Only men were aloud to be scribes. They came from all classes of society. Most scribes worked for the government. Others worked for priests or nobles.
They wrote down the results of the government census, which counted the people living in Egypt. Legal scribes recorded court cases and helped enforce laws. Some scribes calculated and collected taxes. Boys who wanted to become scribes had to attend scribe schools. The schools were run by priests. Most students came from artisan or merchant families.
Students had to memorize over 700 hieroglyphs. They spent as many as four years copying the signs, over and over. They practiced their writing on pieces of wood, flakes of stone, and even broken bits of pottery.
As their skills were improved, students were allowed to write on papyrus, a type of paper made from the papyrus plant.