Downing's Teaching in the Little Red Schoolhouse

Teaching in the
Little Red Schoolhouse


Lucia B Downing

Lucia Downing (1868-1945) educated at Univ Vermont 1889 began teaching in 1882 at 14. She was free to enforce discipline and design curriculum.

Vermont had no law restricting age of teacher, after her it was 16. The school super was the town doctor. He combined medical visits to areas to school visits, thereby saving wear and tear on car. So if someone was sick the doctor would visit the school. Her sister was a teacher. Like Emma she copied sister. She took a test with the Dr and because she knew Greenleaf's Arithmetic felt confident. Then she did the grammar section which she enjoyed because of her familiarity with Reed and Kellogg. Next was Geography, history and physiology. But it was Theory and School management she did herself proud. She spoke of ventilation and temperature (environment for learning); good govt; firm but kind & gentle with dignity. When she compared her paper with her sisters, she felt she did not know as much as her sister. She got a certificate along with her sister.
At four kids have to go to school. No provision so a school was created in an abandoned school. Her father thought an inquiry was for her sister. He laughed when he realized it was for her. With only 4 scholars what harm could come of it, so he said okay. She would "board out." She was 14. She tried to acquire the schoolteacher look at 14. She learned diplomacy when her first boarding situation fell through and the second appeared. She was addressed as "Teacher" which gave her self-respect and conceit. She spent 6 hours a day in the schoolhouse with four boys and after a fashion a girl join. Short on discipline. The recitation at the end had 25 in the audience and 4 on stage. An entertaining account of a first year of teaching. The second year she had 15 scholars.