Mildred Alice, seventh and last of the family of Arthur and Ellen
Bateman, arrived Sept. 24, 1897. She remembers her early life as being
that of an only child in a family of adults, - six of them, and all
were her friends. But, of course, there were no little playmates
either, but these she found in the homes down the street, so she never
really thought about it until much later. Then she finally realized
what a lucky little "kid" she had been, with such a family and such
School and Sunday School
brought their own challenges, with whole new
vistas of knowledge to be explored, and a world of books to be enjoyed
– ever changing as the years went by.
Before teaching in Baldur, Mildred taught briefly at Rosehill and
Holmfield, then spent four years working at the Union Bank in Baldur.
Those four years were not only pleasant but of great value to her, and
she was always grateful for the opportunity which came so unexpectedly.
Most of Mildred's working years were spent in Baldur School, teaching
at various times in grades from III to VIII, and having the opportunity
of working with children who appreciated everything that was done for
them, such as the opportunity of competing in music festivals.
She was also grateful for the privilege of working in Church and Sunday
School; with the classes, the choirs and the women's organizations,
where again she found good fellowship and loyalty which endured through
Mildred came to believe firmly that there is always a challenge waiting
for those who are seeking it, and what is worth doing is worth doing
well. She believes her mother had such thoughts in mind when she
started her little girl's training with the memorizing of the Apostle’s
Creed. What better foundation could she have laid?
A Day in the Life of a
A teacher’s duties in the late 1800s and early 1900s were many, varied
and difficult. Many teachers walked a mile or more to work every
morning, and home in the evening through farmer’s fields, herds of
cows, rainstorms, or blizzards. Some had the luxury of riding horses
for lengthy distances.
Upon arrival at school, the new teacher drew pails of drinking and
washing water from the well, then set them up just inside the front
door of the school. If it was a cold morning she would gather wood from
the woodpile and start a fire. If it was hot she would see to it to
open the windows and door. She might sweep the floor and wipe off the
rough-hewn plank chairs and desks. She would check to make sure the
“privies” or outhouses were tidy and sanitary, and make sure that her
black-laquered plywood blackboard was washed.
Next, she dealt with the arrival of her students, many of them immature
and ignorant. The male students could be much larger than she, and even
older in years—and some resented being there at all, away from farm
work. There could be jeers and jibes, truancy, and general
disobedience. Many 19th-century female teachers complained that
teaching was especially hard when “big boys” flirted, teased or defied
The curriculum usually included reading, writing, basic arithmetic, a
little geography and history. Books were scarce and teaching tools few.
The texts often took the form of moral tracts or primers of childish
virtues and sometimes children were even asked to bring whatever books
were at home, such as an almanac or old textbooks.
The blackboard proved essential as she printed and wrote lessons while
students copied notes onto slates. Most students had to furnish their
own supplies including writing slates and chalk. It would be some years
before scribblers and pencils came into use, and only when there was
money to buy them. In rural schoolhouses, apart from overcrowding,
practical solutions had to be sought to overcome darkness and poor
From the Baldur Gazette Special Historical
Edition, March, 14, 1940:
Baldur's present school building was erected on the old site on the
corner of Main and Government Road in the year 1905. The building of
brick veneer, the basement walls are four feet clear of the ground. A
centre flight of steps lead up to the main entrance of the school into
a vestibule, steps leading to the hallway of first floor, at the end of
which are two cloak rooms and wardrobes. Special attention has been
given to the lighting of the school.