Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

him, upon which he pulled out his note-book and showed me his treasures, as he called them. They consisted of a number of photographs of relatives and friends, a ring made of hair out of the tail of Gen. Lyon's war horse, a few autographs of well-known officers, and a couple of pen and ink sketches of camps.

“You see, I like a memento of the places I have been in,” he said, referring to tte latter," these were drawn by a German boy before we left Missouri. Your card will go with them, it will remind me of our brief stay in Chicago."

All the men had numerous photographs of relatives, friends and sweethearts, and some had packages of letters almost too large to be stored by them. Being on their way to the east, where a concentration of troops is taking place, they may never see their beloved ones again, and so they cannot make up their minds to leave their often bulky treasures behind.

The men expected to leave that night, but did not start until the afternoon of the following day, and the children were pretty lawless, being excited by the noise without and the heat within. Dummy Jim remained invisible that day, but the others, who felt wronged in not being allowed to follow his example, were more unruly than usual, and I felt obliged to take up the rod again. And ever since I have had frequent occasion to use it. Mr. T. is triumphant and compliments me on my improved method. Alas! I fear it shows, first, the reverse of improvement. Still, I cannot deny that the good pupils seem even better than before, since they have seen that I am able to enforce obedience—but it must be also confessed that the troublesome scholars have grown worse and see in me no longer their well-wisher and friend.

Altogether, the past month has been a trying one. For two weeks, regiments or parts of regiments, would occasionally make their appearance at the depot, camping there for a few hours--one staid there two days—and although the veterans were almost uniformly kind and polite to UB, their

presence was a source of annoyance to me, as the children were restless, and sometimes got into trouble with a few of the rougher men. Unluckily, Mr. T. made some sarcastic remarks concerning the soldiers, in the hearing of the children, and one of the boys who fraternized with the men, told them of it. This occasioned quite a row, the insuited heroes declaring that they would “smoke that old spiderlegged Squeers out of his rickety old shanty,” However, the storm blew and

peace was restored when the last soldier left. Am I satisfied with my work? No! It seems as though I worked in vain, and all I have accomplished is, to produce a semblance to order.

over,

My daily audience is like the population of this great city, coming and going, like the shifting quicksand on which Chicago is built. The work I have commenced to-day, will be undone tv-morrow, by a change in the namber and individuality of my pupils, and I can do nothing to stop this loose attendance. Here are some of the excuses offered for absence: “ Split wood.” “ Went on errands.” “Minded the baby." “ Unzle came to see us.

“ Was sick." “ Moved.” They say it is generally the teacher's fault if his pupils are dilatory and often absent. I wonder if this rule holds good among the poor of large cities. I have visited a number of parents of chronic absentees and have everywhere heard that it was impossible to send the children regularly. The reasons given are numerous, and generally indisputable, and I feel utterly powerless to counteract this tendency to utilize the children at the cost of their education. When I complain that I cannot do my duty, and that the children learn next to nothing, I often hear the reply, “Why, my children are doing well with you. I think they are getting along nicely. Just teach thein as much as you can, it is all they will need."

Of course it is useless to argue with ignorance, but my heart is full of pity for those poor, ill-taught children, whose only portion will be their education—it is hard to be denied even that.

SUCCESS IN TEACHING.

PART I.

BY H. PFUND, ALMA.

[Read before the Teachers' Institute, Fountain City, Sept. 27, 1871.) Success, in the common acceptation of the term, means either wealth or position, or both. With the teacher, the word has a different meaning. The most successful teacher will never amass a fortune from his earnings, and this fact alone, if nothing else, would consign him to a station low and humble in a country where the social standing of a man is defined by the state of his purse. But the other means of rising to position, i. e. influence and control over the public mind, is also denied him. He does not deal directly with the adult population ; his labors do not affect the present state of society as much as the future ; and for these reasons educational affairs never command that universal interest that financial or political questions do, nor will the most earnest and faithful services in teaching, continued for years, attract the public notice, or secure the fame and position incident to a single eloquent, well-timed political address, or a public act furthering the financial interests of a community.

Success with the teacher does not relate so much to the benefits accruing from his labors to himself as to those committed to his charge. Success in teaching means : Giving the youth, in the most expedient manner, that harmonious education of mind and heart, which is the condition of individual prosperity and the foundation of our Republic.

It is evident from this that a teacher actuated by motives of a mercenary or ambitious tendency cannot be successful. T'he teacher's work is a noble work, and success will be with him only whose motives are noble, who is impelled by principles of love and good will towards mankind. Love of children is the first condition, the conditio sine qua non, of success in teaching. Its powers over the one inspired by it, cannot be over-estimated ; it is an ever present stimulus to him to adhere to all those principles, to cultivate all those talenís, to use all those means, which are essential in attaining the great end he has in view. And its influence in the school-room is simply boundless. Let the children once know that their teacher is kindly disposed towards them, that all his acts and words are the outflow of a benevclent heart, and he will have a more complete control over them, it otherwise of a firm character, than a whole volume of rules and regulations and the most vigorous application of the rod could give him ; and good school-government is certainly a most important coudition of successful teaching.

Much has been said and written about the moral influence of the teacher on his scholars as affecting his government. My own experience I may express

few words : The more strictly I adhere to moral precepts myself, the less difficulty I have in governing my scholars. The living example of the teacher has a greater influence on the scholars than all the lectures on morals he may give them, and if at is a worthy excmple it will secure him their respect and incite them to imitate the model. Teachers ought to guard against the error of thinking their scholars disposed to do wrong and habitually treating them as culprits. Such a course has a debasing influence on the school. The pupils should, on the contrary, receive the impression that their teacher, while he despises vice, places a very high value on virtue, and that he thinks every one of them gond and virtuous until the contrary is proved. The good opinion of their teacher is something for which most children care a great deal, and which they would not like to forseit. And even in case of a misdemeauor, the culprit ought not to be treated as if his chiel business was now to receive a punishment for having caused the displeasure of his teacher, but the latter should express his astonishment and sorrow at the idea that the accused should have been capable of committing such a wrong. Even personal insults, which, however, will seldom, if ever, occur, if the right course is pursued, ought not to be met with a spirit of resentment ; but the correction should neverthelss be given in a firm and earnest tone. At such times, appropriate remarks on morals will be most impressive. The consequences of preferring vice to virtuc should always be pointed out, as well as the benefits arising from the adherence to good principles. Good moral conduct ought to be encouraged at every opportunity, for the best way to prevent vice or eradicate it, is to plant virtue in its place.

in a very

By these and similar means a moral atmosphere will be created, whose tendency will be to ennoble and elevate the scholars and make good conduct a habit with them. It is in this part of education where the internal worth of the teachers' religion will be made manifest most clearly; it is here where the true belief in a living God will show its

vital power.

One of the sorest tri: Is of the teacher, and one in which many a one fails, is the preservation of quiet in the school room. A most excellent means of restoring order consists in the suspension of all exercises until there is perfect stillness for about a minute. If it is understood that the minutes thụs lost are to be made up before school is dismissed for the day, the scholars will be careful not to occasion a frequent recurrence of this tranquilizing proccss.

Another means of securing success in teaching, and one which we may directly trace to the love of children, consists in making school life as pleasant as possible to them. Faying some attention to an attractive appearance of the school room, aiding the children in their amusements, lending a willing ear to all their grievances, are some of the means which will lead them to regard the school house as a favorite place instead of a dungeon, as is sometimes the case. Such little deeds of kindness on the part of the teacher will be rewarded by the love, obedience, and by the regular attendance of his pupils. All these results, especially the last, are of the greatest importance, as every one knows.

With regard to teaching itself, I certainly think that a method which will develop all the faculties of the child's mind equally well, one that will necessitate the use of his reason as well as strengthen bis memory, that will bring out his judgment as well as amimate his imagination, would be best calculated to attain the ends of teaching. We receive impressions through our senses; we distinguish them from others by comparing them and by noticing their difference; we obtain conceptions, ideas of objects by frequent repetition of the impressions they produce in our minds; we obtain vivid conceptions by taking cognizance of all the properties of the respective objects. All these mental processes are caused by the activity of the senses; these are the doors

through which we receive our impressions, and that teacher will be most successful who understands best to present new ideas to his scholars in such a manner that they must use their senses in apprehending them. The ideas taught ought to succeed each other in such order that the child is led on almost imperceptibly from the simple to the complex; all abrupt transitions must carefully be avoided. The teacher having given the necessary explanations on any subject, should ask the scholars questions relative to it, to what extent they have understood it; not merely the questions usually found in the text-books, but those which are best adapted to the capacity of the scholars and which will fully embrace the subject. Even in giving explanations, in gradually unfolding ideas, the child may often be led, by ingenious questions, to discover for himself the relations of things, and while this will gratify him infinitely more than to be told everything, it will heighten his interest and sharpen his faculties. In doing this, strict regard must of course be paid to what the child may know and what he does not know.

Whenever it is not attended with too great a loss of time and when the subject is not too difficult, the pupil ought thus be made to take an active part, not to be a mere recipient. In order to fully comprehend an idea new to him, and make it his own, is not sufficient that it should have been thought by somebody else; he must think it, and can be made to do this by being required to answer questions relative to the conceptions necessary to constitute this idea. Instruction may be made much more interesting if interspersed with illustrations of a historical or descriptive nature, the latter aided, if possible, by pictures or drawings made on the blackboard. Of the importance of frequent reviews, I think I need not speak.

A pupil instructed in this manner will soon comprehend ideas without much explanation, for he will receive them thinkingly, having acquired

habit of thinking. He will not be a mere receptacle of undigested knowledge, stored away in his brain as grain is in a barn, but his mind will be like a well cultivated field, receiving only to produce. To educate our youth to become independent thinkers, productive of ideas of their must be the aim of our teaching, if we would want it to be a success, for none but a nation of independent thinkers are capable of governing themselves.

Let us hear a few words from Pestalozzi, the great founder of a new era in pedagogy, on a system of education which he was nearly a life

身 time in working out. He

says: “A child's first hour of instruction is the hour of his birth. Nature commences her work of instruction on him at any moment when his senses are capable of receiving her impressions. The newness of life

а

own,

« НазадПродовжити »