The Elementary School Act of 1842 changed the conditions for the teaching profession in Swedish elementary schools. It set a minimum wage for teachers, which included housing, firewood and summer grazing for a cow, and established a regulatory framework for hiring teachers. In order to be employed as a teacher at an elementary school, a degree had to be obtained from a teachers’ college. Apart from this formal requirement, teachers were also expected to have a wide range of abilities, far exceeding the elementary school’s minimum level. In addition to having a personality characterized by piety and moral conduct, the future teacher was to have a complete mastery of his reading and writing skills, and should also have full knowledge of the catechism, biblical history, science, geography and arithmetic.
In our paper, Iwill shed light upon the social, economic and cultural conditions under which Swedish teachers lived and worked following the school act of 1842. Special attention will be paid to issues such as the teacher’s wages (in kind and in cash), their living conditions and their position in the local community and relationships with the school district’s inhabitants. The empirical basis of this paper will be found in published statistical data and government questionnaires as well as case studies delving deeper into the realities of individual school districts and teachers.
German Educational Research Association (GERA) Congress, 13-16 March 2016, Kassel