Teacher Code of Conduct- 1915

While I was taking grad classes for my education degree several years ago, one of my professors had us read a Teacher Contract from 1915. I remember thinking, “How outdated, I am so glad that these kind of rules don’t exist”.

I can’t seem to verify the authenticity of these rules in contracts for female teacher (they are floating around on several sites with no citation). I believe that all of us can agree, whether accurate or not, that times have changed for teachers in the past 100 years.

image by Magic Foundry

Rules of Conduct for Teachers

  1. You will not marry during the term of your contract.
  2. You are not to keep company with men.
  3. You must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless
    attending a school function.
  4. You may not loiter downtown in ice cream stores.
  5. You may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have the permission of the chairman of the board.
  6. You may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he is your father or brother.
  7. You may not smoke cigarettes.
  8. You may not dress in bright colors.
  9. You may under no circumstances dye your hair.
  10. You must wear at least two petticoats.
  11. Your dresses must not be any shorter than two inches above the ankle.
  12. To keep the schoolroom neat and clean, you must sweep the floor at least once daily; scrub the floor at least once a week  with hot, soapy water; clean the blackboards at least once a day; and start the fire at 7 am so the room will be warm by 8 am

How could an employer dictate someone’s private life (outside their hours of work) in such a way?

Once my initial outcry wore off, I started thinking and wondering how this would translate into today’s society? I believe it is worth taking another look at it from a different angle.

Watch for a  blog post I am working on about the need (or not)  for an updated teacher code of conduct.

What are your thoughts? Is there a need? Do schools have the right to mandate a certain conduct of their employees in their private lives?