« AnteriorContinuar »
ations; their reports are always exaggerated, and generally unreliable. These visionary young brains readily transform a mole-hill into a mountain—a spark carried home from the school-room, and there diligently fanned into a flame, often spreads conflagration through a whole neighborhood. A mild reproof from the teacher is magnified into an insult too grievous to be borne; a slight chastisement becomes a murderous assault; the least coercion an act of intolerable tyranny; and the respectable lady or gentleman who has charge of the school, becomes suddenly transformed into a merciless despot.
There seems to be a kind of glamour before the eyes of many parents in regard to their offspring. Other people's children may be idle, rebellious and untruthful, but not theirs; other folks' children may be punished, and serves them right, but their's surely can never deserve the least correction. These parents seem to think their own boys and girls beings of a perfectly unique and wonderful species, and the teacher's great sin is, that he cannot or will not show partiality, and take those children at the valuation placed upon them by their doting, love-blinded "ma" and "pa.""
We speak of parents and children in the aggregate. There are parents just, reasonable and considerate; there are children gentle, truthful, studious and obedient. We read of perfect children, but who of us has ever seen one, or wishes to? Doubtless such a child occasionally appears on earth to show us what our world might be if inhabited by the cherubim and seraphim, but being usually afflic- ted with an inherent weakness of the spine, and an abnormal desire to be an angel,
And with the angels stand,"
the sweet innocent is sure to be early taken home to Heaven, where it rightfully belongs. The actual child of our everyday life is no seraphic being. Good predominates in his nature, but the "Old Adam" is still there. However exalted his virtues, his distinguishing characteristic is sure to be an innate hatred of books, and love of "fun." Gather two or three score of these restless, excitable young beings in a school-room, and their exuberant spirits must be kept in check by strict discipline. If the child rebels against this, and finds allies at home in his parents, woe to him and to the school.
Parents knowing that discipline must be maintained in school,
should seek to have the children respect the teacher, and acknowl edge his authority. It is a cardinal principle of military discipline, that no officer shall be reproved in the presence of his superiors, as, in the language of the article of war, "It tends to weaken their authority. Whatever then may be the parent's private opinion of the teacher, so long as their children attend the school, they should never speak disrespectfully of him (or her) in presence of these children. Parents should be the allies, not the enemies of the teacher. Both having in view the child's welfare, should work together in harmony.
By paving frequent visits to the school, parents may inform themselves of its true condition and management, and if things are going wrong, they will be justified in complaining to the "powers that be," and having the wrong righted. That teachers are falli ble like the rest of us, and often do wrong, we do not pretend to deny.
We do not believe in corporal punishment, and it is our opinion that if directors did their duty, it would never be necessary to resort to this relic of barbarism. But if, as is usually the case, they leave the whole control in the teacher's hands, he is compelled to use extreme measures to secure anything like order or obedience. Many pupils can be kept in subjection only by fear, and we are informed by teachers of experience and ability, they find those who fear no earthly punishment but the rod. Yet school children always have a kind of exaggerated awe of directors and committee men, and there are few so lost to shame and honor as not to dread public reprimand or expulsion. This being the case, the directors. should co-operate with the teacher in the proper government of the school. They must expect to visit it often, and to be occasionally called upon to quell rebellion and to enforce discipline. If they are not willing to be "bothered," or have not time to attend properly to the duties of the office, let them not accept it.
People in general think it the easiest thing in the world to teach school, and, when finding fault with the teacher, usually wind up with wishing they could only be in his place a little while, just to show you how things ought to be done! A vast deal of pretty nonsense has been written upon the subject:
"Delightful task to rear the tender thought,
exclaims some poetical enthusiast, who never taught a day in his life. "To the teacher's charge is entrusted each childish soul-a pure, white tablet, upon which he is to write for weal or woe.Happy, honored teacher to whom is committed the fond, yet fearful task, of moulding destiny," &c. All very fine, if children were angels, parents ditto, and we were living in the millenium. Taking the world as it is, we must look upon teaching as the most arduous, thankless, and ill-paid of earthly callings. Iu the vast array of teachers up and down our land, we see but a great army of martyrs, persecuted, maligned-their truest efforts unappreciated, and their good deeds evil spoken of. But change is the order of all earthly things. The world moves, and men move with it, and there is "a good time coming by and by." Sooner or later the day will dawn, when the teachers' calling will be invested with its true dignity, and receive the emolument which is justly its due. Meantime, dear teachers, we exhort you to possess your souls in patience, fer of patience you surely have the sorest need.-Grant County Witness.
1. The Schoolmaster and the King.-In school, where the mind is first placed under care to be fitted for the grand purposes of life, the child should be taught to consider his instructor, in many respects, superior to the parent in point of authority. The infant mind early apprehends and distinguishes with a surprising sagacity and is always more influenced by example than precept. When a parent, therefore, enters the school, and by respectful deportment acknowledges the teacher's authority, the pupil's obedience and love for the master are strengthened; and the principle of subor. dination is naturally engrafted in the child, and in the most agreeable and effectual manner possible—that is, by the influence of example. It is by this happy conspiracy between the teacher and parent, that a new power-a genial influence over the infant mind -is acquired, which is of infinite importance to the welfare and happiness of society. To aim a blow at this power would be to strike at the very basis of magisterial authority. It was to support
this important element of good government that the learned and judicious schoolmaster said to Charles II., in the plenitude of his power:
Sire, pull off thy hat in my school; for if my scholars discover that the king is above me in authority here, they will soon cease to respect me." (Morris' Case, 1 City Hall Rec., 55.)
2. Every man's house is his castle.-This old maxim of Englis law (5 Rep., 92) is as applicable to the schoolmaster as to any other person who is in the lawful possession of a house. It is true, that the school officers, as such, have certain rights in the school-house; but the law will not allow even them to interfere with the teacher while he keeps strictly within the line of his duty. Having been legally put in possession, he can hold it for the purposes and the time agreed upon; and no parent, not even the governor of the State, nor the President of the United States, has any right to enter it and disturb him in the lawful performance of his duties. If persons do so enter, he should order them out; and if they do not go on being requested to do so, he may use such force as is necessary to eject them. And if he finds that he is unable to put them out himself, he may call on others to assist him; and if no more force than is actually necessary to remove the intruders is employed, the law will justify the teacher's act and the acts of those who assisted him. (Stevens vs. Fassett, 27 Maine, 266; 1 City Hall Rec., 55; 2 Met., 23; 6 Barb., 608; 8 T. R., 299; 2 Ro. Abr., 548; 2 Selk., 641; 1 C. & P., 6; 8 T. R., 78; Wharton's Am. Crim. Law, 1256.)
3. The vulgar impression that parents have a legal right to dictate to teachers, is entirely erroneous.-As it would be manifestly improper for the teacher to undertake to dictate to the parents in their own house, so it would be improper for the parents to dictate to him in his, the school-house. Nor does it matter whether the parents own their house, or whether, like the teacher, they only have possession of it for a certain time specified and on certain conditions, and perhaps for certain purposes named in the lease. In either case, the lawful possession is enough. It may be very proper, under certain circumstances, for the teacher to go to the house of the parents for an explanation, or to receive or give advice; and it may be equally proper for parents, under certain circumstances, to go to the school-house for an explanation, or to receive or give advice, pro
vided that, in both cases, it is done in the right spirit. For it must be borne in mind that the schoolmaster has no right whatever to exercise authority over parents out of the school-house, and that parents, as such, have no right whatever to exercise authority over the master. When the interests of parents and teachers are properly understood, there will be complete harmony and unity of action; but until that happy day comes, it is well enough for all to know that the teacher's position does not require him to please any parent, but to do his duty, even though he displease them all. The impression that parents have a right to go to the school and dictate to, or insult the teacher, is entirely contrary to the spirit and letter of the law establishing the common or public schools throughout the country. In private schools, the case is somewhat different; for the parents there, in legal effect, are the employers of the teacher, and consequently his masters; but in the common and public schools they are neither his employer nor his master, and it is entirely out of place for them to attempt to give him orders; for "there is no privity of contract between the parents of pupils to be sent to school and the schoolmaster. The latter is employed and paid by the town, and to them only is he responsible on his contract." (Spear vs. Cummings, 23 Pick., 224.)
4. The statutory law as to disturbing schools. In some of the States it is made a criminal offence to willfully interrupt or disturb any public, private, or select school. (28 Conn. 232.) The New York statue says, " No person shall willfully disturb, or disquiet, any assemblage of persons met at any school district for the purpose of receiving instruction in any of the branches of education usually taught in the common-schools of this Staté, or in the science of music." (Session Laws of 1845, ch. 228.) This statute seems to apply equally to day or evening, and public or private schools. The penalty for its violation is not to exceed twenty-five dollars for each offence, and there is no clause in it favoring parents; con. sequently, if they disturb or disquiet the school they are subject to the same penalty as others. It is the policy of the States generally to encourage education; and many of them having established free-schools, have thought proper to make provisions to protect their schools from indiscreet interference. Consequently, all well conducted schools, may now, in a certain sense, be regarded as the wards of the State. It will not allow any of them to be disturb