Tripwires and Whisky Tenors: Student-Faculty Relationships in Alberta’s Normal Schools During the 1930s
For the first half of the twentieth century, most prospective teachers in Alberta pursued certification by attending provincial normal school in Calgary, Camrose, or Edmonton. “Normalites” (as students called themselves) formed relationships with instructors that proved significant in their personal and professional lives. Faculty members acted in loco parentis as they guided students transitioning from learners to teachers. Instructors fostered typical notions of gender and the idealized teacher model, and their relationships with students characterized student life. Drawing upon Robert Patterson’s Project Yesteryear questionnaires, yearbooks, and annual reports, this article examines the social worlds of normal schools. Educational historians in Canada have long examined student life and culture, but more work has focused on universities than normal schools. This study suggests the importance of survey accounts and student-produced documents as ways to enrich administrative perspective of histories of student life.