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to be reached, and with far happier results than will follow the peremptory enforcement of command. With such, the work once done is always done. Again, in many cases, peremptory measures are indispensable.
He should have a full appreciation of the command, “Know thyself." Without this knowledge in an eminent degree, and without thorough selfgovernment, he may as well relinquish his work, for he cannot succeed.-“How can he govern others, who has not learned to govern himself?” A teacher with a temper that he is unconscious of, or that he cannot or does not control--with feelings which scorn the trammels of a sound, patient judgment--with an obtuse sense of justice and a dull perception of right and wrong, has mistaken his calling; he could not have made a more mischierous selection of a profession.
A teacher of youth should never open his lips in anger; never speak but in the calm words and firm tones of self-possession; a scolding, berating, threatening tongue, wins naught from the pupil but disrespect and hatred for the head and heart, which are its companions. Let a teacher but once grow pale with rage, and his sway, except it be of servile fear, is at an end. Promises of punishment are better never made, but if made, should never be broken. Let either a parent or a teacher, threaten with punishment he fails to inflict, and if the child or pupil does not apply the epithet “liar" to him in words, it is not that he does not think it, and he thinks riglitly; and his conduct in disregarding the threat thereafter, shows that he acts upon his belief. Children rarely fail to form just conclusions.
My Little Friends: I have looked through the Journal to find something for you, but not finding anything, I thought I would write you a little letter. All you girls and boys who go to school every day in good season, who study hard in study hours, and play hard at recess, and aster school at noon and night; who never get angry with each other, but are always kind and happy ; you are the ones I am writing to. Those boys and girls who are always late, idle and cross, and those who play truant, I do not wish to write to, for I know they can not read well enough to understand it. By the way, I must tell you about one afternoon when I played truant. I was about eight years old. It was a beautiful day. I had not been very attentive to my books, and I thought it would be such a nice thing to play truant as some other boys did.
After dinner, instead of going to school, went under a bridge, where I thought I would stay till all had gone to school and then I would go and play. How long do you suppose I staid there? I staid there till one o'clock, two, three, four o'clock. I did not dare to more for fear I should be found out and punished. So I
remained under the bridge till the boys came home from school. That afternoon was as long to me as a week in school. That was the first and last time I played truant. I felt so ashamed of myself, that it was a long time before I could play with the other boys at all. Nothing would, after that, induce me to play truant. This took place more than twenty-five years ago, but I can remember exactly how I felt, how dismal the place was where I spent those three long hours. If you wish to be happy, never play truant. More at another time.
ONE WHO LOVES LITTLE FOLKS.
A MARKED feature of American character, a peculiarity noticed and commented on by every intelligent foreigner who visits our shores, is a love of change, a desire for something new.
This element is a source of good or of evil, according to the direction of the effort which it induces or stimulates. When it results in the discovery of neir principles in science or art, or the invention of labor-saving machines; when it produces lightning-rods or telegraphs, reapers and threshers, sewing and washing machines; when it breaks the shackles of conservatism, bigotry and habit, inducing a love for progress and independent thought, it is a blessed influence which we cannot value too highly, which we do not appreciate until, by contrast with the state of stagnation and darkness existing in communities in which it does not bear sway, we aro taught its importance as an efficient agent in promoting that kind of healthful agitation so essential to mental vigor and moral development.
When it leads us to scrutinize theories and systems, plans and operations with the desire and intention of adopting better ones; when it impels us to discard ancient and time-honored customs and observances because they are unsuited to the conditions of the present, we realize in it something beneficial and worthy of consideration as an element of individual and social renovation.
On the other hand, we see some of the evils which it causes in the fickleness and instability of purpose manifested by our people as a body. So deeply has it entered into and permeated the popular thought, that secondary and collateral considerations are made to take the place of cardinal principles.
The intensity of the desire to secure an object blinds us to the perception of the rignt means to be used in order to succeed.
We act as though the possession of the power to do a thing implied the bligation to do it. '
Tis is clearly manifested in the frequent change of
officers in the various departments of natinnal, State and municipal government. From the president of the United States down to a town constable, 80 soon as a person becomes accustomed to the duties of his office and capable of performing them with accuracy and promptness, he is removed to make room for another who is ignorant of the routine of duties and destitute of the peculiar qualifications resulting from practice and experience.
But it is not in the frequent removal of ministerial or executive officers that society experiences the most disastrous results flowing from this love of change. The loss in these instances is principally one of dollars and cents, one which an enterprising growing people least feel, and which, though none the less a loss, does not materially affect the vital forces, the springs of thought and action which form and mould the real character and life of a nation.
But when this fickleness and instability of purpose manifests itself in a frequent change of teachers in our common schools, we utter our protest against it as a great evil which, if not abated, will eat out the little vitality inherent in the system, and make it a thing of forms and shows instead of a living, expanding, healthy organism, a means of personal development and national preservation.
There are nearly four thousand school districts in this State, three thousand of which probably have employed or will employ one teacher each the present winter. In how many of these districts will the same teacher who taught last winter be again employed ? In one-fifth? No, not in one-tenth of them. It is a liberal estimate to allow three hundred districts the same instructor they had last term or last winter. What is the reason of this almost universal change of teachers ? If you question the people or the officers of a district, they will tell you it is to secure better qualified persons to take charge of their schools.
This would be a good reason for a change is the result sought to be secured were accomplished by it. But it is not, and cannot be, because the number of teachers remains about the same, increasing but slowly from year to ycar, so that we cannot with certainty conclude that there are more than two hundred teachers added to the list this winter. Supposing (which is far from being the case,) that these two hundred teachers are all of them superior to those hitherto employed, they can supply but two hundred districts, and the remainder of the three thousand must simply exchange teachers, by which process a few localities may possibly be benefited, while the condition of things, considering the whole State, remains as before.
Now that we have shown that better teachers are not secured by this system of changing from year to year and from term to term, let us look at the evils resulting from this ill-advised practice.
In the first place, it prevents the adoption in common schools of any definite system of instruction or management. What is commenced by one teacher is overthrown by his successor, whose system (if he has any) receives the same treatment from the next incumbent and so on indefinitely.
Provided that cach succeeding teacher were superior in discipline and
method of instruction to the preceding one, still he has not time to inaug. urate his system before he leaves, to be followed by another who may practice on an entirely different plan.
In the second place, if the same methods of discipline and instruction were to be pursued in all the schools of the State, a great amount of time would be lost by the teacher in learning the character and disposition of the pupils, with which, in order to ensure success, he must be as well acquainted as he is with the subject matter of the lessons to be taught.
Considering education to be simply the acquisition of information, onethird of the time of the teacher is lost on account of these frequent changes. But education relates to the disposition, habits of thought and action, intel. lect, moral nature, character and destiny of the pupil. How important then that the work of training the youth of our land, should be carefully and systematically pursued. A tangible illustration of the evils resulting from a frequent change of teachers, is seen in the penmanship of the pupils.Not one in ten is able, on leaving school, to write a fair legible hand. One reason of this is that writing is not systematically taught, as a general thing, by common school teachers, and if it were, no pupil could acquire a good hand under the tuition of so many different instructors.
Frequent changes are not less injurious to the teacher than they are to the school. They encourage incompetent persons to remain in a profession for which they are not qualified, and discourage those who otherwise would make more effort to fit themselves for the proper performance of their duties.
It matters not how successful a teacher may be; a re-engagement, as a general thing, depends not upon success, but upon the composition of the school board, which in most districts is changed annually, carrying with it a change of teachers as a matter of course. On the other hand, if a teachwholly fails in arranging and disciplining his school--if he is ignorant of the branches which he professes to teach, and unfit in all respects to have the charge of children and youth, he can only lose his situation; he is no worse off than the successful teacher, so far as regards the attitude of the public towards him; he is as free to seek, and (if possessed of the requisite amount of assurance) as likely to obtain another situation as he would have been if successful in a former one.
What is there in this state of things to encourage self-improvement on the part of the teacher? Why should he sacrifice time and money to secure a knowledge of the theory and practice of his profession, so long as the public offer a premium for dulness and incompetence ?
Thus these frequent changes injure the true teacher by lowering the standard of qualifications, and bringing him into competition with numbers of unqualified candidates, who depend upon the ignoranee of the people to secure situations which they do not expect to retain and are not competent to fill. Again, the teacher sustains a personal loss, in that he is by this system placed beyond the reach of those influences which would materially aid Lim in a course of mental improvement and general development.
It is often said that teaching has a tendency to contract the mind, to narrow the scope of vision, and separate one from his fellows, in consequence of a difference in aims and objects of pursuit. This may be true of itinerant teachers, who do not remain long enough in one place to gain & legal residence, much less to become identified with the people among whom they reside. But it is not true of the teacher who continues in the same locality for a term of years, for in order to maintain his position, he must not only add to his stock of scientific information, so as to keep pace with the general progress in knowledge, and to awaken in the minds of his pupils the interest necessary to rapid and permanent advancement; but he must become acquainted with the parents, learn their peculiarities, become interested in those things which interest them, and take a position in society and the commonwealth as a man and a citizen. Thus he cannot be a student, a book-worm, a teacher merely, a wider field is open before him, a higher position requiring expanded views, trained and disciplined faculties and powers to fill it with credit to himself or profit to his fellow men. Experience and the testimony of others warrant us in stating that there is not a really good and prosperous school in the State in which the teachers are changed yearly. On the other hand, in all those schools which have gained an eminence amongst us as model schools, the teachers, in the main, are employed from year to year, or as long as they choose to remain.
The conclusion we have come to is this, that a frequent change of teachers is injurious to the teacher hinself, to his pupils, to the school system and the community.
We have as yet received the names of but few of the District Clerks elected last September, therefore in mailing this number we direct the Journal to the office, omitting the name of the clerk, as follows: “ Clerk of Dist. No. ” inserting the proper number as 1, 2, 3, &c.
As we intend to pursue the same course hereafter, it will not be necessary for Superintendents to send us the numes of the clerks; all we need is the number of districts, designating them as they are known in the records in the Superintendent's office, and adding the proper Post-Office. Thus: “ Dist. No.-P. 0.
P. 0. ---- County." In sending the numbers of joint districts, send only those the clerks of which reside in the same town as the Superintendent.
When the address of the Clerks and Superintendent' is the same, we write the numbers of the districts on the Journals and enclose in wrapper directed to Town Superintendent.
Any Superintendent receiving more than one copy not directed to any one, will please distribute them to the clerks in his town, and immediately forward to us the number and designation of the districts in the same. We