Education on the Frontier: Schools, Teachers and Community Influence in North-Central British Columbia


  • Paul J. Stortz
  • J. Donald Wilson


Rural education in British Columbia has traditionally been studied from urban-based perspectives. A more intimate interpretation of rural schools is called for, one afforded by the "window on rural society", namely the remote one-room school and its teacher. What did it mean to be a teacher in a small rural school in north-central British Columbia in the 1920s, and what was the interrelationship between the isolated school, its teacher and the community? The answers to these questions are pursued by looking at the experiences of individual teachers, highlighting the teacher's struggle to adapt to adverse physical and social conditions in his or her private and public life, and examining the community's reaction to the efforts by the Department of Education to improve rural school systems. This case study of a specific geographical region in British Columbia demonstrates that rural schools, along with community politics and society, were often markedly different from their urban counterparts.