his little trousers with the wooly side in, and after that he took his whippings quite comfortable like.”

Arrival of the Kindergarten

THE KINDERGARTEN was started in Toronto in 1881 and that city was the second in the world to make the kindergarten an organic part of the

public school system. While this branch of teaching may seem to be very elementary, dealing as it does with tiny tots who can just lisp and toddle, there are opportunities for becoming outstanding in it. Some years ago the Swedish Government sent a very cultured and personable lady to visit kindergartens in United States and Canada, and after spending one year investigating, she reported to her Government that the best kindergarten she saw on the continent of North America was that presided over by Miss Duff, in the Queen Victoria School, Toronto.

Once Kindergarten teachers started with $175 a year. Now they begin on a salary of $900 and receive a yearly increase of $50 a year until $1,500 is reached. The road leading to becoming a kindergarten teacher is through the Normal school, where the course lasts one year. Teachers of the 1st and 2nd grades also spend one year at Normal, following matriculation or entrance standing.

High School teaching is a more highly paid branch of the work and requires more thorough training. It also offers a profitable field for University graduates who specialize in certain subjects.

The salaries paid teachers are not uniform throughout Canada, each province determining its own rate, nor are the requirements for teaching the same. However, a teacher who gains her certificate in one province is not debarred from teaching in another.

That modern weapon, the strike, been employed by teachers’ organlzat in New Westminster and Victoria, B and also in Edmonton, Alta., in an ef to gain a higher schedule of sala: In the prairie province the teachers v entirely unsuccessful in their demands.

More and more as the importanc< the teaching profession becomes re' nized does the social standing of teac rise. They as a body are anxious to r the standard of their members, and their teachers’ associations, meeting annual conventions, they work strenu ly to this end, realizing, as one Bri Columbia educator remarked “that improvement in the status of a tea must come from within the teacl profession.”

Miss Mary E. Cherry, Principal Western Avenue School, Toronto, g the following account of how the Ton Public School Teachers’ Association which she is president, came into heir*

"Prior to 1917 the teachers of Ton spent two days in convention once a j as prescribed by the Department Education. The first day was spen grades where methods and the probl of the grades were discussed, second day the teachers met « body and were addressed by a numb* outstanding educationalists. These ne ings were a source of profit and inspirai “In 1917 the City of Toronto, by sj»

legislation, was divided into eight d ent inspectorates, each having its Institute. The teachers of Toronto sidered this separation a distinct lo them and their profession and proceed form an independent association, association aims to raise the status o teaching profession socially and int tu ally, and to safeguard the interes the individual teacher. Inspectors, . cipals. Supervisors and assistants aí enrolled so that the membership t sents practically all the Toronto Teai who number close on 2,000.”

Great are the opportunities women teachers with social vi In rural districts the schoolhouse can centre of community life from v converge uplifting and helpful influe The city teacher is part of a wond organization that promotes the cl mental, spiritual and physical dev ment. There are milk rations serv free dental service maintained, a st nurse examines the children and • them in their homes; the pupils taught part songs and are encourage grow gardens.

Some Representative Teachers

ISS KATE CHEGWIN. whose I qualities command the respect ol community she serves, is one of the le; i public school teachers of Alberta, i principal of the McDougall Public Sc< Edmonton. This is a show school,*

work of the highest order is done there under her direction.

A bright, happy looking teacher is Miss Agnes O. Harlow, principal of Quinpool Road School, Halifax, who after twenty years of work says she enjoys it immensely. She declares, “the majority of people do not realize what a really wonderful work our schools are doing through the faithful, earnest teachers, of which Nova Scotia has many, in training our children in such Christian principles as truthfulness, honesty and fairness. For this reason I think that teaching is a wonderful profession.”

Miss Jessie J. McKenzie, M. A., who is vice-principal of one of the largest High Schools in British Columbia, the South Vancouver High School, has seen it grow from a two-teacher institution to its present proportions. Miss McKenzie is a very highly trained teacher, specializing in English and History. She graduated from Queen’s with high honors, and took special courses afterwards at McGill and the University of California.

Miss Anna Hunter of Perth Avenue School, Toronto, is a veritable magician in the way she trains her class to sing. They won the Double Trio Shield in 1915, and repeated this success in three subsequent years. In 1920 on her entering a Choir, it won the Choir Shield. The following year both Choir and Double Trio contested and won the highest standing. Each year Miss Hunter declares she will stop the work, but the children will not allow her to, giving her no peace until she begins.