Survey for former country school teachers

Questions to Prompt Memories by Teachers

Return to Gregory county Historical at your earliest convenience – Thank you!

Jack Broome, Jerry Peterson, Richard Rubel. Clark Gies, Dave Dobesh, Clarence Shoemaker, Dorothy Boes ,or Doug Spitzenberger

Please answer any or all of the following questions and use back of these pages.

Feel free to add other thoughts you have…tell me your stories!



First                                         Maiden                                                Last

Year of Birth:__________


Street, PO Box                                      Town                                  State    Zipcode

Phone:____________________________                        Email:__________________________________

School name (s): ________________________________________________________________________________

School location: ________________________________________________________________________________

Township                                             Town                                        State

Date of Years taught: (i.e. 1945-53)   19__________through  19____________  Is schoolhouse still standing? _______


Please describe:

  1. What is you background – where you grew up and went to school. [If you attended a country school, please tell that story using the “student” questionnaire questions.] What is your ethnic background and did your family homestead in SD?


  1. Why did you decide to teach at a country school? What training did you have to become a teacher?


  1. Did you stay in the area where you taught? Why?


  1. Were you involved in the consolidation of rural schools? What was your role? How did it affect you?


School Days Stories

  1. Where did you live – at the schoolhouse, patron’s home, teacherage, your own home? How far was the school from where you lived?



  1. How did you get to school – horse, walk, ride, and buggy, sleigh? Did you have any adventures on your way to school?
  2. What did you do in case of storms, blizzards? Were you involved in any major storms? Describe your experience.


  1. What do you remember about teaching your first day of school?


  1. How many students? Were they siblings?


  1. Of the subjects you taught, did you have a favorite? Did you have a least favorite? Did you teach penmanship or SD History? Why or why not?


  1. How did your day start at school, i.e. Raise the flag, Pledge of Allegiance; singing songs – which ones; bell (hand bell or bell tower) to call students back to class; reading aloud, Show and Tell?


  1. Did you bring your lunch to school? How did you carry it? Did you cook it at school?


  1. Did you play with students at recess? What games did you play? Were there ever any rattlesnakes, other concerns in your schoolyard?


  1. Was there ever a need and if so, how were students disciplined at your school?


Schoolhouse Stories

  1. Was there a piano or organ in your school? Did you play it? Any other musical instruments?


  1. Did you have electricity and use a radio, record player, tape player, smartboard, computers, iPads, TV?


  1. Did you have outhouses or indoor bathrooms at your school? Did you look out for “critters” outside?


  1. Did you have running water? How did you get drinking water at your school?


  1. How was your school heated? What kind of fuel was used? Did you have to start the stove each day?


  1. Did you have a telephone at school? If not, how did you get messages to or from parents?


  1. Was there a library in your school? How did you get more books to read? What stories did you read aloud?


  1. Do you remember social events at the school like: Christmas play, box or pie socials, spelling bees, Rally Day, Field Day, Declam? How did you prepare students for contests or programs? How did you decorate at Christmas? Any unique or funny stories?


  1. Did the students participate in parades, community performances? When and how?


  1. Did you go to the schoolhouse for other community events like voting, card parties, weddings, safety in a blizzard?


  1. What do you remember about the last day of school each year? Did you give a graduation souvenir?


  1. What is your favorite story you remember about teaching in country school?


  1. Do you think the education you gave the children was sufficient for high school, college, and to be successful as an adult? Tell me why?


Date form for country school teacher stories completed: _____________________________

*Do you have any photos of you, your students and/or your schoolhouse that you could share? These will be returned to you.

You can use a separate sheet for your answers

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