What are some harsh penalties in school

When grandma's grandma went to school

There is one for this learning story Learning plan with tasks and additional material.

1 When Kaiser Wilhelm ruled l 2 people moved into the city l 3 Child labor l 4 The village school from 1848 l 5 Schools in the country l 6 A school in the city l 7 An old timetable l 8 The scriptures l 9 Penalties and rewards l 10 School supplies l 11 elementary schools and "secondary schools"

1 When Kaiser Wilhelm ruled

Most grandmas today are 50 to 60 years old. When grandma was born, her grandma was also around 60 years old. Grandma's grandma lived around 120 years ago at the beginning of the 20th century.

About 60 million people lived in Germany 120 years ago; today there are around 83 million. At the head of the country was Kaiser Wilhelm II, who ruled the country from Berlin. He loved uniforms and soldiers.

Numerous inventions had changed the world. In 1852 the Krupp company built the first seamless railway tire. In 1867 Werner von Siemens presented a generator that could generate electricity. In 1885 Carl Benz built the first car with a gasoline engine. In 1897 Conrad Röntgen discovered X-rays, which could be used to examine the human body.

The main mode of transport was the railroad, but many vehicles were still drawn by horses. The new technology created large factories and many new technical devices. It was the time of the industrial revolution. Commercial aircraft, computers, televisions and the radio were still unknown.

A family in 1900

Rich manufacturers built magnificent villas

Kaiser Wilhelm II was at the head of the German Empire. He loved soldiers and uniforms.

The Maurer Union company built 300 to 400 such cars per year in Nuremberg from 1900 onwards

2 people moved to the city

Factories sprang up that needed workers. Many people moved from the countryside to the cities in the hope of finding work there. The population of the cities rose sharply. In 1871 there were a little more than 51,000 inhabitants in Essen, in 1900 it was almost 120,000. The working time was more than 60 hours a week. The wages of the workers were low. The employees who worked in offices fared a little better.

A family often had more than 10 children. Many died early. Tuberculosis, also known as "consumption", was a dreaded disease. On average, men were 47 years old at that time, women 49 years old.

The people in the cities often lived in tenement houses with many small apartments or in workers' settlements. It was tight in the apartments.

Some factory owners got very rich. They had large villas built for themselves, which were just as splendidly furnished as the castles and palaces of the noble families.

Donatus union, Liblar near Cologne, with a lignite mine, briquette factories, workers' housing estate. Around 1900 747 workers were employed here.

Company apartments of the glass factory C. E. Gaetke in Hamburg

It often looked like this in the villages around 1900. Farm wagons and dung heaps lined the streets.

Factory owner Alfred Krupp had the Villa Hügel in Essen built for himself.

3 child labor

Almost all children had to work back then. They ran errands, delivered goods or helped in the camp. They brought drinks and food to the workers who worked in the workshops, factories or mines.

In the country, children looked after the cattle, helped with the harvest of hay, potatoes, and grain and with threshing. Most were only 14 years old when they left school. After that they worked like adults in a factory or as craftsmen.

They were not allowed to keep their earnings, but had to give it to their parents and help to support the family.

These boys worked in a factory

4 The village school from 1848

The Swiss painter Albert Anker painted a picture he called "The Village School of 1848". It shows a school around 170 years ago, at the time when grandma's great-grandmother lived.

There are around 40 children in the room. They sit on narrow wooden benches. All classes are taught together. The girls behave very well. The boys on the back bench, however, are hardly interested in the class.

The teacher is holding a stick. Tools are hanging on the wall. It tells us that the teacher was also a cooper, a barrel maker. In the morning he taught the children and in the afternoon he made wooden barrels.

It was customary at the time for teachers not only to work in school, but also to have a part-time job. Many could not have made a living from their low earnings as teachers.

The village school from 1848 - (Alfred Anker)

5 schools in the country

In 1905 the village school in Wilsum in Lower Saxony consisted of 2 classrooms for around 150 children. The school building also had an anteroom and a chamber. One classroom was 9 m long and 7 m wide. There were 16 boys 'and 16 girls' benches in 4 rows, a desk for the teacher and a card stand.

The school's equipment included 2 blackboards with frames, a cupboard and 2 stoves that were heated with wood and peat. The gymnastics equipment, 2 bars and 1 horizontal bar were on the school grounds. The toilet block stood next to the school.


In school museums, classrooms from that time are recreated. In the museum village in Cloppenburg, for example, the school in the village of Renslage has been rebuilt as it looked around 1880. In the only classroom of the school there were school desks, teacher's desk and school cupboard.

On the wall were pictures of the Swedish King Gustav Adolf and Martin Luther. The room was equipped with a calculating machine, a blackboard, a small harmonium, and a stove.

This school in Wilsum received a second classroom in 1904. The toilet building stood apart.

Classroom of the Renslage school in the museum village of Cloppenburg.

The children sat in pairs in such benches

A school class in 1904 with their teacher.

6 A school in the city

In the "Katholische Volksschule Bickendorf" in Cologne, teaching was carried out in 3 shifts because almost 2000 children went to school here. There were 32 classes, 16 girls classes and 16 boys classes. The boys had their own entrance and their own school yard.

Boys and girls were taught separately. There were about 60 boys or girls in one class. The girls were only allowed to come to school in dresses and aprons.

The teachers were very strict. Harsh punishments were common. There were only a few female teachers in the schools. At that time they were called "Fräulein" and were forbidden to marry. If they did so anyway, they were dismissed and they did not receive a pension later.

Teaching staff of the Voksschule Bickendorf. Teachers were not allowed to be married and were called "Fräulein". - Image: Borsig secondary school

A girls class from the elementary school in Bickendorf on an excursion. Girls would have to come to school in dresses and aprons. - Image: Borsig secondary school

7 An old timetable

The main teacher at the school in Wilsum wrote down a timetable for his school in 1917. This also included the autumn break, the Christmas break and the end of the school year. The children went to school for 8 years. They were divided into two departments. Classes 1 to 4 belonged to Department I, Classes 5 to 8 were made up of Department II.

The school's 150 to 160 children were taught by two teachers. One lesson lasted 55 minutes. There was a 5-minute break between the lessons, as well as a main break of 15 minutes. There were 4 hours of instruction in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon. The children in Division I had Saturday afternoon off, those in Division II on Wednesday afternoon.

The subjects were reading, arithmetic, dictation, biblical history, geography, history, gymnastics, singing, drawing, handicraft (only for girls), spatial theory and natural science.

8 The writing

The children wrote in the German script. The children learned the i with a rhyme: up, down, up, dots on it!

Great care was taken to ensure that they wrote neatly and tidily. There were extra lessons for practicing calligraphy. Some people say that children's fonts looked better then than they do today.

In the picture at the bottom left you can see all the letters of the German script. A 9 year old girl wrote the text next to it in his calligraphy and spelling notebook:

 
The railroad is a means of transport. The locomotive moves the train. The same consists of a pack or passenger car. There are freight and passenger trains. The train moves on the track or on the rails. The trains stop at the stations. The train crew includes the engine driver, the stoker, the conductor and ...

9 Penalties and Rewards

A representation in the crime museum in Rothenburg shows how children used to be punished in school. It reminds of a time 250 years ago. Grandma's grandma wasn't born then. But she will have experienced some things in her school days.

Even in her day, children were beaten and humiliated as punishment. Corporal punishment was mostly forbidden 120 years ago, but it was still used.

Children who were rewarded were allowed to sit in front of the teacher. Sometimes they were entered in a special book or they were given a small picture, a "diligence card", sometimes a devotional picture with a representation from the biblical stories.

The examples from Rothenburg:

1 This child has to stand in the corner.

2 Sometimes there were blows with a stick on the bottom or on the fingers.
3 The child is kneeling on a log. It was very painful.
4 This boy is wearing a donkey hat and is sitting on a disgrace. Probably he hadn't studied hard enough.
5 Children were put in jail for particularly serious offenses. That was a locked corner in the school building.

10 The school supplies

Grandma's grandma used a slate at school on which she wrote with a “stylus”. With a sponge she could quickly wipe away what was written. Grandma's grandma was used to walking to school, often several kilometers.

Bicycles for children did not yet exist. In the country, the children wore wooden shoes that were taken off in the anteroom at school.

The school bags were sometimes made of oak, sometimes of leather. In it the younger children kept a slate and pen box, the older ones writing exercise books and the catechism.

Slate with stylus and sponge.

A leather satchel.

11 "higher" schools

200 years ago, many children in Germany did not go to school at all, or lessons only took place in winter. After all, compulsory schooling was introduced in almost all German states, and since then all children have had to go to school. In the time of Emperor Wilhelm, most of the children went to public schools, which were called elementary schools.

In many places, however, there were private schools long before that. They often referred to themselves as "Latin schools". Some of these schools later became secondary schools or grammar schools. For a long time these “higher schools” were only open to the children of nobles and wealthy citizens. Girls were not even allowed to enter these schools.

Later there were classes only for boys or only for girls. Or schools only for girls were founded, for example in Bad Tölz in Bavaria.

Much more could tell about grandma's school. For example about the school fees that the parents had to pay, about the long hikes that were common at the time or the celebrations for the Emperor's birthday or on Sedan Day. You can do a little more research ...

The Melanchthon-Gymnasium in Nuremberg is considered to be the oldest gymnasium in the German-speaking area. The school was founded in 1526.

In Bad Tölz, this former schoolhouse is only for girls.

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