In the Museum’s oral history collection, we have a wonderful story about a new teacher arriving from the city, around 1910. The school trustees had wanted get a male teacher, thinking a man would be a better disciplinarian. But teachers were scarce, and the school board ended up hiring an 18 year-old young woman fresh out of school. What did she know about managing a classroom of energetic boys? Jake Hintsa, one of the trustees decided to sit in the class for the first few days. Apparently, Jake was big, broad shouldered and powerful as an ox. The trustees knew that if any of those kids started to act up while Jake was there, he would toss them out the door.
Imagine, it’s the first day of school. The children file into class with their lunch buckets made from lard pails and syrup tins. The teacher stands on a platform at the front of the room, blackboards of painted wood behind her. The children sit down in pairs in hand-made wooden seats after putting their lunch pails and coats away in the cupboard. Perhaps some of the boys were eyeing Jake, wondering what he was doing in the room.
The teacher calls the roll, introducing herself. The young teacher made then made the message very clear: not only am I your teacher, I am your boss and I will not tolerate any nonsense. Here is your first assignment. The message seems to sink in, as the students promptly bend their heads, attending to the given task. After an hour of quiet, Jake shrugged his shoulders and left, saying “I’m not needed here”. It must have been a great disappointment when she got married and left the coast at Christmas.