Laura Ingalls Wilder’s time spent as a teacher had a big impact on her writing. As she describes in These Happy Golden Years, Wilder taught in small schools in the countryside of what is now South Dakota. While teaching, she learned a lot about the challenges that pioneer families faced, combined with her own personal experiences growing up, and she wrote about these experiences in her books.
Being a teacher also helped Wilder become a better writer. She needed to write in a way that would interest and educate her young students, so she got good at describing things in a way that was easy to understand. But before she became a schoolteacher, she was also effectively working as a teacher already, as it was her role to teach and describe everything to her older sister Mary, when Mary became blind.
Because of her experiences as a teacher, both as a schoolteacher and for her sister, Wilder had a unique perspective on the education system of her time. She knew the difficulties that rural schools and their students faced, and she wanted to help. For example, in “Little Town on the Prairie,” Wilder described how Laura and her friends held their own classroom when the local school closed, showing the resourcefulness of pioneer communities.
Overall, Wilder’s time as a teacher was very important to her writing and her view of the world. Her experience in rural schools helped her appreciate the challenges and joys of pioneer life, and her dedication to teaching young people helped her become the wonderful author that she is remembered as today.