Oral Life Histories of One-Room Schoolhouse Teachers Voices From the Recitation Bench
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This study presents oral life histories of 14 rural Southeastern Ohio career teachers, from early to mid-twentieth century. There are no published oral life histories of teachers from this area. Readers will hear voices telling what it was like to have been a child in a one-room school, learn of the preparation teachers made, and the impact teaching had on their personal lives. The data suggest that small schools accomplish educational goals, are more personable, and more flexible in meeting the needs of children. It is significant that having children in first through eighth grade together was educationally successful and could serve as an alternative method in today's schools. The critical history of rural schooling in the Midwest has been over-generalized, and the stereotypical portrayal has been bleak and dismal. These narratives will correct that impression, and fill a glaring vacancy in the history of education. With 15 pages of photographs.
“The interviewees, all of whom spent their lives in Gallia County, Ohio, included ten European-American women, two African-American women, and two European-American men. All were born between 1896 and 1916, and most were educated and began their teaching careers in one-room schoolhouses between 1914 and 1934. As this cohort of teachers is fast disappearing, Gretchen Duling’s attempt to retell their stories is timely and commendable.” – History of Education Review