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A Victorian Education
The School Day

Hello, I'm Amy, the youngest and my siblings left it up to me to tell you what Amy in orange dressa typical school day is like and the rules we follow. So, let's continue. (By the way, Miss Ellen helped me with my lecture.)

Discipline during the Victorian period was very strict, and even more so in the classroom. Here are some of the rules we must follow or receive raps on the hand with a ruler or being sent to the corner with a dunce cap on our head.

These are only a few of the rules that apply in various Victorian classrooms. Do these rules apply at your school?

1. Students must stand up to answer questions and wait for permission to speak
2. Students must call teachers "Sir" or "Miss" or "Mrs.".
3. Students must stand when an adult enters the room.
4. Students must use the right hand at all times for writing.
5. Girls will learn needlework and boys will learn technical drawing.
6. Prizes will be given for good attendance.
7. Students must not put their hands up unless told they can do so.
8. Students must not ask questions.
9. Talking and fidgeting will be punished.
10. Children who are truant (late), behave badly or do poor work will be caned.

So, what is a typical day like at a Victorian school, you ask? Below is a schedule which will give you a general idea.

A Day in a Victorian Classroom

8:50 A.M. Bell rings, students line up according to height. Boys enter classroom first. Students stand at attention by their desks in silence with boys holding their hands clasped behind their back and the girls with hands clasped in front.

Teacher says "Good morning", students respond, "Good morning". Boys then bow and girls curtsy. Teacher then instructs us to step in front of our chairs.

9:00 A.M. Teacher calls out our names. Each bows or curtsies and answers "present". Teacher inspects that we are properly dressed. Teacher now asks about absences and instructs us on punctuality with reference to future employment and threatens use of cane if late.
9:30 A.M. Study of poetry recitation. Random students selected to recite poem then group recites in unison while teacher taps cane on table to keep time.
9:45 A.M. Non-Christian children asked to leave the room. Prayers are then said.
9:50 A.M. Class begins with discussion on humbleness. We are instructed that we come to school in preparation of future employment and instructed on what we should and should not do.
10:00 A.M. Next comes arithmetic class.
10:20 A.M. Recess
10:35 A.M. The next class is Spelling. The "monitors" are asked to hand out the spelling scripts. Teacher instructs us to sit up straight with hands palms down on the desk and to repeat in unison, the words on the spelling list.

We then review the vowels.

We are asked to read in unison a piece selected by the teacher. When done, the monitors collect the spelling scripts.

10:50 A.M. The next class is on writing. The monitors pass out the writing scripts, slates and chalk. We learn to write in "copperplate" style. Emphasis is placed on importance of good handwriting for those wanting to become a clerk. We are advised not to "blot" our copy books.
11:15 A.M. Monitors collect all materials and we recite the alphabet. We then are instructed to copy the spelling words we learned earlier in the day in our copy book.
11:50 A.M. We now receive our reading scripts and are instructed to read one by one. If we lose our place, our teacher tells us we will be punished.
12:10 P.M. Non-Christians leave. Prayers are then said again and then dismissed for lunch.
Continued on next page


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