Prior to the 1800s, the teaching profession was an option only for young, educated, white males. It was a part-time job, only available in non-farming months. Teachers were paid in room and board.
Today's education system, with full-time teachers (male or female), began in the early 1800s. The teaching profession became more standardized, requiring teachers to have a higher level of education. This prompted a new salary system that paid teachers in money. This system of pay was based on teaching level, with elementary educators being paid less than those teaching secondary-level students. This was still an unfair system, with female and minority teachers paid less than non-minority males. According to Cowley County Teacher, monthly pay for a female teacher in 1877 and 1878 was around $25.99. This was far less than the $31.52 paid monthly to male teachers.