Selected Moments of the 20th Century

A work in progress edited by Daniel Schugurensky
Department of Adult Education and Counselling Psychology,
The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto (OISE/UT)


Teacher contract: "I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married"

This year, Willard Waller publishes the book Sociology of Teaching (New York: Russell and Russell, Reissued 1961).

On page 43, Waller depicts an illustrative school contract.  Waller's thesis at this point in the book is that teachers are supposed to represent certain ideals in the community, and these ideals may vary from one community to another.  In his own words, "The entire set of ideals in their most inclusive form is clearly stated in the contract with teachers in the public schools of a certain southern community are asked to sign. 

The contract follows:

I promise to take a vital interest in all phases of Sunday-school work, donating of my time, service, and money without stint for the uplift and benefit of the community.

I promise to abstain from all dancing, immodest dressing, and any other conduct unbecoming a teacher and a lady.

I promise not to go out with any young men except in so far as it may be necessary to stimulate Sunday-school work.

I promise not to fall in love, to become engaged or secretly married.

I promise not to encourage or tolerate the least familiarity on the part of any of my boy pupils.

I promise to sleep at least eight hours a night, to eat carefully, and to take every precaution to keep in the best of health and spirits, in order that I may be better able to render efficient service to my pupils.

I promise to remember that I own a duty to the townspeople who are paying me my wages, that I owe respect to the school board and superintendent that hired me, and that I shall consider myself at all times the willing servant of the school board and townspeople.

After showing this, though, Waller also notes that this is extreme, so it likely wasn't a representative contract.  Apparently, Waller actually took this from another source, for he cites the following:

T. Minihan, "The teacher goes job-hunting. The Nation, 1927, volume 124, pg 606.

Prepared by Mary Kennedy, Michigan State University, 2004

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