« AnteriorContinuar »
generations, that such cases are comparatively few, yet their existence in our midst, as shown by the fact that eighty. nine teachers are teaching without certificates, is but the natural result of that economy to which allusion has been made. Professional talent, skill and experience always have their price. Your teachers are what you make them. A demand for cheap teachers generally calls out an inferior grade of talent and attainment, which, because it is cheap, is often employed, wbile scores of young men and hundreds of young women, of the first talent, whose services would be both an honor and a blessing to the State, are virtually driven from the public schools to seek employments which furnish a better reward.
From the report of the Secretary of the Board of Education, it appears that the average wages paid to male teachers during the last school year was $17.44, and the average wages paid to female teachers during the same period was $7.80. From thirty to eighty scholars of all ages and grades of attainment attend these schools cach term. Let us now compare these facts with corresponding statistics in other localities. In the year 1849, the av. orage wages paid to male teachers in Suffolk county, Mass., was $67.83, and in the same county the average wages paid to female teachers was $20.53, and the average wages of teachers has steadily increased there, as ap pears by the fact that in 1849 the average wages of male teachers in Boston was $105.00, and in 1851 it was $124.00. The average wages of female teachers in 1819 was $25.00, and in 1851 it was $31.00, and yet the average number of scholars to each teacher of these schools, a the largest in all New England, was about 58, and these it should be remembered were all of a single grade. Now, every practical teacher knows that it is easier to teach fisty scholars whose ages and attainments are so nearly alike as to admit of their being all classed together in the same study, than to teach twenty-five where it is necessary to have two or three classes in each study; and yet,
while on the one hand this severe labor is exacted from the teachers of common schools in Vermont, on the other hand, the people are unwilling to pay more than one. fourth of the 'wages paid to teachers in other localities, and it is to my certain knowledge no uncommon thing, in addition to all this, for the Prudential Committee to stipulate with the teachers that, in consideration of their magnanimity in giving them the school to teach, they shall deduct the time spent in attendance upon the Teachers’ Institutes, or “make it up” at the close of the term. For the credit of the State, as well as the honor of our common humanity, it is to be hoped that such transcendent meanness will soon be among the things that were.
We will admit, for the sake of the argument, that the county of Suffolk, Mass., is better able to pay its teachers a high compensation than any county in Vermont, but does this account for the immense disparity in every point? Do the teachers in other localities perform three or four times the labor required of our teachers? The facts I have given show the contrary. Do they possess three or four times as much talent, skill or knowledge, as the teachers in Vermont? Far from it!. The truth is, the cause of education receives far more attention there than it does with us, and their munificence to their teachers is only commensurate with their appreciation of the teacher's labors and the value of public schools.
There are many other important topics connected with this subject, so fraught with the destinies of the rising generation and the future well-being of the State and country, which are worthy of an abler pen and which challenge the attention of every lover of his country and of his race. These I will consider hereafter, unless others more competent shall undertake the task. In conclusion, permit me to say,-If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if I have spoken the truth, let it find a place in the meditations of every true patriot; let it be kindly and candidly considered by every parent and
fvery citizen; let the people of Vermont, so proverbial for their hospitality, rise up with one accord and extend to the three thousand teachers of their district schools a warmer sympathy and a more enlightened co-operation; let them inspire confidence by more frequently speaking words of hope and encouragement, and cheer them and their pupils by more frequent visits to their schools ; let them remove anxious doubts and uncertainties, by employing them permanently, and incite them to diligence and faithfulness by a compensation worthy of the noblo cause to which they are devoted. While with but little trouble to themselves, they are thus lightening the cares and smoothing the pathway of their teachers, whom they may safely count among their most faithful friends, the good they thus confer shall return with tenfold blessing upon themselves and their children. :
C. A. C.
SCHOOL DISCIPLINE. "Order is Heaven's first law," and it also is the first law of the school-room. As the teacher enters bis school, if his scholars are not already quiet in their seats, his first business is to call them to order; and until order is se cured it is useless to attempt anything further. The purpose of a school is the acquisition of knowledge and with it the culture and development of mind. To accomplish this purpose there must be study-close, continu. ous study. The mind must be abstracted from everything else and earnestly and uninterruptedly directed to the work in hand. That the mind may do this, there must be stillness and order in the school-room. A person may command his thoughts and study successfully with the war of a cataract in bis ears, or amid the whirl and ccofusion of a city, or the din and rattle of a workshop, but it defies the power of abstraction and application of any one, to study successfully amid the confusion of a disor. derly school. There is nothing like it to distract the at tention and destroy the possibility of study.
Not only will the scholar that is allowed to whisper and laugh and play at his pleasure, accomplish nothing in the way of study himself, but he will prevent all around him fiom doing it. Nowhere is it more emphatically true than here that “ One sinner destroyeth much good.”
What is true of the scholar is equally true of the teach er. He can do nothing well with uproar all around him.
. He can neither command his own thouglits to impart in struction, nor the thoughts of his classes to receive it, and the quicker he abandons the work the better.
So far, therefore, as tle prime object for which we have schools, is concerned—the acquisition of knowledge order is the first condition of success. They are failares and worse than failures—they are schools of mischief, without it.
But the incidental results of good order in a school, are of hardly less consequence than the primary one. The simple habit of order, thus acquired—the habit of doing everything at the proper time and in the proper way, is of incalculalle value. It is a very unpretending habit, but there is no other that tells more directly on the char acter or is a surer pledge of success.
Again, the habit of obedience—the habit of deferring to authority, which is required in a well-ordered school, is of the higliest importance. It is an old maxim, “He that has not learned to obey is not fit to con mand.” No habit contributes more directly and largely to good citi zenship than the habit of obedience to authority, be it of the parent or teacher or magistrate. And few have a more direct influence in preparing the mind for willing obedience to the authority of God. Obedience is the first lesson of life. In every well-ordered home and school it is taught and enforced.
Again, in a well-ordered school, the habit of self-CODtrol will be formed, and this, also, is one of the great los sons of life. However complete may be the authority of the teacher, if the order is to be perfect, every scholar muss control himself. There will be in every school innumerable temptations to disobedience and disorder, and though in resisting them the scholar will be wonderfully helped by his fear of the teacher or his respect for him, yet at the same time, he must exercise a constant self-control, and in doing this he will be developing some of the best qualities and forming one of the best habits of a genuine manly character. The mighty man is he that rules his own spirit.
In every aspect of it, order is the first—the paramount condition of a good school. With good order, quietly maintained, no school is a failure. Without order any school is a nuisance. With leave I may say a word or two, in a subsequent number, as to how this order is to be secured.
C. C. P.
In our cities and large towns lectures at this season of the year are of such frequent occurrence, that great care in a suitable selection should be exercised. Rightly employed, they are a valuable means of diffusing knowledge, and an important element of our liberal systems of education. As those who are in the habit of attending lectures should not only exercise care in their selection, but enjoy them to the best advantage, I will state the plan which I have pursued in these particulars, and also some methods which I have found profitable.
In the first place, it should be the aim of those who attend lectures to have a wise choice, and select the best -those upon subjects which are very important to gain information. In this way, by exercising judgment, one soon finds what relates to his best interest.
In the second place, it is not well to attend more than can be thoroughly prepared for and digested. To acquire durable knowledge from the lecture, and well comprehend it, it is necessary to have some previous knowl