The salaries for these posts vary from about £80 to £100 a year. They are generally obtained through advertisements in the educational papers.
The qualifications for the teaching of domestic economy are very much wider than might at first be anticipated. A good general education is an essential groundwork. A sound physique is also necessary, so that the candidate for one of the training colleges must not only produce a certificate from some public educational examining body, but also a medical one of physical fitness. In default of the former she will be obliged to undergo an examination in general knowledge before being admitted. Beyond this, a clear enunciation and an educated way of speaking are requisite.
A hint of what the work may be in country districts will show how important to the student is general intelligence and the resourcefulness that results therefrom. In such a county as Devonshire, for instance, where the council is very active and enthusiastic in the cause of domestic economy, the teacher may have long distances to travel by road, and it will take her perhaps half her day getting to and from her destination. When she arrives there she may find that there is no room in the school quarters for her demonstration, and that the inn kitchen or that of the vicarage has been placed at her disposal.
Besides this, she will probably have to carry with her a huge basket of utensils. Such a field may have its disadvantages and inconveniences, but it also has great compensations. The varied experiences are full of interest, and the appreciation that the work of the moment meets with is in itself an ample reward for little difficulties, for villagers will come for miles out of the surrounding country to hear her demonstration.
Such work naturally demands sound health. Students when first starting on their training course find the work tiring. They soon, however, become accustomed to it.
When they are qualified they are expected to teach ten half-days a week, the day at the elementary schools being divided into two sessions. On Saturday, of course, there is a whole holiday. During the year there is a month of holidays in the summer, a fortnight at Christmas, a week at Easter, and a week end at Whitsuntide. In the secondary schools there are the usual school holidays. In the training colleges, also, there are good holidays. Here also the students gradually become accustomed to standing, and the curriculum is specially arranged so that, if. they do practical work all the morning, they will be sitting in the afternoon.
The training for a teacher of domestic economy is a little expensive, but parents are beginning to recognise that, if their girls are to be able to cope with present conditions in the labour market, they must be specifically educated along recognised lines. There are several splendid training colleges in London itself, and others in the provincial towns. In the metropolis there is the National Society's Training College, for which a splendid and perfectly equipped building has recently been erected at Hampstead. There is the National Training School in Buckingham Palace Road, and the Battersea Polytechnic.
The course for a first or second class diploma at the first-named college lasts two years unless needlework is taken as a subject, which will require another year. The advantage of this is that it gives the student more openings when she is qualified, as the three years' course is required for the secondary schools. The first two years are divided up in the following fashion : Cookery, 42 weeks, £30; laundry work, 26 weeks, £10 10s; housewifery, 13 weeks, £8 8s. A. good deal of needlework comes into the housewifery course in the way of household mending. In addition to this the examination fees in each case are £1 5s. The fees for the needlework courses are :
20 weeks' course of plain needlework, £7 7s. 20 weeks' course of dressmaking, £7 7s. 20 weeks' course of advanced dressmaking,
£8 8s. 8 weeks' course of millinery, £4 4s. That is £27 6s. in all.
Railway fares, of course, may be an added expense. A number of students, however, reside at the college for a charge of 15s. a week. No economy can be effected by shortening the ordinary term of years at school, for the reason given before of the necessity of a complete all-round education, and also because no student at the colleges is taken under eighteen years of age. The student has also to qualify in physiology, hygiene, and chemistry, as well as in the other subjects, as she is expected to have a thorough theoretical as well as a practical knowledge of her subjects.
In conclusion, it should be noted that, apart from the openings offered in the field of teaching when she has fully qualified, there is a wider scope for the enterprising girl, and other channels into which her knowledge can be turned. One student, for instance, who started a laundry, was able to retire in a few years on the proceeds with an income sufficient for her simple needs. Another girl, as soon as she had taken her diploma, went round to various villages in the country districts and advertised cookery demonstrations, and did very well in this way. There are also posts available as women inspectors under the Board of Education, or as head mistress of one of the training colleges.
The following is a good institution for the training of girls; Clark's College (Commercial Training).