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noble and adorn humanity, should afford his benevolent heart the highest delight. Teaching should be a profession, ranking with the professions of law and medicine. One should embrace it as a business for years, or for life. It is a calling of the most solemn responsibility. On the manner of its execution hang the most eventful consequences. The influence of early tuition may decide the character of an individual for time and eternity. It may be intimately connected with his happiness or misery during all the periods of his interminable existence.
It is apparent that a person uniting in his character the attributes, exercises and relations of an eligible teacher, is entitled to the highest consideration. He should be courteously greeted in the best circles of society. His employment should be permanent and lucrative. This would be greatly beneficial to all concerned. Teachers would be encouraged, respected and happy. Scholars would learn as much in two, as they now do in many schools, in six years. Besides, they would be rightly taught-taught to think-taught the power of application. All the original faculties of the mind would be developed in due proportion. A proper balance would be maintained. While the mind is aequiring in the wisest method, useful knowledge, it is disciplined to intense, enduring, triumphant thought, upon any subject submitted to its examination.
One word before leaving this topic regarding female teachers. The qualifications requisite to successful teaching and government are not exclusively confined to the male sex. All acquainted with the mind and manners of accomplished females, and with the character of children and youth, would class such females among the most eligible teachers. That such is the fact, appears from the concurrent testimony of numerous individuals, in several States, whose appointments had led them to make on the behalf of legislative bodies, critical examinations into the learning and government of many female schools. To these schools, composed of both sexes, were accorded the palm of excellence. It is devoutly to be wished that parents and teachers—all those whose official duties relate to schools, with all. the friends of learning, may often meet on the subject of education. Let it be the theme of lectures, essays and debates. Let inquiries, observations and facts respecting its interests, everywhere meet the public eye on the pages of newspapers and periodicals. Truth invites discussion. It profits by examination. The more the subject of education, we repeat the idea, is agitated, the more its prosperity will be found strongly allied to the most valuable blessings of our be. loved country, and of all mankind.-O. C. COMSTOCK, Šup't, 1844
A small district is unprofitable, and, so far as practicable, should be avoided. It will rarely possess numbers, wealth and efficiency enough to establish and sustain a good and prosperous school. In a large and successful school there is something inspiring to scholars and teachers; indeed, to all concerned. But a small school and its usual concomitants, exerts a contrary influence. A small district com
monly employs a teacher who can be obtained for low wages; it has not alwas a due regard to his qualifications for his momentous employment. It will ordinarily keep a school in operation but a few months in a year. Such a district and its teacher are prone to change their relations to each other; and they often gratify this propensity; hence, the latter is engaged and dismissed in frequent succession. The injurious consequences resulting from these changes are numerous and apparent. A teacher who instructs a school but a short time only, cannot feel that lively interest in its welfare that he would, should he have it under his tuition during many terms. Besides, if the teacher deserves it, the scholars will, after a while, imbibe a respect for his character, which will progressively increase with the revolution of months and years. This respect is material to their improvement, and the teacher's happiness. When a teacher knows, from the general character of his district, that his labors in it will probably be short, he does not feel at home; he rather regards himself as a passenger, liable every hour to be called by the horn to prosecute his journey. He has not all those motives before his mind, to exhibit such a character, in all respects as a teacher, as should secure to him permanency, support and respectability in his calling. When a teacher is employed for the first time in a district, he often changes a part of the school books, the mode of teaching and the discipline. This is a source of embarrassment to the school, and expense to its patrons. There is usually a considerable interval between the time when one teacher leaves and another comes. This interrupts the habit of reading and study, and impairs that fondness for attending school which had been formed by the scholars. Their minds become dissipated; hence much time, pains and effort are requisite to bring them back to a state favorable to advancment in learning, to the enjoyment of the school. This mutability and the causes which induce it, are to be deprecated; they should be removed.
The advantages of having a school near one's house-advantages which sway the minds of many in voting to divide districts, or to organize small ones, cannot atone for the evils suggested. We had better oblige our children to enjoy the salutary exercise of walking one or two miles, to a reputable school, than to send them to one though at our door, which, for various reasons, is exceptionable. [O. C. COMSTOCK, Sup't, 1845.
CONSOLIDATION OF DISTRICTS. The consolidation of districts, in our cities and rising villages, is highly desirable. A district thus augmented would be rendered ca. pable of erecting and furnishing a building containing four rooms for graduated schools. The rule of graduation should have reference alone to degrees of scholarship. The lowest department should receive new beginners, and the highest those who intend to acquire the most liberal education these institutions could confer. Other departments should be occupied by the intermediate classes of pupils. These graduated schools would obviate the necessity of select semin
aries. Education obtained in these, is always much more expensive than it would be, if imparted in the graduated schools; since these would be so organized and managed as to entitle them to a due proportion of the school fund. The necessity of select schools is founded in the imperfect character of the primary schools. Elevate these, and select schools will be superceded.-[O. C. COMSTOCK, Superin. tendent, 1845.
PHYSICAL EXERCISE. In childhood the excitability is highly accumulated. This is peculiarly the case when a child is deprived of sufficient exercise. In this state a sense of uneasiness pervades the entire system; the head especially feels disordered; the mind is confused; it does not perceive clearly; it cannot grasp a subject triumphantly; debility, irritation and peevishness are apt to ensue. Under these circumstances a child is temporarily disqualified for all agreeable and successful study. To demand it of him just at this period, is cruel. To expect that it could be profitable, is folly. Such a course would be at war with the laws of both body and mind. A scholar often treated in this way would regard the school house as a dreary prison, and his studies as a painful punishment. The necessary recesses and exercise in the open air, will obviate this melancholy train of things. Suitable play grounds attached to a school house are all important.
A child requires much exercise. This is indispensable to develop, strengthen and discipline the corporal faculties——to exhaust a part of the superabundant excitability-to restore and maintain an equable diffusion of blood and sensorial power--things which are essential to physical health, mental vigor, and delightful study. What I have said in reference to the physical system of children, applies in a great measure, to all animals. When they are young they are extremely sportive—a sort of perpetual motion. The animal universe demands air and action. Without these, all sentient beings lose their vitality.—[O. C. COMSTOCK, Sup't, 1845.
THE TEACHER'S CALLING. The teacher's calling should rank among the learned professions. The lawyer is required to devote a series of years to a regular course of classical study and professional reading before he can find employment in a case in which a few dollars only are pending. With this we find no fault. But it should not be forgotten that the teacher's calling is as much more important than the ordinary exercise of the legal profession, as the unperishable riches of mind are more valuable than the corruptible treasures of earth.
We seek out from among us men of sound discretion and good report to enact laws for the government of our State and nation. And with this, too, we find no fault. It is right and proper should do so. But it should be borne in mind that it is the teacher's high prerogative not only so to teach the rising generation that they shall rightly understand law, but to infix in their minds the principles of justice and equity, the attainment of which is the high aim of le
gislation. While our legislators enact laws for the government of the people, the well qualified and faithful schoolmaster prepares those under his charge to govern themselves. Without the teachers conservative influence, under the best legislation, the great mass of the people will be lawless; while the tendency of his labors is to qualify the rising generation who constitute our future freemen and our country's hope, to render an enlightened, a cheerful and a ready obedience to the high claims of civil law. The well qualified, faithful teacher, becomes the right arm of the Legislature. Once more: The physician is required to become thoroughly acquainted with the anatomy and physiology of the human body; in a word, to become acquainted with the house I live in;" to understand the diseases to which we are subject, and their proper treatment, before he is allowed to extract a tooth, to open a vein, or administer the simplest medicine. Nor with this do we find fault, for we justly prize the body. It is the habitation of the immortal mind. When in health, it is the mind's servant, and ready to do its biddings; but darken its windows by disease and it becomes the mind's prison house. But while the physician, whom we honor and love, is required to make these attainments before he is permitted even to repair the house I live in, should not he who teaches the master of the house be entitled to a respectable rank in society? He should, in the unanimous opinion of every enlightened citizen who duly appreciates the importance of the teacher's profession-Ira Mayhew, Supt, 1846.
Section ninety-two of the revised school law provides, as we have seen, for the organization of such schools in this state. A considerble number of districts have already availed themselves of this provision, and several large and commodious Union school houses have been built, in which schools are in successful operation. Other similar houses are now in process of erection, and taxes have been voted in other cases, with reference to building another season.
In that school are combined all the advantages of the well conducted common school, the acaderay for young gentlemen, and the seminary for young ladies. Children
there commence with the alphabet, and pass from one grade to another, until, on leaving the school, they are prepared to enter any college or university in the United States.
Union schools should be established at the earliest practicable period, in every county of this state, and in all the principal villages, in which students may qualify themselves to enter the University, Union schools constitute the only reliable connecting link between our primary schools and the State University.
The following are among the advantages which well conducted Union schools possess:
1. They are open to all. In this respect, they are like our common schools.
The course of instruction is also considerably extended, and ample provision is thus made for the thorough education of every child residing within the districts in which they are established.
This is very
2. They may be better than our common and select schools now generally are. In them, the principle of a division of labor is recognized. In this respect they resemble our colleges and universities, in which each professor has his distinct department. When a teach. er instructs in a few branches only, he has an opportunity of attaining greater skill and aptness, than when he has occasion to direct his attention to eight or ten distinct recitations, in the short space of three hours. The course of instruction may also be more thorough than in our common or select schools; each pupil being required to sustain a satisfactory examination in every branch of study he pursues, before he is permitted to enter a higher class. different from the course usually pursued'in select and private schools. Children generally desire to advance rapidly. Parents, also, are commonly anxious to have them. Teachers understanding this, and hence, desirous of pleasing both children and parents, that they may continue their patronage, are frequently more solicitous to advance their scholars rapidly than thoroughly. This is a great error, and is productive of more mischief than most persons are aware of. We are the creatures of habit, and become accustomed to do things thoroughly or carelessly-well or ill. The evil consequences of bad habits who can estimate? The good, also, that results from the early formation of correct habits, so far from being confined to early childhood, only begins to discover itself at this period, and is not fully developed until late in life. “What is worth doing at all, is worth doing well,” has become a proverb.
3. Union schools are not only better, but they are cheaper than other schools. Each teacher has large classes, and hence employs his time more profitably than he otherwise could. A good teacher can just as well instruct a class of fifteen or twenty, as only three or four. The scholars, also, will generally be more stimulated, and will hence apply themselves more closely to their studies, and with better results, with large classes than with small ones.
4. Common schools and Union schools are democratic institutions, while select schools are aristocratic in their character and tendency.
3. Union schools are very good substitutes for Normal schools or teachers' seminaries. I perhaps ought not to speak of them as substitutes. I may, however, safely say, that in the absence of Normal schools, well conducted Union schools cannot fail to accomplish much in the improvement of common school teachers. In them the course of instruction is extensive, thorough and practical; just what every teacher needs to qualify him for his work. In addition to this, the principal might organize a teacher's class, fall and spring, and give à course of instruction specially adapted to the wants of those who contemplate teaching. These instructions might be exemplified by frequent visits to the several departments of the union school, which should be so conducted as to constitute it a model school.
6. The government is usually better in well regulated common schools, and especially in Union schools, than in select or private schools. Select school teachers are apt to indulge their pupils to their serious injury, and they not unfrequently resort to questionable means to se