Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

for his services, but is quite willing to take the talents and attainments of a teacher upon trust provided he will submit to be beaten down in his price, and thus a few dollars be secured to a rich and populous district, which have been wrung from the just compensation of a single individual. Teachers should be liberally paid for their services. Such pecuniary inducements should be offered and such a standard of qualification required as will encourage them to make teaching a profession, a life business, to qualify themselves for it in every respect, and to pursue it with an ardor and enthusiasm not to be dampened by the prospectof being thrown out of employment every few weeks,or months at most. The idea of permanence in our public sehools seems to be little thought of, certainly seldom carried into practice. And yet the fluctuating character of our schools, caused by the incessant change of teachers, as the prejudice of school committees or the caprice of interested friends may dictate, is an evil of fearful magni. tude. Look at its practical results for a moment. A teacher commences a school, a stranger alike to the children and to the parents. He succeeds by diligence and faithfulness in awakening interest and even enthusiasm in his pupils. In a few weeks, while his pupils are making rapid progress and acquiring correct habits of study and of thought, while every day of the school is worth three days of its commencement and he is going forward in the full tide of success—just when the pupils have learned his ways and he their dispositions so as best to adapt themselves to each other, he finds himself at the end of the term. Could he now be with them the next term he would be able to commence just where he leaves off, and no time would be lost or thrown away in the reorganization of the school under a new teacher. But, no. His reputation as a teacher will not save him. His

and success. ful school will not save him. A regard for the best interests of the district will not save him. He closes his school and another individual, brought forward perhaps by in.

prosperous

.

terested friends, takes his place. The first half of the term is consumed in acquiring a knowledge of the capaci. ties and dispositions of the pupils, initiating them into new methods, going through the same elementary principles progressively, and bringing them up to where they were at the close of the previous term. And mark well-this time is thrown away and the money it cost is need. lessly and culpably squandered. Permanence in the school, secured by the permanent employment of a good teacher and the payment of a liberal price for his services, should be the leading idea of every citizen, for be.it remembered that every man has a direct personal interest in the instruction of the rising generation, whether he will or no. Take a single illustration of the value of permanent teaching. In a certain town in this State, under the act of 1841, authorizing contiguous districts to unite for the purpose of sustaining a Union High School, several contiguous districts so united. In one of these districts a teacher has been employed for seven consecutive years without any change, and although it embraces within its limits only about one-fifth of the pupils in the Union districts, yet during this seven years it has furnished twothirds of the candidates for the High School within the limits of the Union. Now, why is this? It is not because the teachers in other districts have not been equally competent, and for the time equally successful. It is not because the children in other districts are inferior in capacity to the children in this district. Nor is it because the proprietors in other districts take no interest in their schools. It is due simply to the fact that the people in this district have learned by experience the value of retaining a good teacher permanently, and have wisely de. termined to profit by the lesson. And the results which. this policy has developed, have probably done more to awaken in the community in which this school is located a conviction of its absolute necessity and a desire for permanent teaching in their own districts than all other causes

combined. And until this shifting, vacillating policy of changing teachers two or three times a year shall be abandoned, and the better principle of employing profeesional teachers permanently shall become the general practice, we need never expect to arrive at that high standard of excellence in our schools which every edlightened and philanthropic mind must earnestly desire, and which our present wholesome laws are so well calculated to develop.

C. A. C.

EARNESTNESS AN ELEMENT OF SUCCESS. A distinguished writer who has enjoyed favorable opportunities for observation, remarks that “the great difference between men is energy, invincible determination, an honest purpose once fixed and then death or victory. That quality will do any thing that can be done in the world; and no talent, no circumstances, no opportunity, will make a two-legged creature a man without it."

This remark reveals one of the most important characteristics of the true teacher. Enthusiasm (God in us) is indispensable to success in the management and instrúction of a school. Its influence is felt at all times and every where. It speaks out in every expression, word and action, of every day life. As is the master in this respect, so is the school. Indolence is contagious, so is zeal. The one leaves the school in idleness and disorder, the other electrifies, and inspires to earnest and successful effort.

Enthusiasm in the teacher gives the school room the busy aspect of the work-shop or the bee-hive, where industry, and order reign. The “glow of labor” described by Virgil, is well illustrated in such a school. The minds of the pupils, roused and warmed by the presiding spirit of the teacher, are bent and wrought and shaped like the steel when it feels the flame of the blacksmith's forge.

Without this animating principle, the school is dull and in confusion—a mere formality, with little interest or profit, either to parents or pupils. Let no one attempt to inspire others with the love of knowledge and the labor necessary to secure mental discipline, who is not himself inspired.

[ocr errors]

THE TEACHER'S WORK. It is great and important beyond all human conception. The results of his toil are not at once apparent, yet they are real and important. The world looks for immediate results and too often measures the importance of the work by its productiveness in dollars and cents. In the great factory they hear the sound of money in the noisy waterwheel, they see it in the rich goods that pass to the market. But the results of the teacher's labors are never seen in connection with himself; hence, it is often inferred that they are comparatively unimportant.

The noisy factory turns out products that enrich the capitalist, but how soon may these riches pass away and be forgotten. The neat little school-house, with its unassuming, efficient teacher, turns out men who must move t'le machinery of society--produce or quell revolutions, free or enslave the country, and perform deeds of heroic virtue. Here are formed the poet, the sage, and the ora tor. The one to charm the world by his numbers, another to enlighten it by his wisdom, and the last to sway the multitudes as the winds bend with resistless force the stately trees of the forest. Such is your influence, fellow teacher, and such the importance of your work. You toil on holy ground—it is yours to wake up the slumbering fires of genius. And

Perhaps in this neglected fput is found
Some heart now preg ant with celestial fire,
Ilands that the rod of empire may yet sway.

Or wake to ees tacy the living lyre." Remember your high calling. To be a true teacher, in the best sense of that word, is to stand in the highest and best place that God has ordained for man. To form a human soul to virtue and to enrich it with knowledge, is an office inferior only to creating power. Toil on! fellow teacher, faithfully, earnestly and perseveringly. Your work is vast and your responsibility great, but you shall not lose your reward.

[ocr errors]

TEACH THE CHILDREN TO SING.

The wisest of all the heathen nations, the ancient Greeks, made a point of teaching their children music; because, they said, it taught them, not to be self-willed and fanciful, but to see the beauty of order, the usefulness of rules, the divineness of laws.

The importance of teaching music, especially vocal music, to children, can scarcely be over estimated. Its value as a means of government in the nursery, its soothing power over the wayward and fretful child, every mother well knows; and every teacher should know, practically and experimentally, its power to allay excitement and subdue evil passions in school. Under its influence anger subsides, ill-will vanishes, and the spirit of revenge softens to forbearance and then to pity, and love takes the place of malice and hatred. Introduce vocal music into a turbulent school, and it will prove like oil on troubled waters. Let it be introduced and persevered in, and very soon elements of harmony will appear where discord and ill-nature previously prevailed.

Teach a child to sing "I'll away, I'll away," etc., and he will need no rod to drive him, or commands to force him, to school. If a child does not at once discern “ the beauty of order, the usefulness of rules, the divineness of laws," the sure and certain outwork of the influence of music upon the mind is tune and time---promptness and efficiency-life and energy.

Then, by all means, teach the children to sing. At the

« AnteriorContinuar »