Gas Lamps

Feb 4, 2007
Denver, Colorado, United States
Gee, now that upholstery must be sanitary. Where's Lysol when you need it?

As for male teachers, at least in the United States, many were single and barely able support themselves (let alone support a family) unless they got a good position at a private school or at a University where they would fare better financially.

Generally, in small public schools across the US, teachers were not paid much. The same situation still holds true in many areas of the US today where a teacher's wage can be as little as $24,000 a year. Keep in mind that the poverty line in the US is currently about $21,000 for a family of 4, although this is just statistics. I don't know about anyone else, and I don't mean to be belittling, but I would find it very difficult to support even just myself on a salary of $21,000 and wouldn't dream of having a family under that circumstance today. I'm just saying that for me, that sum wouldn't work. Others might feel differently.

Kyle Johnstone

>Where's Lysol when you need it?

I guess, technically, we are still on the "gas" topic...

As for single teachers, many of them didn't even own houses, let alone employ servants.
I think it was common for some of them to live in boarding houses or flats?
Or have I been watching too many old movies about the "school marm" or the head-master?
(Good-bye Mister Chips... )
May 1, 2004
Female librarians in Toronto prior to the Second World War were not allowed to continue their employment after marriage. In the '20's, these were not clerks but young women holding degrees. [Clerks were not employed after marriage either.]

Bob Godfrey

Nov 22, 2002
In England also teachers were not well paid, and many were the sons or daughters of 'artisans'. This was the upper rung of the working class, where some parents could just about afford to pay for an extended education for their children beyond the usual school leaving age of 12 or 13. The teaching profession was a means of betterment in terms of respectability, but not in financial reward, at least if the teacher was working (as most did) in the State sector. The typical income for a qualified teacher in a State school in Edwardian England would be around £7 per month, little more than the pay of the firemen on the Titanic. Assistant teachers, who were generally very young and not yet fully qualified, were paid as little as £4. A headmaster, however, could earn £10-£15 a month, depending on the number of pupils in his school. Getting back to the Titanic comparison, that's similar to the pay scales for mid-ranking deck officers.

There was more money to be made (but many less vacancies) in the private sector. Most of the teachers there would have had a comfortable middle class family background and a higher level of education, but were nonetheless socially inferior to many of their pupils. Lawrence Beesley, for instance, was the son of a bank manager and obtained his degree at Cambridge. He became a teacher first at a grammar school and later at Dulwich College, where the children of wealthy parents could obtain an expensive private education. Ben will be interested to know that Beesley's parents could afford to employ two servants, including a nursemaid. I think it unlikely that Beesley himself found teaching to be as lucrative as banking, but in his case it did pay for a 2nd Class ticket on the Titanic. Perhaps a more typical representative of the teaching profession was Hannah Naughton, born into a farming family in County Cork. Her father and brothers worked hard to pay for an education which qualified Hannah to become a teacher. On the Titanic she was traveling to take up a new appointment at a school in New York. And she was travelling 3rd Class.

Ben Lemmon

Feb 6, 2008
What about headmasters of schools in the private sector? Would they be even higher? Is there any possibility that there could have been teachers in the private sector that hail from Ireland? And would the teachers of the schools put their children in the school with them?

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