Pupil Teachers

In Victorian times, older pupils were sometimes given the job of teaching the younger pupils. They were known as ‘pupil teachers’.

Pupil teachers or monitors were boys and girls of 13 and over and after five years of apprenticeship they could themselves become teachers. It was a monitorial system.

A teacher would select a number of the most promising and they would then be taught by the headmaster in separate lessons after school. The next day these monitors then took a group of boys each and taught them the things they themselves had just learned.

Pupil teachers began working at the age of thirteen because that’s when children could leave school and take up employment. They were paid a small salary – in 1903 male pupil teachers working in London were paid between £19 and £36 per year and girls between £13 and £26.

The Regulations for Pupil Teachers were quite demanding as you will see here.

Back then teachers weren’t ‘qualified’ but learnt “on the job”. Many young students want to go into teaching themselves so why shouldn’t we give them more opportunities to teach others?

Perhaps the idea of a teaching pupil teacher system isn’t such a bad idea for today?

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