Collin ByersEssay 1: HistoricalFiction1 February 2018Howthe Past was Rediscovered Sworn to secrecy, I left contemporary society in 2018 CEto pursue the greatest historical and sociological experiment ever conducted bymankind. John L. Rury, my dear professor and mentor, charged me one simpletask: travel back in time to the year 1830. Once my time-traveling journeyconcluded, I started a teaching career in a Northeastern rural town, where I taughtuntil moving to a nearby Northeastern city in 1845. Until 1860, I taught 19thchildren, observing a dynamic education system in the midst of reform.
Armed withmy copy of Education and Social Change:Contours in the History of American Schooling by Rury (2016), I set out ona journey to see the 19th century American education system for myself.These are my observations. In 1830, I began my thirty year journey in a little ruraltown called Eagletown, Massachusetts. Being a small and rural town, Eagletown’sclose knit community deeply valued education, similar to many Northern areas atthe time (Rury, 2016).
Though difficult to imagine in 2018, teachers were notrequired to obtain licensure or formal education in pedagogy (Rury, 2016), andas such, I experienced no difficulty finding a teaching job. On day one of mycareer in education, I took note of the school environment. Form a structuralperspective, schooling typically took place in small schoolhouses (Rury, 2016).Similar to many contemporary rural towns, Eagletown’s school was specificallyfor her residents, most of whom attended on a regular basis (Rury, 2016). However,I did catch wind of distant town wherein residents did not take the educationof their children as seriously as Eagletown’s residents, showcasing the ofteninconsistent nature of rural Northern education (Rury, 2016). Throughout my first few years as a teacher, I began topick up general trends in the nature of curriculum in the 1830s. In the early19th century, teachers often moved from one school to another: itwas not uncommon for schools to have new teachers ever few years (Rury, 2016).
Thus, I taught in five different schools between 1830 and 1845. Despite the absenceof the state standards, I often taught curricula that aimed at basic reading,arithmetic, and disciplinary skills (Rury, 2016). Despite being charged with thetask of imparting these skills onto their students, most of my contemporaries knewlittle more than the basic skills they were teaching (Rury, 2016). As such,many of my students experience little thought-provoking stimulation, in favorof a curriculum that generally focused on rote memorization and recitation(Rury, 2016). Typically, I entered into each school day with the same mindset:impart these basic skills into the future American minds, while working toactively shape productive members of society (Rury, 2016). I continued in this simplistic,often disorganized, system of education until midway through my educational career.