Teaching Constant Motion: The Job of Railway Post Office Clerks with Primary Sources

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Teaching Constant Motion: The Job of Railway Post Office Clerks with Primary Sources NEW
Teaching Resource Sections: History of the RPO Love this Job
      Prep, Schemes & Exams  Tools of the Trade Lingo
      Camaraderie & Good Times Final Run Timeline
      LOC Resources Printable PDF booklet.  

Camaraderie & Good Times

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RPO clerks ranged in age and came form a variety of backgrounds and communities, but they all worked together to get the job done properly. If one clerk finished working their mail they would go help the next clerk. It was truly a one for all and all for one atmosphere. They spent hours working side by side in a small area, so they learned the value of teamwork and cooperation. When they had time off away from home they would socialize together by dining out and taking part in local activities. 

Camaraderie & Good Times: Teaching with Primary Sources

The Primary Source:

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The Ideas and Tools:

Students will analyze a photo of clerks using background knowledge and context clues to figure out where and when the photo was taken. They will then take on the role of one of the clerks and write a postcard home to their family about their experiences. Postcard available on PDF.

  • Analyze the photograph paying close attention to the surroundings and what the crew might be feeling. What time of day was this photo taken, after the RPO clerks had finished their shift or was it just before the shift began? Which RPO clerk do you think has worked on the RPO the longest, guess the ages of these clerks.

  • Imagine yourself in this picture. Do you think you could perform the job of the RPO clerk? What would be the pros and cons of working for the Railway Post Office? Pick one of the clerks and write their resume.