A person who is both a pupil and a teacher; (British History) a school pupil preparing to be a teacher, whose time is divided between teaching younger pupils and being taught by the head teacher or at a separate establishment.
This system was introduced into England from the Netherlands in 1839–40 and was expanded and improved by James Phillips Kay (later Kay-Shuttleworth) (1804–77). The pupil teachers originally worked as apprentices before taking a scholarship examination to a training college. Between 1907 and 1938 the system was gradually superseded.
Mid 17th century (in an earlier sense). From pupil + teacher.