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hand in the same sports, pressing up together to the same high attainments in knowledge and character, will be found the children of the rich and poor, the more and the less favored in outward circumstances, without knowing or caring to know how far their families are separated by the arbitrary distinctions which divide and distract society. With nearly equal opportunities of education in childhood and youth, the prizes of life, its best fields of usefulness, and sources of happiness will be open to all, whatever may have been their accidents of birth and fortune. From many obscure and humble homes in the city and in the country, will be called forth and trained inventive talent, productive skill, intellectual taste, and God-like benevolence, which will add to the general wealth, multiply workshops, increase the value of farms, and carry forward every moral and religious enterprise which aims to bless, purify, and elevate society.
Fifth. The influence of the annual or semi-annual examination of candidates for admission into the High School, will operate as a powerful and abiding stimulus to exertion throughout all the lower schools. The privileges of the High School will be held forth as the reward of exertion in the lower grade of schools; and promotion to it, based on the result of an impartial examination, will form an unobjectionable standard by which the relative standing of the different schools can be ascertained, and will also indicate the studies and departments of education to which the teachers in particular schools should devote special attention. This influence upon the lower schools, upon scholars and teachers, upon those who reach, and those who do not reach the High School, will be worth more than all it costs, independent of the advantages received by its pupils.
Sixth. While the expenses of public or common schools will necessarily be increased by the establishment of a school of this class, in addition to those already supported, the aggregate expenditures for education, including public and private schools, will be diminished. Private schools of the same relative standing will be discontinued for want of patronage, while those of a higher grade, if really called for by the educational wants of the community, will be improved. A healthy competition will necessarily exist between the public and private schools of the highest grade, and the school or schools which do not come up to the highest mar must go down in public estimation. Other things being equal, viz., school-houses, teachers, classification, and the means and appliances of instruction, the public school is always better than the private. From the uniform experience of those places where a High School has been established, it may be safely stated that there will be an annual saving in the expenses of education to any community, equal to one half the amount paid for tuition in private schools, and, with this saving of expense, there will be a better state of education.
Seventh. The successful establishment of a High School, by improving the whole system of common schools, and interesting a larger number of families in the prosperity of the schools, will create a better public sentiment on the subject than has heretofore existed, and the schools will be regarded as the common property, the common glory, the common security of the whole community. The wealthy will feel that the small additional tax re
quired to establish and sustain this school, if not saved to them in the diminished tuition for the education of their own children in private schools, at home and abroad, is returned to them a hundred fold in the enterprise which it will quicken, in the increased value given to property, and in the number of families which will resort to the place where it is located, as a desirable residence, because of the facilities enjoyed for a good education. The poor will feel that, whatever may betide them, their children are born to an inheritance more valuable than lands or shops, in the free access to institutions where as good an education can be had as money can buy at home or abroad. The stranger will be invited to visit not only the institutions which public or individual benevolence has provided for the poor, the orphan, the deaf mute, and the criminal, but schools where the children and youth of the community are trained to inventive and creative habits of mind, to a practical knowledge of the fundamental principles of business, to sound moral habits, refined tastes, and respectful manners. And in what balance, it has well been asked in reference to the cost of good public schools, as compared with these advantages, shall we weigh the value of cultivated, intelligent, energetic, polished, and virtuous citizens? How much would a community be justified in paying for a physician who should discover or practice some mode of treatment through which many lives should be preserved ? How much for a judge, who, in the able administration of the laws, should secure many fortunes, or rights more precious than fortunes, that might else be lost? How much for a minister of religion who should be the instrument of saving hundreds from vice and crime, and persuading them to the exertion of their best powers for the common good? How much for the ingenious inventor, who, proceeding from the first principles of science onward, should produce some improvement that should enlarge all the comforts of society, not to say a steam-engine or a magnetic telegraph? How much for the patriotic statesman, who, in difficult times, becomes the savior of his country? How much for the well-instructed and enterprising merchant who should suggest and commence the branches of business that should bring in a vast accession of wealth and strength ? One such person as any of these might repay what a High School would cost for centuries. Whether, in the course of centuries, every High School would produce one such person, it would be useless to prophesy. But it is certain that it would produce many intelligent citizens, intelligent men of business, intelligent servants of the state, intelligent teachers, intelligent wives and daughters, who, in their several spheres, would repay to any community much more than they and all their associates had received. The very taxes of a town, in twenty years, will be lessened by the existence of a school which will continually have sent forth those who were so educated as to become not burdens but benefactors.
These results have been realized wherever a Public High School has been opened under circumstances favorable to the success of a private school of the same grade,--wherever a good school-house, good regulations, (for admission, attendance, studies, and books) good teachers, and good supervision have been provided.
From the Massachusetts Teacher,
THE INFLUENCE OF TEACHING UPON HEALTH.
There is an impression, not very general, perhaps, yet somewhat common, that the labors of the teacher at the present day are injurious to health, and have a certain tendency to abridge the period of natural life. This opinion is entertained by teachers, and by others whose observations have extended to the subject. As a matter of common belief, it may have had its origin in, or may have been strengthened by, the well known fact that, every year, many teachers, of seemingly good constitution, are cut down in their labors ere they have passed the meridian of life. This has been particularly noticeable within a few years past. And it is not very strange that such an opinion should prevail, to some extent, among teachers; for, with many of them, it is literally true, that their nerves, jaded by the arduous labors required by an exacting public, play out, in their sleeping and their waking hours, a plaintive dirge o'er wasting health and departed vigor.
Unfortunately, we have very few reliable data to aid us in testing the correctness of this impression. Sanitary reports and vital statistics are of comparatively recent origin in this country, and are altogether too imperfect for a purpose so specific and important. The fact that, within a few years, several teachers have deceased at an early age, or that a similar number have attained to an unusual longevity, is a circumstance too limited to determine the general result. That some occupations are more favorable to health and longevity than others, few will be disposed to deny. But there are a multitude of circumstances that have a bearing upon this question and must be taken fully into the account. It is but recently that any
considerable number of persons have pursued the business of teaching, as a regular profession; for it is well known, that a majority of the professors and instructors in our American colleges have been fitted for other professions, and have spent, in many instances, no inconsiderable portion of their lives in other pursuits than teaching. Then, again, what is the period of life allotted to man? How long ought the teacher to live? Does he reside in a locality of average healthfulness? Is he exempt from hereditary disease ? And is he innocent of the vices, follies, and improprieties that sap the vital powers and summon man so soon to an early grave? But without endorsing or questioning the truth of popular opinion in this particular case, it may not be unprofitable to examine, briefly, the bearings of the teacher's labors upon health, both as they are known to be, at present, and as it would seem they ought to be.
It is frequently asserted that the whole life of the student and man of literary pursuits is contrary to nature ; that the constant exercise of the mind is disproportionate to that of his body, and that he is bent down to
his study table in an unnatural attitude, and in a narrow room with confined air.
As to the pretended injurious influence of the exercise of the mind, we demur in toto. The readers of the “Teacher" were favored, in a recent number, with an article entitled, “ Does Study Injure the Health?” That article, from an able pen, presents the case of the student in a clear light, and shows that study does not, of itself, injure the health ; and this view of the subject is certainly substantiated by historical evidence and by living testimony; for, all through the annals of literary men, there are innumerable instances of those who have attained to an unusual age, with healthy bodies, and mind vigorous and unimpaired; while there are those, also, now living, far advanced in the evening of life, yet fresh and brilliant still. The same article also demonstrates that there is nothing in the proper attitude of the student at his books that is injurious, and least of all, "contrary to nature." And in this respect the teacher in the school-room has the advantage, even of the pupils, for he is not as much confined in any one particular attitude, but can, at his option, sit erect, stand, or walk, and at the same time perform most of his duties equally well.
In regard to the teacher's confinement in close, unventilated rooms, it is too true that many of our school-rooms are not constructed with a view to the comfort and health of the occupants. But the teacher is supposed to know something of the laws of health, and especially of the necessity of pure air ; and, knowing this, his ingenuity is certainly not to be coveted if he cannot devise a way to have partial ventilation, at least, either by dropping a window, or, as has been done, by applying a handsaw to the panels of the door and ceiling of the room, an experiment which has proved successful, not only in securing good air, but in calling the attention of people to the ill-ventilated room, which finally resulted in the erection of a new and improved building.
It would be vastly easier to prove that the teacher is favored in respect to opportunities for physical exercise, than that his labors are prejudicial to it. He is in the school-room fewer hours than most people of sedentary occupation are in their shops or offices, and consequently has abundant leisure, and knows just when he can command it. It is a fact that teachers do take too little exercise ; but it is a fact, also, that they may take much more. The disposition to take it, and not the opportunity, is at fault.
Regularity, one of the requisites for health, both of body and mind, is pre-eminently the teacher's prerogative. It applies to his labors, both in time and amount, and to his leisure.
But there are other influences of teaching that are prejudicial to health.
The sameness of duties, a kind of tread-mill routine, which the teacher is quite apt to acquire, affects the health injuriously by preventing a free development of mind, and not allowing that healthy, reciprocal influence which a growing mind and a sound body are calculated to exert upon each other. A mind partially developed, and then cramped and arrested in its growth, has a less beneficial influence upon bodily health, than the mind of
the savage, whose proper development, strictly speaking, is never commenced. The tone of such a body is always low, and life seems literally to "drag" along. But the teacher has it in his power to avoid or counteract this sameness, by special attention to his own self-culture, and by efforts to rise in his profession, and to secure for himself labors more varied and expanding in their influence.
The teacher is required to perform too much labor, especially in public schools and large institutions. The number of hours he is occupied, in many instances, is too great, and the multitude of duties that literally press upon him are more than the human constitution can long endure. Few persons, besides practical educators and physicians, are fully aware of this; but it is a truth which is sure to be recognized in due time.
The physical system is liable to great exhaustion, occasioned by the almost incessant talking which the teacher's calling renders necessary. This talk. ing, too, is done in the usual conversational tone, and does not admit of that varied exercise of the vocal organs that is afforded in public speaking or social intercourse. The tendency of this is to destroy the tone of the vocal organs (Bronchitis, so called,) which soon become enfeebled and diseased, implicating adjacent organs, and finally extending to the lungs and terminating in pulmonary complaints, a class of maladies to which, it is said, teachers are peculiarly liable.
The intensity with which the mind is tasked in the school-room is another fruitful source of ill-health. The government of the school, with all its harassing cares and the hearing of recitations, with the continual exercise of ingenuity which illustration and explanation demand, must all be attended to at the same time, without sufficient opportunity for that frequent relaxation which is so necessary to the mind as well as to the body. This not only exhausts the physical energies and unstrings the nerves, but it produces an over-excitement of the brain, - an organ whose diseases are to be recognized as another class which is yearly removing many of our hard-working educators.
Borrowing trouble, and too much anxiety and solicitude, are also wearing out many valuable lives in the school-room. The peculiar relation in which teachers often stand to the public and their patrons is a source of constant anxiety, especially to a sensitive mind. Then, there are aspiring teachers, who are goaded by an inordinate ambition, until they frequently sink, worn out in their labors, ere they have attained the goal of their desires. And there is still another class, who are more honorable victims in the race, — the conscientious and sympathetic teachers, who become so deeply interested in the progress and welfare of their pupils, that they allow themselves, unconsciously, oftentimes, to be over-taxed beyond the system's power of endurance or recuperation.
This is all wrong. A mind constantly fretted and over-anxious will wear out any system ; while the body is really strengthened and supported by a calm, unruffled, and cheerful state of the mind and soul. Every calling has its cares and vexations, and teachers should make the best of theirs. Let