One-Room Schoolhouse

Sara Weaver

Where Was It?

The schoolhouses were usually placed in a central location of a rural area so that no kid had to walk or ride a horse any farther than 2 miles.

Exteriors and Interiors


  • Stone
  • Brick
  • Wood
  • Any other materials they could find
  • Usually painted white


  • floors-dirt or wood planks
  • little or no insulation
  • Usually painted white

Students in the Classroom

Expectations for All Students

  • behave
  • be productive
  • be silent while they worked unless reciting lessons
  • memorize a story or poem and recite it to the teacher
  • work on their lessons and nothing else
  • be respectful towards the teacher and other students

Expectations for Older Students

  • bring in wood for the fire
  • start the fire
  • bring in water
  • clean the floors
  • clean the chalkboards and erasers


  • spanking
  • ruler to the knuckles or wrists
  • stand in the corner facing the wall
  • hold a heavy book
  • stand on one foot for as long as the teacher thought was necessary

There was anywhere between 6 to 40 or more students in each class ranging from first grade to eighth grade. The desks were smaller in the front and slowly got bigger towards the back of the room. The youngest students would sit in the smallest desks and the oldest would sit in the biggest desks in the back.

Teachers in the Classroom

Very Strict Rules to Live By:

  1. you will not marry during the term of your contract. You are not to keep company with men
  2. you must be home between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. unless attending a school function
  3. you may not loiter downtown in any ice cream stores
  4. you may not travel beyond the city limits unless you have permission of the chairmen of the board
  5. you may not smoke cigarettes
  6. you may not under any circumstances dye your hair
  7. you may not dress in bright colors
  8. you may not ride in a carriage or automobile with any man unless he be your father or your brother
  9. you must wear at least two petticoats
  10. your dresses must not be any shorter than 2 inches above the ankles

If a teacher didn't follow these rules, they would be dismissed from their duty.

Teachers had to:

  • teach the kids
  • clean the school
  • be the nurse
  • be the counselor
  • prepare for school events

Teachers had to live with a local family until he/she could afford to buy their own house or marry.


  • Chalkboard
  • One or two seater oak wood student desks bolted to the floor
  • Recitation bench (bench where students sat to recite their lessons)
  • Teacher Desk
  • Bookshelves
  • Alphabet posted above the blackboard
  • Picture of George Washington
  • Water cooler
  • Pot-bellied stove


  • Reading
  • Writing
  • 'Rithmatic
  • Respect

Would I Like to Attend This School?

I would not like to attend a one-room schoolhouse. It seems like it would be difficult to get a good education with everyone being different ages and having to share one teacher. Also, the teachers were roughly 16 or 17 years old, and I don't think they would be able to teach the kids everything they would need to know. Another reason I wouldn't want to go to one of these schools is because I feel that the kids wouldn't get a chance to make new friends, and being with the same people and the same teacher everyday, and probably every year, I feel that the students would be socially awkward.


Source #1: Board of Trustees of Northern Illinois University. "One-room Schoolhouse." One-room Schoolhouse: General Information. Northern Illinois University, 2012. Web. 26 Sept. 2012. <>.

Source #2: Pastor, Raymond S., Ph.D. "Rules for Teachers." Rules for Teachers. Bloomsburg University, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <>.

Source #3: "One-Room Schoolhouse." One-Room Schoolhouse. America's Library, n.d. Web. 27 Sept. 2012. <>.

Source #4: "Country School: One Room, One Nation" video