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duties of school inspectors and local school committees, which are always, although not exclusively, composed of clergymen. Such instruction, whether given by lectures, or by class-book and recitation, should be deemed essential to graduation in any College or Academy or High School, which are the natural sources to supply teachers to the schools below. Originally the degree of Bachelor and Master of Arts were evidence of the scholarship and authority of the holders to establish, teach, and govern schools. Such knowledge should enter into the training of all liberally educated American citizens, whose services are in constant demand as trustees and committees of schools of different grade. When such courses are supplemented by practical training in a Normal School, it forms a valuable part of the professional education of a teacher.
V. Itinerating Normal Agents and Organizers of Schools, to hold Teachers' Institutes, to act as Inspectors of Schools, assist in the establishment of new institutions, and imparting life and efficiency to schools which have run down under inefficient teachers, and bring up to a normal standard the schools and the public sentiment of particular districts. The efforts of an indefatigable Normal Agent like William S. Baker, so highly appreciated in Connecticut and Rhode Island, or of a School Organizer like those sent out by the Commissioners of National Education in Ireland, or the British and Foreign School Society, by familiar conversation with teachers, and practical illustrations in their schoolrooms, of improved methods of arranging the studies, and conducting schools will reach more widely than a Normal School.
VI. Teachers’ Institutes, or gatherings of teachers, both for conference and instruction, for a period of not less than one, nor more than four weeks, in successive years in different localities, and including in its operations school officers and parents. Such gatherings of teachers, old and young of both sexes, and of schools of different grades; in such numbers as will develop the sympathies and power of a common pursuit, and yet not so large as to exclude the freedom of individual thought and action; for a period of time, long enough to admit of a systematic plan of operations, and yet not so protracted as to prove a burdensome expense, or an interruption to other engagements; under the direction of men, whose claim to respect and continued attention is their large experience and acknowledged success as educators and teachers; in a course of instruction, at once theoretical and practical, combined with opportunities of inquiry, discussion, and familiar conversation--such gatherings of teachers so organized and conducted as to exclude professional jealousy, and at the same time to enlist the coöperation and attendance of school officers and parents, by assigning to the evening lectures and discussions, all topics of general interest to the community, as well as to teachers, will begin the work of renovation and improvement at once in the home and the school, in the heads and hearts of parents, in the enthusiasm, enlarged knowledge and practical skill of teachers, and in the well considered and liberal action of school officers, and the public generally.
VII. A system of examination, by which only persons of the right spirit, character, attainments, and practical skill, are licensed to teach, combined with modes of school inspection, by which incompetent and unworthy members are excluded from the profession.
VIII. Plans of associations of the teachers of a school, city, or larger district, for periodical conferences for mutual and professional improvement, and for occasional visits to each others' schools.
IX. Legal recognition of the true value of the teacher's office, by exemption from all services which interfere with the full performance of its duties, or imply that the constant care and highest nurture of children and youth are of secondary interest; and by provision for its permanence and adequate compensation, independent of the negligence or parsimony of parents and municipal authorities.
X. A system of promotion from a less desirable school, to one more so in respect to studies, location, and salary, dependent not upon favoritism, but upon an open and impartial examination.
XI. Access to books on the theory and practice of teaching, and to educational periodicals, by which the young and inexperienced teacher is made acquainted with the views of experienced teachers in his own and other times, in his own and other countries.
XII. Facilities for the acquisition of some industrial pursuit, out of school hours, which will add to the happiness and emoluments of the teacher, without diminishing his personal influence as the educator of the community.
XIII. A system of savings, aided and guaranteed by the government, but founded in habits of thrift and forecast in the teachers, by which provision is made for themselves in old age, or sickness, and for their families, in case of death.
By these and other institutions, agencies, and means, already recognized or established to some extent, the office of teacher has been greatly elevated in usefulness and in social and pecuniary consideration. It is the object of this work to bring together the experience of different states in this most important department of the whole field of educational labor, as presented in official documents, and the observations of intelligent and trustworthy educators.
VI. TEACHER'S CONFERENCES
AND OTHER MODES OF PROFESSIONAL IMPROVEMENT.
I. CITY OF CHICAGO. THE RULES OF THE BOARD OF EDUCATION in the city of Chicago provide—in addition to a weekly meeting of all the teachers of each of the large graded schools, both High and District, in their several school-houses, for the purposes of discussing and illustrating methods of discipline and instruction, and the general interests of the school for an Institute to be held as follows:
It shall be the duty of all the teachers of the Public Schools to meet on the first Saturday of each school month, at the High School building, for the purpose of holding an Institute for their own improvement in teaching, under the direction of the Board of Education. The exercises shall commence at 9 A. M., and close at 12 M., with a recess of twenty minutes. Before the close of each Institute, the Superintendent shall adopt such measures as he shall deem best to secure a full and accurate account of the attendance of the teachers. At the close of each term, the Superintendent shall roport to the Board all cases of absence or tardiness, or leaving before the close of the Institute, that have occurred during the term.
Of the operations of these Monthly Institutes, and other means of professional improvement among the teachers of the Public Schools of Chicago, the Superintendent (WILLIAM H. Wells,) in his Annual Report, subunitted December 31st, 1862, thus speaks :
Monthly Meetings of Teachers. The Monthly Institutes of Teachers have been held during the year, in ac. cordance with the rules of the Board, and the attendance of the teachers has, in most cases, been regular and prompt. The time has been occupied with model exercises of classes from the different schools, drill exercises of classes composed of teachers, reading the "Chicago Teacher," conducted by the ladies, lectures, discussions, and remarks by the Superintendent.
The number of teachers is now so much increased that it is found impracticable to introduce drill exercises in any portion of the course of study, that will be equally profitable to all. Teachers of the first and second grade classes have no special interest in exercises adapted to the ninth and tenth grade classes, and vice versa. To remedy this evil, we have adopted the plan of having the general exercises of the Institute during the first part of the forenoon, with all the teachers together, and dividing the Institute into five sections during the last Lour for drill exercises and discussions adapted to the wants of the several sections. Teachers of the first and second grade classes constitute the first section; those of the third and fourth grade classes, the second section, and so on
through all the grades. Each section, embracing two grades of the course, has one or more drill exercises every month. By this arrangement, we havo five exercises going forward simultaneously, and the teachers of each section take up only those subjects in which they are particularly interested.
The management of the Institute has been left by the Board in the hands of the Superintendent, and it has been my uniform practice to invite a committee of the teachers to aid me in arranging the successive programmes of exercises. In most other cities, the programme of exercises is always prepared by the Superintendent. This is a safeguard against the introduction of discussions upon the policy and measures of the Board of Education, and other irrelevant topics. Except in the matter of attendance, the course I have adopted has given to the Institute much of the freedom of a voluntary association, and thus far I have found very few evils resulting from it. I do not recollect a single instance during the past year in which the committee have desired to introduce a subject for discussion that I did not approve.
The teachers have performed cheerfully the parts assigned them, and the interest of the meetings has been well sustained through the year.
The advantages resulting from frequent meetings of teachers, especially in cities and larger towns, are now generally admitted, and every teacher who is desirous of advancing in his profession, finds that he can derive important aid from a careful comparison of his own views and methods with those of other teachers. But nothwithstanding this general agreement of opinion respecting the value and importance of Teachers' Institutes, there is still very great diversity of practice in different cities and towns respecting the frequency or infrequency of holding them, the manner in which they are conducted, and the roluntary or involuntary character of the attendance.
For the purpose of ascertaining the opinions of prominent educators on this subject, and the practice of different cities, I recently sent out letters of enquiry to nearly all the principal cities of the Northern States. The answers received from over one hundred different towns, have put me in possession of very full and satisfactory information on all the points to which I have alluded. The following is a condensed summary of the results:
1. In most of the cities of the Western States, the engagements with teachers are made with the express understanding that they shall attend Institutes for professional improvement as often as once a month. These meetings are usually held on Saturdays, and the sessions are from two to three hours in length. In most cases, an account is kept of the attendance of the teachers, and absences from the Institutes are regarded the same as absences from any of the regular sessions of the schools. In many Western cities, more than one half of the whole number, the Institutes are held as often as twice in a month; and in as many as ten or twelve cities, every week.
In more than half of the cities of the Middle States, the teachers are required to attend Institutes as often as once a month, but this practice, except in Pennsylvania, * is not so general in the Middle as in the Western States.
In the New England States, there is not one city in ten in which the rules of the School Directors require the teachers to hold meetings for professional
* An Act was passed in April, 1862, requiring all the teachers of the public schools to devole two Saturdays of each month to exercises or Institutes for their mutual improvement.
improvement so often as once a month, and in most Eastern cities, the Directors have no rule on this subjcct.*
2. Another means of improving the qualifications of teachers, is the organization of Saturday Normal Classes, which all teachers of limited experience, or those holding certificates below the first grade, are expected to attend.fi
In some cities, attendance at the Normal Classes is optional with the teachers, and in others it is required by the rules of the Directors.
In a few cases, the weekly Normal Classes are designed to benefit both the assistants already employed in the schools, and the candidates for situations in them. In Baltimore, no applicant is eligible to an appointment as assistant, till she has first attended at least twenty-six sessions of the Normal Class.
The labors of the faithful teacher are sufficiently exhausting, without the additional effort of preparing several lessons to be recited at the close of every week, and the time required to attend the weekly Normal Class during a series of terms or years, is greatly needed for healthful relaxation and exercise. While, therefore, I take pleasure in reporting the increased attention that is given to monthly and semi-monthly Institutes of Teachers, I must be allowed to express the opinion, that weekly Normal Classes of Teachers can never meet with general favor among judicious friends of education.
3. Voluntary associations of teachers for purposes of professional improvement, have generally failed to accomplish the object sought. The testimony on this point is abundant and unequivocal. There are few cities in which these associations secure the constant attendance of even half the number of teachers connected with the schools; and most of the voluntary associations that have maintained a permanent existence, have been composed chiefly of Masters and teachers of the higher grades, and have failed to reach and benefit the great body of Grammar and Primary assistants.
* The following classified list embraces most of the cities which belong to either of the divisions described above :
Attendance at Institutes required once a month.--Buffalo, N. Y.; Cincinnati, virtually-and Columbus, O.; Detroit, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Evansville, Ind. ; Chicago, Springfield ; Warsaw, and Alton, III. ; St. Louis, Mo., St. Paul, Min.
Attendance required once in troo weeks.-Brattleboro', Vt. ; Norwich, Conn. ; Rochester and Syracuse, N. Y.; Mansfield, Norwalk, Toledo, and Zanesville, O.; Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Adrian, Mich.; Indianapolis and New Albany, Iod.; Peoria, Quincy, Galena, and Galesburg, IIL.; Kenosha, Wis.; Dubuque, Iowa.
Attendance required once a week.-Oswego, two terms in a year, Elmira, two terms in a year, and Schenectady, N. Y.; Sandusky, O.; Fort Wayne, Ind. ; Newport, Ky.; Rock Island, III.; Davenport, lowa; Racine, Madison, Janesville, and Sheboygan, Wis.
No rule requiring attendance as often as once a month.-Portland, Bangor, Brunswick, Bath, Me.; Manchester, Concord, Nashua, Portsmouth, N. H.; Burlington, Vt.; Boston, Charlestown, Lowell, Cambridge, Lawrence, Roxbury, Salem, Newburyport, New Bedford, Gloucester, Worcester, Fall River, Mass.; Hartford, New Haven, New London, Conn. ; Providence, Bristol, Newport, R. I.; New York, Brooklyn, Troy, Albany, Utica, N. Y.; Philadelphia, Penn.; Baltimore, Md.; Wilmington, Del. ; Cleveland and Dayton, O.; Dixon, IIL ; Des Moines, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Muscatine, lowa; Minneapolis, Minn.
Returns bave been received from about twenty cities not embraced in the foregoing classes. Some of these are included in the list of cities requiring Saturday Normal Classes, some are governed by the special law of Pennsylvania, and in others the teachers are called together at irregular intervals.
t Schools of this description have been established in New York, Brooklyn, and Buffalo, N. Y.; Concord, N. H.; Newark and Patterson, N.J.; Bloomington, Ill. ; Baltimore, Cincin. nati, St. Louis, San Francisco, and a few other cities. In St. Louis, New York, Brooklyn, and Concord, these schools have, for various reasons, been either suspended temporarily, or entirely abandoned.