Memories of a Georgia Teacher
Fifty Years in the Classroom

Martha Mizell Puckett
Edited by Hoyle B. Puckett Sr.

Personal recollections of teaching in the twentieth-century rural South


"This autobiography of uncommon interest and worth presents a unique perspective on rural schooling in twentieth century Georgia."
—Thomas G. Dyer, University of Georgia

"Memories evokes the sense of community that was so pronounced in rural Georgia during the twentieth century. It captures the way education worked back then, when schooling was not guaranteed by the state, and when local communities were often left pretty much on their own to build and maintain schools, purchase school books, and even put up the teacher."
—Robert Cohen, New York University

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Memories of a Georgia Teacher chronicles the personal and professional life of a principled, resourceful, and deeply religious woman whose career began at a time when state support for primary education was all but nonexistent. Martha Mizell started teaching in 1913 in a one-room, one-teacher school near the Okefenokee Swamp in southeast Georgia. At the time she was barely fifteen, and her formal schooling amounted to seven years.

While Puckett offers a valuable perspective on schooling in the twentieth-century rural South, she also captures the essence of daily life in the communities in which she taught. We read of how she sometimes boarded with parents of her pupils, of how teachers, students, and parents joined together in observance of holidays, of the rituals of school openings and closings, and of how schooling managed to continue through the busy growing seasons. Personal details of Puckett's life also emerge, from her relationship with her parents to life at home with her husband and their eight children.

Martha Mizell Puckett's career paralleled the transformation of small, informal community school systems into consolidated, government supported, bureaucratic structures. Through Puckett's eyes our own are opened--to hard times, certainly, but also to a time of notable closeness and involvement between schools and their communities.

Page count: 328 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

Read more about rural education at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.


List price: $46.95

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Martha Mizell Puckett (1897-1974) was an educator for most of her life. Son Hoyle B. Puckett Sr. is retired from the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He is also an emeritus graduate professor of agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois.