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Home > Civil War Sesquicentennial > Edward P. Weston Transcript

Edward P. Weston Transcript

Male and Female Teachers

The number of female teachers employed in the winter instead of male teachers is gradually increasing. The true doctrine is, that a lady teacher with superior qualifications is better than a male teacher of indifferent qualifications at the same price. But is any districts have employed ordinary female teachers in place of ordinary male teachers, for the purpose of saving a large part of the wages of gentlemen, they have found, or may find, that they have lost more than they have gained.

In response to the inquiry propounded by the blanks of last year, “What is the result of your experience in employing female teachers in winter schools formerly taught by males?” very different answers have been received. The towns may like to know what has been the experience of other towns where the experiment has been tried. Chesterville responds: “Other things being equal, we prefer male teachers for schools having more than twenty scholars; but some female teachers are better than some male teachers any how.”  Farmington says: “A success.” Strong, “Very good.” Freeman, “Four out of ten schools were taught by females with good success.” N. Vineyard, “Our experience shows unsatisfactory results.” Salem, “Not favorable.” Weld, “Our experience has been against it.” Phillips, “They have been quite equal to the males.” Cumberland, “Very successfully.” Cape Elizabeth, “Favorably.” Standish, “Not very favorable.” Castine, “Good.” Trenton, “Very favorable.” Surry, “Good satisfaction in every instance.” Bucksport, “Good, generally; although the change is carried too far for discipline.” Blue Hill, “Satisfactory.” Gouldsboro, “Generally a disadvantage to the schools.” Mount Desert, “Unfavorable.” Tremont, “Good.” Chelsea, “In most cases the result has been favorable.” Belgrade, “We think it is not beneficial to most of our winter schools.” China, “Some succeed well.” Clinton, “Satisfactory.” Fayette, “They have taught with as good success as male teachers.” Gardiner, “In many schools we find female teachers to be quite as successful as males. In one instance, a female has succeeded where male teachers invariably failed. There are, however, some scholars who need to be subdued by the physical strength of a man.” Litchfield, “We think the result favorable, giving a larger term of school and better teachers, as only the better class of female teachers are employed in our winter schools.” Manchester, “In some instances we think the change for the better, but not generally.” Pittston, “It has been very favorable with us.” Readfield, “They have met with equal success.” Rome, “Middling good.” Wayne, “Very good in most of our schools.” West Gardiner, “Satisfactory.” Winslow, “They generally succeed quite as well, if not better.” Winthrop, “Generally satisfactory.” Appleton, “In some districts female teachers do very well; but, on the whole, we think that male teachers do the best.” Camden, “Would prefer an efficient female teacher to an ordinary male.” South Thomaston, “Three female teachers were employed in those town last winter, who were quite successful.” St. George, “Schools taught by females last winter were the best in town.” Warrren, “In most cases a failure.” Bremen, “Satisfactory.” Damariscotta, “Tried in one case only, with fair success.” Dresden, “The result generally has been very satisfactory.” Jefferson, “Good, but the schools were easy to govern.” New Castle, “The schools taught in this town by females last winter were successful.” Nobleboro, “We are in favor of employing them in small schools, consisting of small scholars.” Shapleigh, “In the three schools taught by females, the result was very good.” Parsonfield, “As far as we tried in our town, we think the result has been favorable.” Newfield, “Satisfactory.” Acton, “They have generally been successful.” Berwick, “Very satisfactory in most cases.” Buxton, “Not entirely satisfactory.” Eliot, “The results are not favorable.” Kennebunk, “In small schools generally they have been quite successful.” Kittery, “Favorable.” Arrowsic, “Dissatisfaction.” Bath, “Generally favorable to the female teachers.” Georgetown, “Unfavorable, with a few exceptions.” Bowdoinham, “Failures and successes about equal.” Shirley, “Good.” Sangerville, “Satisfactory.” Parkman, “Equally as good.” Orneville, “Favorable where schools are small.” Milo, “We think favorably of employing females.”  Monson, “Very satisfactory; generally preferred on account of the small number of scholars and small amount of money, but quite as acceptable from other considerations.” Greenville, “In some cases females have done well; but we think, as a general practice, that male teachers would better be employed in the winter schools.” Guilford, “Our schools have been very much injured by employing female teachers in the winter schools.” Barnard, “Our schools are small, and we think female teachers equally as good as males.” Atkinson, “We think it rather an improvement.” Testimony of a similar kind is found throughout the returns and similar statements, more or less at length, in the extracts from town reports.

We gather from them that the experiment of employing competent female teachers in the winter schools is on the whole successful, and in most cases a decided gain. In the increasing scarcity of male teachers, well qualified ladies will necessarily come into greater demand for this work, and they should be encouraged to acquire the best possible training for the business. At the same time we shall regret to see our young men wholly abandoning the employment, It is hoped that peace will restore the ranks of the profession many very competent teachers and disciplinarians who have been serving their country in the armies of liberty and union.