Victorian teachers have long been associated with the cane; yet we have missed that this connection has as much to do with disability as it does discipline. Using memoirs and the archives of teacher training colleges and government education committees, this essay demonstrates the ubiquitous linking of disability with teaching in the early nineteenth century. State intervention intensified this association in 1846 through James Kay-Shuttleworth’s “pupil-teacher scheme,” which provided government funding for working-class children to train as teachers. The rise of national education precipitated a widespread “disability panic,” wherein anxiety about the corporeal health of teachers helped instantiate disciplinary norms for the emergent teaching profession. Showing that an investment in physical mobility was used to regulate the pace and progress of social mobility, this essay argues that resignifying disability was a crucial mechanism of managing class difference.


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pp. 644-667
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