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The R. J. Schoolmaster.
For the Schoolmaster.
| fully dispensed with ; but, in the true old Economy in Public Schools.
New England spirit, education and religion
have been regarded as indispensible necessiBY A TEACHER
ties, which neither states, nor towns, nor fam.
ilies could afford to sacrifice. Even when the fr we do not mistake the signs of the times, there is a strong tendency in many of the
parent has been compelled by the straitened larger towns of the northern states to inquire
condition of his purse to withdraw his elder with unwonted carefulness whether the mon
son from college, and his daughter from the ey, appropriated to the support of public fashionable boarding school, he has willingly schools, is judiciously and economically ex-paid his taxes for the support of the public pended. Not that the duty or the expedien- educational institutions in his town. He has cy of furnishing the means of education by felt that the training of the younger children the state and the town is doubted at all. But could not be postponed, that the common many seem disposed to question whether the schools must be sustained at all hazards. best results, which are attained, or which we Nay, the very misfortunes of the public have may fairly hope to reach, can not be secured been changed into blessings in many of our *t less expense. The financial distresses of the villages. The poor operatives, whose unceaspast winter have directed general attention to ing round of daily toil had never left them this subject, though many of the best friends time for intellectual culture, have availed of education had, before this crisis, given it themselves of the leisure, which has been their earnest consideration. We are glad to forced upon them, and have devoted the hours perceive that, even under the overwhelming of the past winter to earnest and useful study. disasters of this year, scarcely a single town They will long remember the season, which in New England has voted to lower the grade opened upon them so full of forebodings and of its schools. Everywhere it has been felt darkness, as the brightest and most fruitful, that the school and the church must be the which they have ever enjoyed. It has been a last to suffer from those pecuniary embarrass- beautiful spectacle to see manufacturers, merments, which have forced almost every family chants, and men in every avocation and conin the land to curtail their current expenses. dition, contributing liberally of their diminAmusements and luxuries have been cheer- ished wealth to furnish opportunities for the unemployed laborers to secure their mutual in the higher schools may tempt them to disa improvement..
burse more freely in that single department All these facts indicate how deep-seated is than they ought; or an unworthy desire to the conviction in the American mind that the outstrip a neighboring and rival town in vain education of the young must be secured. It decorations of school houses may lead them would cheer the gloomy heart of a misan- to make the same mistake. We in this state thrope, it would stop the mouth of a Europ- have been peculiarly fortunate in the choice ean declaimer against our absorbing utilita- of the men, who have directed the expendirianism, to observe how large a proportion of ture of money for our schools, and we have the public funds is devoted to the mainten- | heard no men speak more strongly than some ance of schools. We rejoice in a public sen- of them of the perils to which we allude. timent, which responds so promptly to all A great deal of expense has been incurred reasonable demands, that the friends of edu-l in many parts of New England by changing cation feel constrained to make. And now text-books with needless frequency. This that towns with exhausted treasuries are con- has been a subject of so general complaint, sidering whether they may not be compelled that it is hardly necessary to enlarge upon it to retrench their ordinary expenses, we think here. It is well known that persistent agents it is proper for us teachers, committee-men, shower their new books and directors of education to practice the
“ Thick as autumnal leaves that strew the brooks most rigid economy, which is consistent with
of Vallambrosa," wisdom, in the management of our schools.
We teachers are not exempt from weakness, down upon teachers and committees. Mak which leads a man sometimes to underrate ing school books has become a regular trade the true value of other pursuits and interests like shoemaking or blacksmithing, and the in comparison with his own. We must not peddlers of the freshly manufactured didaeforget that a town is as much bound to feed tic wares can every day in the year furnish its paupers as to teach its children, to take you a new article, which will surpass all its care of its roads as to adorn its school houses, predecessors in variety, simplicity, and sterlto compensate its civil officers as to pay using worth. Now, to resist this army of volu. our salaries. We must see that our zeal for
| ble persuaders, whose ears seem not to be afour noble profession does not make us unjust fected at all by the monosyllablo of negation, to thesc, who are not so enthusiastic as we and whose patience survives all the procrasti. are, does not make us clamorous for a larger nation of which most of us are capable, is share of the public income in our field of la- certainly not always easy. And yet we must bor, than a just regard for the diverse inter. not be driven by their clamorous cries. We ests of a mixed community would allow us must remember that it is a serious thing for to claim.
many a laboring man to provide his children Men, who have the charge of public funds with new sets of books. We decm it a good to be devoted to education or to any object, rule never to change an old book for a new should also remember the peculiar dangers to one, unless the latter possesses a very marked which they are exposed. They are likely to superiority to the former. Let the teacher be less careful in its disposal than they are in supply the deficiencies of the old one by oral the management of their private business. illustrations. Let him, by continual study, A worthy desire to furnish superior facilities 'render himself every week a new and improv. ed edition of what he was at the beginning of sympathy with the parents, whose generosity the term. IIe will thus be more to his school is so largely taxed in this age of manifold than all the books which they can buy of wants and manifold charities, and by showing traveling agents.
in every way that the educational institutions, But while we strive to conduct the schools
which are confided to our care, are worthy of
me all the encouragement and support, which on the principles of strict economy, we beg
they can receive. The citizens too, must reour patrons, -and by them we mean all the
member that while the cost of everything else citizens,—to bear in mind that true and wise economy often requires an expenditure rather
has been increasing so rapidly for the past ten than a hoarding of money. A given sum may
years, they must not expect to provide for the enable us to elevate the schools to a certain
education of children as cheaply as formerly.
The salaries of teachers must be greater now standard, where they will be of service, while
than they were then, and a proper allowance half that sum would not enable us to render them half as good. It is not economical to
must also be made for larger incidental exdispense with anything essential to respecta
penses. Let us all, parents and teachers, ble success. It is not economical to have
consider the difficulties, with which we have
to contend, in a kind and fraternal spirit. In poor school houses, poor apparatus. poor books, or poor teachers. Our very existence
actual practice we have many delicate quesas a nation depends in a great measure upon
tions to settle. Our mutual relations are the diffusion of education, and therefore it is
pleasant and profitable, but in order to mainno better economy to stifle our schools than it
tain them we need forbearance, patience, and is to starve a man, whom you wish to employ
charity. May we never peril the interests of as a laborer. Whatever is really necessary to
education and the welfare of our nation render the schools good should not be es
through our want of those graces of character. teemed dear. The people should and will
For the Schoolmaster. furnish it cheerfully and promptly. We have
The Rule of Nature. no fear that they will take a retrograde step. While they ought to insist that the contribu
Some people require more sleep than others. tions which they so readily make to sustain To say that a pig sleeps ten or twelve hours. our excellent system of public instruction,
that a goose sleeps less than half that time, shall not be expended carelessly or unwisely. Lor that Wellington v turned out” when he we feel sure that they never will withhold turned over on his iron bedstead, is no argutheir money, when our schools have a reas
ment to prove either the period or the length onable claim upon their sympathies and their of sleep which is
then of sleep which is necessary to any man. The purses.
order of Nature must be followed. This can We and they must heartily coöperate. Our be determined best by the observation by aims are the same. Sad would be the day, each man of himself. So with the amount when through an ill-judged parsimony on and quality of food, drink and clothing. their part, or an ill-judged extravagance on Whatever is generally hurtful must be shunours, jealousy and antagonism should arise. ned. Man would do well to apply literally Let us strive to avert it by discretion and wis- the command, Know thyself. dom, by the most effective use of the means at our disposal, by the manifestation of our: We were not made for ourselves only.
"Forsan et Haec Olim Meminisse Juvabit." Listen to familiar voices,
| 'Till the very air seems rocal, The following beautiful poem was read by | 'Till our souls with thought are haunted, Miss Mary C. Peck, of the graduating class And relieving Time's thick shadows in the Girls' High School, at the recent anni- Poured around the Past's gray landscape, versary of the Providence High School Asso- | Lighting Retrospection's valleys, ciation, composed of the graduates of the
Streams the mellow Memory sunshine. school. The authoress has consented to its If in the eyes before me now I see publication in the columns of THE SCHOOL- | The light that springs from kindred sympathy, MASTER at the earnest solicitation of her If holy thoughts have sanctified this hour,
And memory wakened with a voice of power, friends.-ED.
If every soul in its calm fulness be, As to the ancestral homestead
A spark, the essence of Divinity, Comes the wanderer faint and weary,
And each impression on it made shall last To refresh his drooping spirit
When stars decay and Time itself is past,At the hearthstone of his fathers ;
Then does this hour with such deep meaning From the fount that gave them vigor,
fraught, Draw pure water and be strengthened ;
Require some weighty theme,some noble thought, So, unto these founts of wisdom,
Some lesson which the growing soul may weave Ere our souls have known the shadow,
Into its texture and from thence receive Ere the blossoms of affection
An active principle,-a living power, Feel earth's blighting breath upon them.
An inspiration guiding every hour. We have come a band of wanderers,
But how shall lips, untouched by sacred fire, Come to seek new strength and counsel.
Attempt to breathe such thoughts upon the lyre > Far beyond the hills and oceans
How shall a mortal dare a lesson give, I have heard it sung by poets
Whose silent influence must forever live? Lie the valleys of the Rhine-land,
But feeble melody our souls can wake, Fresh and verdant as the morning,
Faint on the mind th' immortal dawnings break, Soft and dewy as the evening,
Still, Aspiration spreads her heavenward wings, From afar the mists uprising,
To catch some glimpses of diviner things. Woo the wanderer, home-returning,
Still, the weak hand immortal seed may sow, Like the fabled bow of promise :
From whose small germ a tree of life shall grow, Once again he treads the footpath,
Whose leaves shall be for healing, its increase By his own imperial river,
Be fruits of joy, and blessedness, and peace. Sees the grape vines heavy-laden,
So, here our simple strain some truth may teach, Hears the homeward song of reapers,
Although unblest with the set phrase of speech," And o'er all the pleasant uplands,
Though measure harsh, and prosy verse combine Sloping down the dreamy valleys,
To mar the smoothness of our fledgling rhyme, Creeping o'er the vine-clad cabins,
Still in the light of friendship o'er us cast, Steals the laughing, genial sunshine,
'T were well awhile to commune with the Past, And the wanderer lifts his trembling hand And while high hopes and gentle mem'ries throng, In a prayer for his native clime,
Forget the humble tenor of the song, For a blessing on the father-land,
From wisdom's high-road pluck a wayside flower, A blessing on the Rhine.
And seize the lesson of the passing hour. So with us as backward turning,
How fair adown the mellowing lapse of years, We retrace remembered footpaths,
Our olden scenes, our childish life appears. Sec dear, unforgotten faces.
When the young soul, too lately out of Heaven
To lose the purity its air had given,
Vanity; be strong, be wary,
Like a fervent “ peace, be still."
Among the pleasant, childish scenes of mine, And all life wore the colors of its morn,
Insured by memory from the wrecks of Time, When life's gray horologe was hid with flowers,
Comes up before me with its orchards brown, And mirth and beauty crowned the rosy hours, The picture of a quaint New England town. While childhood's smiles made rainbows of our
A good old town of Puritanic rule, tears,
Blest with its humble church and district school. And hope, light-footed, chased the fleeting years.
Oh ! more than marble wall or pillared dome Such are the joys which o'er life's current throw
| That ever graced the classic shades of Rome, The childhood sunshine brightening as it flows,
My soul goes backward to revere and bless Which make those days of olden bliss to be
That sacred spot amid life's wilderness. The holiest Meccas of our memory.
Hushing all strife, to dream, I stand once more Yet vain the thought; for memory's distant fields
In the old haunts so dearly loved of yore, Only regret for wasted pleasures yield,
And wake the summer echoes with my play, Not twice the golden sunset gilds the eve,
Or hide amid the fragrant tufts of hay, The fading rainbow no new tints receives.
Wade through the brook, or climb the garden wall Ne'er to the wasted rose is incense borne,
To catch the golden russet in its fall. And ne'er to man the freshness of his morn.
Hard by a brook, beneath its roof trees low, Yet those, those days are gone forever more,
The old red school house stood. The mosses grow We may retain the purity they wore,
Around the door-stone trod by childish feet, And our child joys be but earnests
I seem to see e'en now my old pine seat, Of the joy that is to be.
The whitewashed walls, frescoed by winter rains, 'Though the rose-flush of the dawning
The unpainted desks, the little window panes, Come no more to you and me,
And that huge lofty desk, where sat so long Know it is the healthful spirit
The patient teacher of th' admiring throng; Which the childish charm imparts.
One of those luckless wights whom fate constrains Weighty troubles, fleeting bubbles,
To smuggle knowledge into country brains ; Do not vex the earnest heart.
Himself, encyclopædia, to unlock And oh! friends, when ye shall mingle
All truth from "ABC” to “hic, hace, hoc." In the selfish crowds of men,
Not such the picture which our time presents, Take your childish prayers for safe-guards,
Our schoolrooms are a type of excellence, Ye will need them then.
And if some knotty question, hard to find, Dash aside the poisoned chalice
Should chance to slip the teacher's burdenedmind, Pleasure's yotary idly sips ;
Some friendly book unties the Gordian knot, Worldly joys, like fruits of Sodom,
And to its place restores the truant thought. Turn to ashes on the lips.
In these fair halls of ours, the former scenes, What is life that we should love it
Of school-girl visions and of school-boy dreams, With its nothingness and sin?
| How many a hopeful youth, with wise intent,