Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Before World War II the economic conditions and the oversupply of teachers tended to build up restrictions against employment of married-women teachers in the public schools. Many school boards went ahead and made board regulations against the hiring of married-women teachers. After the start of the World War II large numbers of the public-school teachers left the teaching profession to enter the services of their country and some to secure more lucrative employment. Also a diminished number of young people undertook teacher-training work in the colleges. As a result of these movements the public schools of our nation were then faced with a serious problem of replacing these teachers. In order to keep the public schools staffed with qualified teachers the communities had to relax these restrictions on employing married-women teachers and invite in the married women who had been teachers. Many of these married-women teachers and invite in the married women who had been teachers. Many of these married-women teachers had been out of the teaching profession so long that their teacher certificates had impede, so that they no longer held valid teaching certificates. The State Department of Education had to make allowances for this situation by rescinding former requirements on lapsed certificates and granted special teaching permits or sanctions to these married-women teachers. The term “married-women teachers” in this study means those women teachers who have attained marital status and are teaching in the public schools in twons and villages of Minnesota which are under control and supervision of the local school boards and public-school superintendents. Throughout this study the “married-women teacher” shall be considered as such regardless of whether or not she is divorced, separated or widowed from her husband. “Permits” are the temporary teaching permissions or sanctions granted to those teachers whose certificates had expired or lapsed before 1941. Mr. F.R. Adams, Director of Teacher Personnel and Teacher Certification for the State of Minnesota, stated to the investigator of this study that many temporary permits were granted during the war years to teachers who no longer met with the standards required. This was done so that the schools would not be understaffed.

In addition to this legal angle as to lapsed certificates the many school boards of the state and many other people had various and probably good reasons why they had built up a negative attitude towards married-women teachers. At present there still exists a shortage of the state. Reports from teacher-training colleges in the state indicate that there remains a shortage for many types of positions since World War II. An increasing number of high-school graduates have been encouraged to enter the teaching field due to improved conditions such as better salaries and pensions. However, not enough candidates are entering the teaching profession to fill the demands of the public schools, especially with large numbers leaving the profession each year and also because rather large numbers who prepare for teaching but never take up teaching. Should a person visit various communities throughout the state and casually inquire of the public about the merits of employing married-women teachers in the public schools he would receive a variety of opinions similar to these: they should teach for lower salaries because their husbands are employed; the place of the married woman is in the home; the married women teachers are taking the jobs away from the single-women teachers. Also, along this same vein the inquirer would hear; the older married-women teachers are more interested in the paycheck than in the teaching responsibilities; family life will interfere too much with the responsibilities of school work; too many of the returning married-women teachers have been out of the teaching field so long that their methods are old fashioned and not up-to-date. Another remark often heard is that the married-women teachers are willing to accept lower salaries than the average salary paid to teachers. Another unpleasant situation arises when married-women teachers have their own children in school who come home and relate some unpleasant situation which had taken place in school. The children may blame the teacher and, as children usually expect the parent to do something about, the mother is placed on the so-called “spot”. Often remarks may be made that the children of the married-women teachers are favored more than other children in school. This too, places the mother-teacher under pressure. Contrary to the above remarks may be heard such remarks as: the married-women teachers are more stable and settled than the single-women teachers; married-women teachers are discriminated against because they are paid lower salaries; some members of the community are jealous of the married women who are working and receiving payment for their work. The married-women teachers further express themselves by saying that they have to work for a living; that economic conditions are such that they cannot live on their husbands’ salaries. Others in the community make remarks favorable to the married-women teachers such as: the married-women teachers are better qualified to teach because of their family experiences which give them a better understanding of the problems of the children. In some communities there is a feeling that really it is fortunate in having the married-women teachers to fill the teacher shortage in the schools. From the views of the married-women teachers the general feeling may be something like this: were it not for the married-women teachers returning to the profession the schools would be unable to operate efficiently; married women, who have had families, are better able to understand the children; the married-women teachers are more stable and dependable; with the increased costs of present-day living the family is not able to live on the husband’s or father’s salary alone therefore, the married-women teacher has had to take up teaching in order to help make ends meet. Some married-women teachers say that they have returned to teaching because they did not like to stay home and do housework. There were many others who answered this question in the survey stating that they like to work with children and because they no longer had children in school felt the urge to return to teaching in order to satisfy this urge or craving.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Women teachers -- Minnesota
Teachers -- Selection and appointment


Includes bibliographical references



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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