Teacher: Amelia Dittman

Teacher: Amelia Dittman 

An early reference to Amelia Dittman appeared in the February 22, 1884 edition of the Washington Standard. There it was announced that she was one ofthe local teacher candidates who passed the Third Grade test. She was 18 years old.

In the September 12, 1890 edition of the Washington Standard, it was announced that “Miss Amelia Dittman has been employed in the Puget City district school.”

That winter Amelia Dittman signed the first of three contracts at the Yelm District. Beginning in January 1891 she would be making $33.33 per month. She would later sign two other month contracts in September of that year and later November. No other teachers were under contract during that time so she was Yelm’s only teacher. This also meant that Yelm ran its schools for nine months in 1891. Following teaching Yelm, she was employed by the Bucoda district in the intermediate department in 1893. At one point in her career she taught at the same school in Olympia as Ada Anderson. Her sister, Emma Dittman rich, was also a teacher in the area.

Miss Dittman was dutifully visited and observed by the county superintendent during each of those sessions in Yelm. The superintendent made no remarks about her teaching. (Remarks by the superintendent were usually not made on the county record, although a later teacher at Yelm, J. M. Keho, received a “Doing well” evaluation in 1897) By the time of her teacher exam in 1895 Amelia had worked for 113 months (This was over twice as much time taught as any other listed on the test rolls) and possessed a 2nd grade certificate. She no longer had to take test.

One aspect of Dittman’s career would seem famliar to the modern teacher and that would be the role of dissipline in the classroom. In 1907, while working at the Lincoln School in Olympia, she was accused of mistreating a student. John Dille claimed that his Dittman had been too forceful with her punishment. The superintendent of the district, John Dille, investigated the accusation. He reported to the board of directors that the corporal punishment the teacher had administered was “deserved,” “reasonsable,” and “mild.” Besides the boy was still attending school and could sit down.

Amelia Ditman was truly a dedicated teacher easily remembered. The daughter of German immigrants, she was already at work as a housekeeper when she was 14 and teaching while still a teenager. When she died in 1947 at her Olympia home. Her obituary recounted her impressive career. In the Olympia school system she had taught at Lincoln and Washington schools for a combined 36 years. This came on the heels of her work in Mason County and rural Thurston county schools [Yelm]. The author of A Diary of the Olympia School District, 1853-1976 concluded that Amelia’s career lasted forty-six years.

Miss Dittman, Teacher, Dies

The Daily Olympian (January 8, 1947)

Amelia Dittman, for thirty-six years a teacher in Olympia public schools, died Thursday nigh in her home at 336 North Sherman Street.

She was eighty-one years old.

Miss Dittman had lived in the Olympia area since 1871, when she came here as a five-year-old child with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Henry Dittman, from Chicago. She was born in Chicago on March 6, 1866.

A teacher in Thurston and Mason County rural schools before starting in Olympia in 1893, Miss Dittman taught in Washington School eleven years, and in Lincoln School, twenty-five. She retired in 1929.

Active in United Churches, of which she had been a member since 1893, Miss Dittman assisted in organizing the first Christian Endeavor. She was a member of Sunset Club and Thurston County Pioneers.

Surviving are a brother-in-law, Bennet B. Rich of Plumb Station, and fourteen nephews and nieces, Mrs. Edith Raymond, Clarence E. Rich and Mrs. Ethel Adams, all of Olympia; Mrs. Minnie Alfredson of Seattle; Mrs. Vesta Hutchko, Puyallup; Mrs. Mabel Vittetoe, Mrs. Bertha Lee and John H. Rich of Sumner; E. A. Dittman of Santa Maria, California; and H. H. Dittman, Ray Dittman, Mrs. Grace Hammersby, Mrs. Bertha Ludington and Lester Dittman, all of Valpariso, Indiana.

Time of the funeral service will be announced by Mills and Mills.


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