This study looks at municipal schools in Moravian Wallachia, i.e. one of the most remote and deprived regions in Moravia, over roughly the final four decades prior to the First World War. It is based on archive materials produced by district school councils, district authorities and individual schools (chronicles). It considers schools and teachers to be one of the most important agents of modernisation within the rural environment. It looks at the gradual expansion of the network of schools, and teachers and state authorities’ struggle with high absenteeism in teaching (and the reasons for absences), the school and out-of-school activity of teachers, and areas of conflict caused by teachers’ activities (conflicts with parents not sending their children to school regularly, or with conservative clergy over occupying an intellectual leadership position in villages, and over a conservative versus progressive interpretation of the world).