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INCIDENTS IN SCHOOL LIFE EXPERIENCE.
I. Several years ago, two interesting young men and brothers, entered one of our Vermont Academies. They were sons of a deceased minister who had left their excellent mother in dependant circumstances, and with four children to support and educate, It was soon discovered by their teacher, that they were young men of talent, energy and character. Hence, they were encouraged and aided in a course of study preparatory for College. In one instance, the elder had the loan of fifty dollars without interest, on condition that his younger brother should have the use of it in turn. This money was expended, and again earned by teaching school, to be again expended. The interest was annually paid for the support of missions. And finally, the amount was again earned in the same way, and returned to the creditor. Time passed on, and these young men had at length struggled through a liberal course of education ; had encountered every dif ficulty, and overcome every obstacle, and already gained honorable distinction as scholars and christian men. Now one is a successful lawyer in a New England City, and the other is an able and honored Professor in one of our New England Colleges. It may be proper to remark in this connection, that pupils need encouragement and inspiration more than instruction. That teacher alone is master of his profession, who knows how to wake up
the sleeping energies of the soul, and to guide his pupils to successful self-application. And another idea is suggested; poverty is the school in which the most practical, useful and successful men are trained in the various departments of life.
II. A HARD CASE, AND HOW IT WAS TREATED. A lad of fifteen years, noted for his stubbornness, was seated with his class in the recitation room. An insulting answer had been given to a simple question, without provocation. The teacher came down from the desk and asked for an explanation of his conduct. The insult was continued. The boy was then ordered to come out upon the floor; he refused, and challenged the teacher to take him out of his seat. The challenge was accepted, and in a moment, the boy lay at full length upon the floor. He sprang upon his feet, and with an oath, began an assault upon the teacher. It was not "secession," but wur. He was met with a blow that prostrated him. He resumed the assault, and continued to fight and sweur, until he had fallen six times. He was now conquered. The recitation was then completed, and the lad invited to the teacher's room. At this point, commenced a process of "moral suasion.” The rebel had been subdued, and rightful authority re-established. Now, the pupil must be restored to duty, and confidence. And this was effectually done, in the case before us, by a half hour's kind and familiar conversation. The boy was convinced that the teacher acted only from a sense of duty, and for his good; that he was still his friend, and was ready to do anything in his power for his good. So complete was this victory, and so effectual the discipline, that the lad, the same day, rebuked a classmate for censuring the teacher's severity, fully and publicly justified his course, and has ever since, manifested the most sincere friendship towards him. Three years after the boy had left school, he returned to visit his teacher, and expressed to him gratitude, in view of his fidelity, and said to him, that that punishment was the best thing that ever happened in his experience. In view of this, and numerous other cases like it, in my school life experience, allow me to suggest to young teachers, first of all, maintain your authority, and at whatever expense. Be prompt and energetic in subduing rebellion. Do not allow the rebels to take half your “forts,” and to fortify themselves for aggressive warfare, before you move against them, but strike the decisive blow at once. It is much easier to retain, than to regain authority over a school, or a state. Let the school master learn wisdom from President Buchanan's weakness and folly. Another idea ; never allow a chastised pupil to mingle with his companions, or return home, until you have had private and faithful conversation with him. Do not let the sun go down upon his wrath. By moral power, brought to bear upon him after the severe chastisement, he is made your friend, and fully restored to duty. In these hard cases, the blow must come first, but must always be followed by kind and confidential treatment.
A CASE OF PILFERING, AND HOW THE HABIT WAS CORRECTED.
Into the same school, was introduced another lad, from a New England City, who had been addicted to pilfering from early childhood. The teacher was not apprised of the fact when the boy entered. He had found him bright, intelligent, and in many things, conscientious. He was roguish and shrewd, but not malicious. But soon his propensity to steal manifested itself in an “overt act." He had taken fourteen dollars from the teacher's drawer. No one had seen him do it; there was no evidence against him, except the betrayal of a guilty conscience, when the subject was alluded to. This fact fixed suspicion, and aided the teacher in his investigation. He brought the subject before the school, and exposed the folly, guilt, and danger, of such conduct; he urged the probability that the guilty one would be discovered, and the certainty that his crime would be exposed and punished. It was pre sumed that this was an act of indiscretion, and upon reflection, the pupil would deeply regret it, and earnestly desire to restore the money, and recover himself from the disgrace incurred. A way was left open and time given for restitution. And the next morning when the school met for religious exercises, the teacher found bis money carefully deposited in his Bible. Of course, the act of restoring was warmly commended, and the occasion im: proved, to impress upon the minds of the pupils the importance of regulating conscience by the Bible. That was a good place to deposit stolen money, and a safe way to correct bad habits. The discipline ended here, and we have only to record the sequel. What has become of that lad? I am assured that he was never afterwards guilty of pilfering. On leaving school, he served for years, as a clerk, in whom his employer had entire confidence, and now he is a successful business man, and worthy citizen, settled with a family in a large village not a hundred miles from Boston.
It occurs to me here, to suggest that moral evils, like all others, in school, should be corrected publicly whenever the offence is public. In this way, the influence of the correction is felt both upon the individual and the whole school, and often times reaches similar cases of guilt not known to the teacher.
My second suggestion is, that all such habits as falsehood, profanity, and thieving, are ordinarily more easily corrected by moral means. In some such cases, however, the rod is the only remedy. If that fails, there is no hope of cure. And it is proper here to remark, that all the moral power that is brought to bear in the correction of bad habits, and punishment of crime, must be drawn from the Bible and applied in the exercise of a christian spirit. In all cases of discipline, the teacher should aim to reform and save the offender, when this can be done without injury to the school. But if the school or the criminal must be sacrificed, the teacher's duty is plain. Hang the rebels, and save the country.
SCIENCE, ITS TRUE POSITION.—It was an admirable reply of a converted astronomer, who, when interrogated concerning his comparative estimate of religion and the science he bad formerly idolized, answered, “I am now bound for heaven, and I take the stars IN MY WAY."
ROCK ME TO SLEEP.
Backward, turn backward, O Time! in your flight,
Backward, flow backward, O swift tide of years !
Tired of the hollow, the base, the untrue:
Over my heart in the days that are flown,
Come, let your brown hair, just lighted with gold,