What School was Like 100 Years Ago

Sophia Acuna, Author

It’s 2019, and although we may not realize it, we take a lot of the stuff we have now for granted. 100 years ago, school life for students was very different than what it is now.

Although many students today have part-time jobs after they’re done with the school day, work came before school in 1919. Often times children were sent to night school so they could get an education but still work during the day. It wasn’t uncommon for families to send their children to work in factories or farms to make ends meet–this wouldn’t have passed child labor laws of today.

School was a lot harsher back then, too. If a teacher thought a student was being disrespectful, the student could be punished by being spanked, paddled, or have their knuckles rapped with a ruler. This is actually still legal today in 19 states, mostly southern ones, but thankfully Maryland isn’t one of them.

Back then, classrooms typically combined students from all grade levels. In classrooms today, it’s not out of the ordinary to have combined grades in elective classes that any grade can take, but in 1919 this was the case for all classes like math and English. Furthermore, there was usually only one teacher to teach all classes.

School has changed a lot since then. Education is very important today, and many students go off to college to further their education. In 100 years, a lot can change.