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The School

Imagine you were a pupil 150 years ago. You would have to come in early some mornings, to light a fire in the tile oven, so that the classroom would be warm enough when school started. You would also have to wipe the chalk dust off the blackboard, clear away snow from the entrance, sweep the floor – and on top of that, wake up the teacher! It was common in the olden days that accommodation, firewood and candles were part of the teacher’s salary, and that the village school building had an extra room, where the teacher lived if he or she was unmarried. There’s a room like that in the village school here at Stundars, which is decorated as an elementary school from the late 1800s. In the classroom, all the pupils sat in rows, with the youngest sitting closest to the teacher’s desk. Another big difference was that you didn’t start school before until you were nine or ten years old, and often didn’t stay for more than four years in total. For decades, it was completely optional to attend school, at all. Those who did, practiced reading, writing and counting with the aid of a slate, ink, and an abacus, as well as posters on the walls and ABC-books. The children brought their own lunch, which usually consisted of milk and a piece of bread, and during the breaks, everyone played games. School lasted only for a few weeks each autumn and spring, and then some of the pupils had a long way to trek home, which they did in a variety of ways: Some travelled by kick-sledge across the snowy fields, while others walked home, skied, or even rowed!