The profession of teaching in Valencia can be documented from the early thirteenth century, when the freedom of education that King James I of Aragon granted to the Kingdom of Valencia made many people decide to go into teaching. The number of teachers was already great in the sixteenth century, and the profession was enjoying honourable privileges and a remarkable social status, a situation that in the end determined the enactment of ordinances for the teaching function. The council of the City of Valencia issued on 28 November, 1625, the “Ordinacions dels Mestres de llegir i scriure” (ordinances for teachers to read and write), which stipulated, among other things:
…lo saber be llegir i scriure es lo primer escalo i porta per a entrar en les demés facultats en lo temporal com en lo espiritual i lo primer que es deu procurar en una república i més en la present ciutat que los mestres que amostren al gichs sien hábils en dita art i virtuosos i de bones costums i no juradors i de males costums, i així los deixebles ysiran hábils en llegir i scriure i virtuosos tenint bons mestres…
Perhaps the best description of the purpose and aspirations of the institutions devoted to the preparation of teachers is still the one that can be read in the statement of principles of the First Higher Normal School of France, the École Normale de l'an III, founded in Paris on October 20, 1794 (9th Brumaire Year III) by the Convention of the First French Republic:
Article 1er. Il sera établi à Paris une École normale, où seront appelés, de toutes les parties de la République, des citoyens déjà instruits dans les sciences utiles, pour apprendre, sous les professeurs les plus habiles dans tous les genres, l’art d’enseigner.
(A Normal School will be established in Paris, to which citizens already instructed in the useful sciences will be called from all parts of the Republic, to learn, under the tutelage of the best teachers of all disciplines, the art of teaching.)
The French Revolution and its enlightened spirit of education made education and instruction the main instrument to promote the progress and welfare of all members of the new society. The modern secular mentality, bourgeois and utilitarian, led to the need to address civic education and technical culture in school and to adopt a model for the training of teachers, whose history can be found in the Prussian Volksschule. The teacher training model of the French Normal School was formalized in our country in the early decades of the nineteenth century by the decisive action of the enlightened liberals, and the city of Valencia started this tradition with the establishment of its Escuela Normal de Maestros in 1845, in premises ceded in the building of Colegio de San Pablo, block 292, no. 6 in San Pablo Street, where today we find the Secondary School "Lluís Vives'. It was necessary to wait until 1867 for the establishment of the Escuela Normal de Maestras de Valencia (Normal School for Female Teachers of Valencia), the result of the strong support of Professor Mariano Olivet Salom, director of the Escuela Normal de Maestros de Valencia, and the Principal of the University of Valencia, José Pizcueta y Donday .
The long history of the first Normal School in Valencia until its conversion into the current Faculty of Teacher Training of the University of Valencia is a tale of ruin and eviction spaced by brief periods of stability. Since its first location in San Pablo Street, whose poor state prevented access to school on days of rain, the Normal School of Valencia went through the halls of the Industrial School, located on the ground floor of the ‘Casa Enseñanza’, between the streets Arzobispo Mayoral and Sangre, in the old square Libertad, near the present site of the Corts Valencianes, in a local of the no. 9 of the street Gobernador Viejo, again on a high floor of the ‘Casa Enseñanza’, which was was adamantly opposed by the city council, who wanted to occupy it, which in the end they did, at the Colegio San José in the avenue Fernando el Católico, after the dissolution of the Society of Jesus in the Second Republic; in the square San Esteban; the girls in the square Horno de San Nicolás, and the boys in a building annexed to the old hospital in the current Hospital Street, after further generic segregation decreed by the dictator Franco in the failed district facilities Monteolivete, in the public school of El Saler, located in prefabricated pavilions located in San Luis de la Fuente Street, in some classrooms borrowed from the Palacio de la Exposición, near the Paseo de la Alameda, again in Monteolivete, with restored buildings that became property of the University of Valencia in 1982, which finally builds the existing facilities fully integrating in 2010 the current Faculty of Teacher Training in Tarongers Campus of the University of Valencia.
Today, the Faculty of Teacher Training of the University of Valencia maintains in effect the purposes and aspirations of the ÉcoleNormale de l’an III in Paris, welcoming people from all places already instructed in the knowledge of reference and making them teachers able to provide valuable education for new generations of citizens.