Granddad Reflects on His Years as a Teacher, 1900-1917

G.M.C. "Cade" Massey

G.M.C. “Cade” Massey

My grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, left memoirs of his life, starting with growing up in rural East Texas. Here I have gathered some fragmentary pieces from the text where he shared some thoughts about his time as a teacher and an in-demand disciplinarian, as well as why he left the profession after nearly 20 years.

When I began to teach School there was not a graded school in the country schools. But in the course of about Nine years I found myself teaching the school that I learned my letters in, about 22 years before that time, And our Co. Supt: That had been my teacher at that same place when I was 14 years of age; and he instituted the graded System in our country schools, and we all worked together to accomplish the Purpose that He sought; And in a very few Years, we had a very good system going. And what an advantage it was over the old system!


Pleasant Grove is the place that we lived when I married, and moved back to Yantis Where we had moved from six year prior. I had taught School there in the community the year before, and was contracted to teach another School in the same district. I had won my first Certificate in April of the Year 1900. When I took the examination for the Second Grade certificate; My Teacher said that I would make a better grade if I was taking the examination for a First Grade certificate. But that made the examination too long for we had to take it on 17 subjects; And we only had the same time to take it in that we had for the 13 that was required for A Second Grade certificate.


And I taught that school for two terms. In fact there were Five schools in that school district and in my teaching career I taught all of the school that were in the district and I owned my home in that district, and my wife and I was reared there in the district, and We felt very much at home.


Well I taught out the Life of my first certificate. And went to a Spring Normal at Mt. Pisgah, And underwent another Examination for a Second Grade certificate. And I made GOOD, and went on to the Summer Normal at GILMER, Texas, And built it up to a first grade; And that allowed me to contract at a better Salary, At that time a man could only draw $60.00 per month on a Second Grade Certificate; And under a First grade certificate he could draw as much as $75.00 per month: Unless the school district had a special Tax to take carte of the over plush. And as a natural consequence, By this time our family was accumulating. As the years went by, and we had two children, A girl, and now a boy.

Then my wife decided that if I was going to keep on teaching that she was going to go to school to me, and stand the examination, And would help me teach till we could get ahead; And we taught that way for two years till another Boy came along. And by this time we had paid for the Farm that I had bought in 1907.


When this trouble that I had had and the way that it had turned out, For our Sup. Of public schools had been my Teacher in the 13th and 14th year of my life, had to publish it at the teachers Institute, So that it was known throughout the Co. And when there happened to be an Incorrigible School in the county; There was a demand for a strict Disciplinarian. I always got a chance to call on the trustees of that school and there were always an offer of a salary that went beyond the limit of the law at that time; And there was always some of the Interested patrons that would agree to make up the required amount that was needed to make my choice. After a few years of this kind of solicitation; I did not respond to such calls. As I was worried with being a peace officer in a community, as well as a teacher of the school I really liked the money, that it made me; But I did not like the responsibility that went with it. The most of my teaching career was spent in the district in which I grew up. I began my teaching at $35.00 per month. And when I quit, In 1922 I was drawing 150.00 and had drawn much more at times.

I really like the teaching profession; But at the time that I quit it, and Entered the government service there seemed to be no future to the profession, And there had been no arrangements made for a teacher when he was laid on the shelf, or to retire when you reached your Senility.

About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
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