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and his shoes well polished, or at least, in keeping them free of mud, you teach him a lesson of sell-respect, that may prove his temporal salvation, and bring him to be, when out of school, instead of the squalid vagrant, a companion of pillerers and refugees from justice, the incipient worthy member of socieiy, and perhaps a benefactor of his race. It is amazing to reflect how very slight a circumstance in the life of a human being, in the early stages, sometimes casts him on that side, which leads to glory or to infamy!
Some one of note has said, that "he considers cleanliness as next to godli. ness;" and I have been accustomed to look upon one, thoroughly clean in the outward man, as necessarily possessing a clean heart, a pure spirit. Whether it may be adopted as a rule of judgment or not, need not now be decided. The claims of cleanliness are, without considering the deduction as infallible, too commanding to be resisted, and should ever be maintained.
The fourth relates lo quitting the neighborhood of the school, on being dismissed. This is desirable for the safety of the childien ; it removes them to some extent, from temptation, and aids in the fulfillment of the reasonable expectations of parents, that their children will be at home at the appointed hour. It is a practical lesson in punctuality, which, as the young come into life, will he found of great service to them. it may be ranked with behavior, and considered as among those things which constitute the character of a good child. It is especially due to the families residing in the vicinity of the school. Do what you may to prevent annoyance, it is scarcely possible for a large school to be an agreeable neighbor to families within its hearing. They are subject to its petty disturbances, in all states of health and sickness, in trouble and in joy; and are surely entitled to the relief afforded by dismissal and sending the children to their homes. Shouting, screaming, and yelling, should be prohibited, and the children directed to go away in a quiet and orderly manner. Surely, every principle of courtesy, of kindness, and good neighborhood, demands it, and should not demand in vain. Who has not waited with the operations of some of the senses suspended, for the periodical abatement of an intolerable nuisance, and felt, in due time, all the joy of the anticipated relief? : "Every boy to be accountable for the condition of the floor nearest his seat;" that is, he is not to allow any thing, wheiher valuable or not, to lie on i he floor, and, consequently, every thing contemplated in the preceding rule, as far as any individual's vicinity is concerned, is iaken care of, and all worthless articles likewise removed. This making committee-men of all the pupils must have a very good effect on the condition of the school room, and promote that neatness and order, which are above recommended.
The next rule requires the pupils to be particularly quiet and diligent, when the teacher is called out of the room. This I regard as of very great consequence; for it in volves a sentiment of magnanimity, which it should be the aim of all guardians of the young to implant, to develop, and to cherish. Children often infringe school regulations, and much is to be overlooked in them, especially when at a very tender age. Their little minds are scarcely able to enteriain, for a long time together, the influence of many rules, except under the excitement of great hope or fear; and when the teacher is present, they ollen unconsciously offend, and should be judged with clemency; but when left as their own keepers, they should he early made to understand how discourteous, how dishonorable, how base, it is to transgress the laws of the school. Each should vie with each in good example, and thus convince the instructor, that confidence reposed in them can never be abused.
The last item, under the head of Requisitions, is this: “To promote, as far as possible, the happiness, comfort, and improvement, of others.” If to the few exclusively moral and religious obligations, those of courtesy be added, this requisition cannot fail of being observed. I say, exclusively or stricily moral, because the notion of courtesy hardly enters the mind, when we speak of moral conduct; and yet, in nearly all the minor points, and in most which affect the happiness of others, in our ordinary intercourse with them, apart from the transactions of business, it is courtesy that influences us most. It may be denominated the bcuucrolence of brharior. Aware I am that a hypocrite may be courteous; and hypocrisy in a child is inexpressibly loathsome. But hypocrisy is not a necessary attendant on couriesy. One may be as courteous as Lafayette, and yet as pure and upright as Washington. If, then, school-boys are kind-heartel and friendly to their mates, and evince it towards them in their manners, they will, by their example as well as by their words, fulfill the injunction of the rule.
The “ Prohibitions" are in the same spirit as the requisitions, and seem to be much the same in substance, although thrown into a negative form of speech. The first is in these words: “No boy to throw pens, paper, or any thing whatever, on the floor, or out at a window or door." This refers to a voluntary act of the pupil,-the rule requiring boys to pick up whatever is found on the floor to those accidental scatterings, for which one would not be culpable. The prohibition is founded on that necessity for order and neatness, which must ever be maintained in a well-conducted institution, to whatever object, worthy of attention, it may be devoted. And this is urged thus repeatedly, because of the ineffable importance of first s'eps. BEGIN RIGHT, should be the motto and rallying word of every nursery and every school.
Spilling on the floor. This topic I would willingly avoid, but fidelity to my charge forbids it. The practice, disgysting as it is, is too prevalent in many of the families that furnish pupils for your schools, to be overlooked. or winked out of sight; and if the children could carry home new nutions in regard to it, I am sure you would have furnished a good lesson to their parents.
The habits of large portions of society demand a reform. It is futile to expect any general amendment in those who have grown old in given practices; but with the children, those whose habits are, to a great extent, yet unformed, much may be done. And although the counteracting influences of home mililate against your wholesome requisitions, happy is it for us, that a goodly portion of New England respect for teachers still remains, to give authority and weight to your well-founded and reasonable rules. In many, if not in most, families, of our own countrymen, the fact that the school-ma'am' said so, is sufficient to make the rule promulgated binding on the parents; the mother, especially, will exert her authority and influence on the teacher's side; and if the ieacher possesses the qualities of judgment, discretion, a proper consideration for the circumstances of the families to which her children belong, to guide her in the adption of her regulations, she will be able to exert a power for good, within the sphere of her daily duties, which will continue to be felt and acknowledgei, long after she shall have rendered her final account.
Marking, cutiing, scratching, chalking, on the school-house, fence, walls, foc., are forbidden, as connected with much that is low, corrupting, and injurious to the property and rights of others. They are the beginnings in that course of debasing follies and vices, for which the idle, the ignorant, and profane, are 1.7ost remarkable; the first steps in that course of degradation and impurity, by which the community is disgraced, and the streams of social intercourse polluted. You mark the track of its subjects as you would the trail of a savage marauding party, by its foul deeds and revolting exploits; as you would the path of the ben constrictor, in its fil hy slime, which tells that man's deadly enemy is abroad. And we are called on, by every consideration of duty, to ourselves, to our offspring, and to our race, to arm against this tremendous evil, this spiritual bohon upas, which threatens so wide-spread a moral death.
We cannot escape the evidences of this, which assail us on every hand, some times on the very walls of our school-houses and churches; but especially in places removed from public view, where the most schocking obscenity of language is displayed, to poison the youthful mind, illustrated by emblems, which, in the words of one who deeply mourns with us over the existence of this monstrous evil, this desolating curse, "would make a heathen blush!" These frightful assaults on decency demand reform. The deep, low murmur of insulted hinanity will, I doubt not, unless this evil be checked, ascend to the tribunal of Eternal Purity, and invoke the malediction of our Judge, which may yet be displayed in the blasting of our fair land, like another Sodom! To avert so deplorable a catastrophe, let the thousands of the good and virtuous in your
med into one indomitable phalanx. take the noble stand which belongs to them, and never abandon it, till the enemy be forever vanquished; forever banished from the now polluted, but ever to be cherished, land of the Pilgrims!
By these practices, the mind acquires such a hankering after, and morbid relish for mischiet, that no tree, or shrubbery, or flowers, or public embellishments, or exhibitions of art or taste, however beautiful or expensive, are sacred from the mariing or destructive touch. A sensibility to the beautiful needs to de cultivated among us; and mav easily be done with the young, if a propei and sincere value be placed upon it by ourselves, and the children see that our admiration is a reality. It exists much more generally in continental Europe, than in our own country. There, the decorations of
ecorations of public walks, parks, and gardens; the galleries of the arts, and the magnificent structures which adorn their cities, are looked at, enjoyed, admired, by all classes; and rarely, indeed, is the Vandal hand of mischief or destruction found to desecrate these monuments of a nation's refinement. But how is it with us? No sooner has the artist given the last touch to the fluted column, ihan some barbarian urchin chips off a wedge of it, in wanton sport. How often is our indignation excited by the painter's boy, who, as he passes the newly-erected dwelling or recentlypainted wall, daubs it with his black paint-brush, for yards in length, as he saunters heedlessly along. And what more common, in almost all public buildings, in cupolas, observatories, &c., especially, for persons, apprehensive of being forgotten by posterity, than to cut out their names or their initials, as if this were their only road to immortality!
The use of knives is the thing next prohibited. In mere primary schools, this rule, and the one last mentioned, would find, perhaps, little to do. Some, however, there are, I doubt not, even in such schools, who suffer from the too free use of knives, as their forms, desks, or benches, could testify. Nothing is more fascinating to a boy than a knife. And what pleasure can there be in possessing a knire, if one may not use it? Hence the trouble occasioned by the instrument. He early learns in imitation of his elders if not his belters, that wood was made to be cut, and that the mission of a knife is, to do the work.
This topic can hardly be thought out of place, by those who will look into the recitation-rooms of almost any of our colleges, where many a dunce, unworthy of any degree, soon, by his dexterity in this department, lays claim to that of master of the art of hacking; "and has his claim allowed.”
I have already adverted to the whitlling propensities of our people; but, with your permission, I will add a remark or two, with a view to placing this national peculiarity in a stronger light. So proverbial have we become, among foreigners, in this respect, that, if a Yankee is to be represented on the stage, you find him with a jackknife in one hand, and in the other a huge bit of pine timber, becoming every moment smaller, by his diligent handiwork. If he is talking, arguing, or, more appropriately, if he is driving a bargain, you find him plying this, his wonied trade, with all the energy and dexterity of a beaver; and, as it was once said of an English advocate, that he could never plead, without a piece of packthread in his hands, so the Yankee would lose half his thrift, unless the knife and wood were concomitants of his chaffering. But the habit is of evil tendency, and ought to be checked. He indulges in it without discrimination, upon whatever is cut-able; and, worse than the white ant, which saws down and carries away whole human habitations, when they have become deserted, the whittling Yankee would hack your dwelling in present occupation, until he rendered you houseless. Let the mischief be checked betimes; do it at school; showing, at the same time, the uselessness, the folly, and the annoying nature, of the habit. It is not merely at home, among our own people, that it is practiced by us; but we carry it with us wherever we go, and, even among strangers, establish our New England identity by it.
The spirit of the school rules at which we have glanced, should be carried into every family. It is not enough to present the summary at which we have arrived; we should also insist on minor particulars, by words and actions, not at school only, but at home, where great familiarity produces influences unfasorable to the exercise of courtesy,-such as the closing of all doors, especially in cold weather; the doing of it gently, without slamming; moving quietly over the floor; abstaining from shooting, whistling, boisterous plays, wearing the hat in the house, &c. Just in proportion as such habits can be secured by yout labors, will you bring down upon your heads the blessing of mothers, worn by care, by siekness, and the rudeness of their offspring. Powerless themselves, to produce a reformation, their gratitude to you will be sincere and heartfelt.
Children should he taught to take leave of their parents and friends, on going to school, and to offer the friendly salute and kind inquiry, on returning home. Nothing tends more to strengthen the silken cords of family affection, than these little acts of courtesy; and their influence on the observer is highly favorable to benevolent feeling. If these points are attended to in our families, they will not fail of being carried into company, where they are always a coin of sterling value.
RULES FOR THE CARE AND PRESERVATION OF School-Houses..
The following provisions are included among the Regulations for the Government of Teachers and Pupils of Public Schools, adopted by School Committees in most of the towns of Rhode Island: For Teachers:
There shall be a recess of at least fifteen minutes in the middle of every half day; but the primary schools may have a recess of ten minutes every hour: at the discretion of the teacher.
It shall be the duty of teachers to see that fires are made, in cold weather, in their respective school-rooms, at a seasonable hour to render them warm and comfortable by school time; to take care that their rooms are properly swept and dusted; and that a due regard to neatness and order is observed, both in and around the school-house.
As pure air of a proper temperature is indispensable to health and comfort, teachers cannot be too careful in giving attention to these things. If the room has no ventilator, the doors and windows should be opened before and after school, to permit a free and healthful circulation of air; and the temperature should be regulated by a thermometer suspended, five or six feet from the floor, in such a position as to indicate as near as possible the average temperature, and should be kept about 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
The teachers shall take care that the school-houses, tables, desks, and appa. ratus in the same, and all the public property entrusted to their charge, be not cut scratched, marked, or injured and defaced in any manner whatever. And it shall be the duty of the teachers to give prompt notice to one or more of the trustees, of any repairs that may be needed. For Pupils :
Every pupil who shall, accidentally or otherwise, injure any school property, whether fences, gates, trees or shrubs, or any building or any part thereof; or break any window glass, or injure or destroy any instrument, apparatus or furniture belonging to the school, shall be liable to pay all damages.
Every pupil who shall any where, on or around the school premises, use or write any profane or unchaste language, or shall draw any obscene pictures or representations, or cut, mark, or otherwise intentionally deface any school furniture or buildings, or any property whatsoever belonging to the school estate, shall be punished in proportion to the nature and extent of the offence, and shall be liable to the action of the civil law.
No scholar of either sex shall be permitted to enter any part of the yard or buildings appropriated to the other, without the teacher's permission.
Smoking and chewing tobacco in the school-house or upon the school premises, are strictly prohibited.
The scholars shall pass through the streets on their way to and from school in an orderly and becoming manner; shall clean the mud and dirt from their feet on entering the school-room: and take their seats in a quiet and respectful manner, as soon as convenient after the first bell rings; and shall take proper care that their books, desks, and the floor around them, are kept clean and in good order.
It is expected that all the scholars who enjoy the advantages of public schools, will give proper attention to the cleanliness of their persons, and the neatness and decency of their clothes--not only for the moral effect of the habit of neatness and order, but that the pupils may be at all times prepared, both in conduct and external appearance--to receive their friends and visitors in a respectable manner; and to render the school-room pleasant, comfortable and happy for teachers and scholars.
In the “ Regulations of the Public Schools in the city of Providence." it is made the duty" of the principal teacher in each school-house, for the compensation allowed by the Committee, to employ some suitable person lo make the fires in the same when necessary, and to see that this important work is properly and economically done;" also "for the compensation
allowed, to employ some suitable person to sweep the room and its entries daily, and dust the blinds, seats, desks, and other furniture in the same, and to clean the same once a quarter, and to see that this work is neatly and properly done.”
The teachers must also " take care that the school-houses, the apparatus in the same, and all the public property entrusted to their charge, be not defaced, or otherwise injured by the scholars, and to give prompt notice to the Superintendant of any repairs and supplies that may be lieeded."
PRACTICAL SUGGESTIONS RESPECTING VENTILATION, Fires, SWEEP
ING AND DUSTING. The following suggestions are taken from the Manual of the System of Discipline and Instruction for the Schools of the Public School Society of New York:
VENTILATION. Strict attention should be paid to all the means provided for temperature and ventilation. During the season of fires, the thermometer should be watched, and the ventilating flues, windows, doors, and stoves, should he constantly attended to,-and every precaution taken, to give as pure an atmosphere to the school-room, as circumstances will allow. This is not only necessary, for a proper and free exercise of the physical powers,but it will be found greatly to influence every mental exercise; for, both will partake of either languor, or vigor, according as ventilation is neglected, or duly attended to. In warm weather, the upper sashes should be down during school hours, and allowed to remain open about four inches during the night,-except, that on occasion of a storm, ihe windows against which it beats, may be closed. In winter, excepting when the weather is exceedingly cold and piercing, it may be of advantage to have two or more of the upper sashes down about an inch during the night; but these as well as the doors should be closed before kindling the fires. Two or more of the upper sashes should be drawn down at the end of the first half hour after opening school,-and again, for a short time at each successive half hour,--and whenever the thermometer rises to 70 degrees. At all seasons, the windows and doors should be thrown wide open for a few minutes during each recess, while the scholars are in the yard. The teacher sliould be careful to require all the scholars to go out, except such as may reasonably be excused on account of infirmity or sickness; and even these should be required to change their places, and to exercise themselves by walking to and fro in the school-room. At all seasons, at the close of school, all the doors and windows should be opened for a few minutes, in order that a pure atmosphere may be admitted and retained during the noon-time recess, or at night. A thermometrical diary must be kept during the winter season, and the temperature of the room noteci at the opening, middle, and close, of each daily session. Further directions on this point are given in the instructions for making fires. The window-blinds and curtains are for the purpose of guarding against the sunshine, or observation from without. They should, therefore, be so managed, as only to exclude the direct rays of the sun, and kept open or shui accordingly. When required as a screen from observation, they should extend no farther than necessary for that purpose. Attention to these rules will give an air of cheerfulness within, so congenial to the young. It is important that ihis fact be impressed on all. that air, and light, are grand essentials in a school-room: let the first be freely admitted, and the second never causelessly excluded.
• FIRES. The ashes should be taken from the stoves in the morning only, leaving a laver of one inch in depth: then to proceed to build wish the maierials after the following manner: Place one larze stick on each sile; in the space between them, place the kindling wood; and ab: reil, the small wood, somewhat crosswise; then, set fire to the kindling, and close the stove door. See that the