The teacher was tasked with the duty of monitoring the health and safety of the school for the well - being of the class. Balancing the School Register was a skill well acquired by the pioneer school teacher. According to John C. Charyk, Syrup Pails and Gopher Tails, "The irregularity of the pupils' attendance, and in some cases their non attendance, was the rule rather than the exception in pioneer schools. Parents kept their youngsters at home to help with the home chores especially during the busy fall and spring seasons. The school enrolment rose dramatically during the winter season when many of the older boys came to school merely to put in time. In 1918, according to the Alberta Department of Education, the average length of the school year in ungraded schools was 162.96 days, and the percentage of attendance, 58.86." "Prior to 1900 there were shorter school terms in a year. Communities may have Summer School Apri1-Oct. 31 and/or Winter School Nov.1-Mar. 31. Any school with 15 children living within 1-1/2 miles (which were usually inside town) would be open all year 210 days. Those rural schools with smaller attendance would open only for the summer term which compromised the children's educational progress as compared to those children in attendance for a full years term. Winter terms were hard to attend in rural areas: children had to share winter clothing to attend winter school, roads were terrible, snow and cold made both roads impassable and school houses too cold, families had limited finances to afford horses etc for transportation. Approximately 1/4 of schools were open less than 150 days per year. Schools are on average 25-50 miles apart. After 1900 Rural schools which consist of 12 pupils living within 1-1/2 miles of the school would attend school year of 190 days...[As of] 1917 School attendance act is now enforced. $10/month fine for non-attendance." -Saskatchewan One Room School District evolution.
with an introduction by Eleanor Kreiser.