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age that it shall admit of a great variety of plan within itself, and suffer him so to work in it as to appeal in the most effective way to the mind of each one of his scholars.
The practical suggestion which arises from this is, that each teacher should take pains not to make an abstraction of himself; but to throw the whole of his individuality into his work; to think out for himself a system that shall be himself ; that shall be animated by his heart and brain, naturally and in every part; that shall beat, as it were, with his own pulse, breathe his own breath, and, in short, be alive.
The teacher may be mild or sharp, phlegmatic or passionate, gentle or severe; he may thrash or not thrash—but I would rather he did not thrash. As men differ and must differ, so must teachers, so must schools. But no man can be a good teacher who is a cut and dried man without any particular character; his individuality must be strongly marked. He should be, of course, a man of unimpeachable integrity, detesting what is base or mean, and, beyond everything, hating a lie. He should have pleasure in his work, be fond of his children, and not think of looking down upon them, but put faithand that is a main point which many teachers will refuse to upholdput faith in the good spirit of childhood. He must honor a child or he can not educate it, though he may cram many facts into its head. It is essential also, to the constitution of a good teacher that, whatever his character may be, he shall not be slow. Children are not so constituted as to be able to endure slowness patiently. He must also not be destitute of imagination, for he will have quick imaginations to develop and satisfy.
Furthermore, it is essential that he should deeply feel the importance of his office, and utterly disdain to cringe to any parent, or to haggle for the price of services that no money can fairly measure. He must be devoted to his work; if he want pleasure and excitement he must find them in the school-room and the study. For it is only when his teaching gives great pleasure to himself, that it can give any pleasure whatever to his pupils. The parent must not grudge to a worthy teacher the most liberal reward that lies within his means. It is not to be supposed that any large body of men can be induced to devote themselves heart and soul to an ill-paid profession, which demands peculiar talents, and expensive training, with a toil both in preparation and in action that can never be remitted.
There is no fault of character, in boy or girl, that can not be destroyed or rendered harmless, if right treatment be applied to it in time; that is to say, within the first twelve years. We inherit tempers and tendencies which sometimes, when they are neglected, bring us to harm. The bent of character is settled before birth. Anything can not be made of any boy or girl, but something can be made of every child, which shall be satisfactory, and good, and useful.
Children are wonderfully teachable. They are, however, so created as to require free action and movement—to be incapable of sustaining long continued mental exertion, to be restless. It is not in the constitution of a child to sit, day after day, for three or five consecutive hours. If the school-master subject children to unnatural conditions, and Nature assert herself in any boy or girl more visibly than discipline admires, the teacher, not the child, is then at fault; and it is he or she—if any one—who should stand in the corner, do an imposition, or be whipped. It is only possible to teach a child well, while accommodating one's ways humbly to the ways of Nature.
ON THE CONSTITUTION OF A SCHOOL. Since there is no such thing as a plan universal for all teachers; since each school should maintain its own individuality ; since the school of which the plan is an abstraction is a dead school ; I can only express my notions on this subject by explaining what sort of a crotchet my own notion of school-keeping was, and how it answered. Let me be at the same time careful to iterate, that I do not propose it as a nostrum, but that, on the contrary, I should hold cheaply the wit of any one who copied it exactly in practice. I only want my principles adopted—nothing more.
One notion of mine was, that if children could be interested really in their studies—as they can be—so long as they were treated frankly and led by their affections, the work of education could be carried on entirely without punishment. I had been, as a boy, to many schools, and knew how dread begot deception, and we were all made more or less liars by the cane. Even our magnanimity consisted frequently in lying for each other, and obtaining for ourselves the flogging which impended over our friends. I knew how deceits rotted the whole school intercourse to which I had myself been subject; how teachers made distrustful, showered about accusations of falsehood; how we cribbed our lessons, and were led to become shy and mean. I do not mean to lay it down as a principle that schools should be conducted without punishment; I can conceive of a dozen kinds of men who would know how to do good, with a few floggings judiciously administered. But I was not one of the dozen-I should certainly have done harm.
Corporal punishment being abolished, there remain few others. For, I uphold it as a principle, that punishments which consist in transformation of the school-room into a prison, or in treating studies and school-books as if they were rocks or thumb-screws-instruments of torture to be applied against misdoers, in the shape of something to write, something to learn-learn, forsooth !-defeat the purposes of education, heap up and aggravate the disgust which it should be the business of a good teacher carefully to remove.--Indiana School Journal.
REVERENCE FOR CHILDREN.
“Maxima debetur puero reverentia.”—Juvenal, Sat. xiv.
TEACHING is the most peculiar of employments; utterly distasteful to some, to others irresistibly attractive. Few teachers abhor their business ; for such will not be driven to teach by any pressure of events. But some teach with far less interest than others. They lack a genuine enthusiasm in their profession. And perhaps there are few whose interest does not sometimes flag. It does us all good to call to mind occasionally the greatness of our work; and that comes from the nobleness of the material with which we deal.
Who and what are our pupils ? We look into their eyes day by day, and what do we see there? How do we estimate these young individualities which come to be shaped by us ? Such questions strike the key note of our work.
1. Their lack of years is no essential inferiority. Being younger than their teacher is not only no “ atrocious crime," but it does not bring them a whit below his own level. He has no right to cuff or scold them because they are younger. His duty is to guide and instruct those who are just as good as he is. They happen to have been born later, and so are a little behind him in knowledge and discipline. To each generation is committed the instruction of its juniors. The teacher is selected to do the formal part of the work; the informal, and not less important, is done at home and in the thousand contacts of social life. One of the things to be taught is a proper respect for age; a universal, half-filial sentiment, which helps to make life beautiful wherever rightly developed. Another most important thing to be taught is submission to just authority. The school is to be in this respect an educator of good citizens who will obey law; more, it is to prepare the citizen of the universe to bow to the will of God. It will not do to refrain from the exercise of authority in the schoolroom. One of the chiefest needs of immature years is to learn obedience, to understand the golden motto, “Honor to whom honor.”— Because the teacher esteems his pupils so highly he will teach them 5 manners,” and enforce good morals. But let him not do this as with inferiors. The time will come when this difference of years will seem as nothing. When two college graduates, hardly yet in middle life, met at commencement, one said, “ I believe I was your tutor,” and was taken aback by the reply, “ No, I was yours.” Suppose you are ten or even twenty years older than your pupil; he will soon be out in the world by your side, perhaps outshining you. Before you are willing to acknowledge yourself an old man he may be in Congress, making laws for you to obey, or Judge of the Supreme Court, adjudicating on your dearest rights. Doubtless there are now living, in a vigorous activity, some of the pedagogues who feruled the “ Bobbin Boy,” and the “ Farmer Boy.” Which does the world deem older now, the “boys” or their teachers ? Chief Justice Chase can find some of his instructors; would they feel older than he, seeing him in the redeemed seat of Marshal ? So fades, even in this life, the inequality of age. It is an accident, conferring not the slightest gift of superiority.
2. The teacher will do well to remember the possible special greatness of the young minds before him. It is of no use to tell all the boys that they stand a good chance for the White House, or make all the girls believe that they can come to write novels like Uncle Tom's Cabin. It is better far to rouse in them an ambition to do well just what is put within their reach than to excite restless cravings which can never be satisfied. But the teacher may think-can he help thinking ?—“ here are spirits which may become instructors and leaders of multitudes.” Our institutions, with their free play of motive and of energy, reveal every day such possibilities. Grant and Sherman were not very remarkable boys. President Lincoln's early life did not herald him as the man for the greatest crisis of our country's life. There is a possible greatness in many of the boys we instruct. As we ply our arduous work, we can not be sure that we are not molding the souls of future statesmen, of the orators whose “ winged words" will enter a million hearts. We need not promise each boy that he shall be a Webster; but what if a greater than he lies lɛ tent in the arena of our school-room? The bare possibility is enough to make us bow the head before our pupils. We see the stuff out of which greatness is made. We are fashioning minds which bear the divine seal. We are swaying passions, disciplining tempers, kindling aspirations which have in them the secrets of all human power.
3. But there is a yet deeper reverence. You need not search for germs of special greatness, which after all has so much of mere accident. Bend low before every young soul because it has essential greatness. Reverence the most ignorant mind for its wonderful structure and powers. Say to yourself, here is an immortal being, with capacities for development unending; with mind, heart, and will fashioned for the highest activities ; with a conscience to be guided and enlightened ; with susceptibilities to exquisite pain—taking shape today, this instant, under my forming hand. Young minds are great because all mind is great. The most puerile souls are august because every human soul is a thing of grandeur. Take your most unpromising pupil and with the eyes of a reasonable faith you can see in him or her something nobler than the stars.
Reverence these young beings. Work for them as for the highest of the earth. Love them as your immortal kinsmen.- California Teacher.
The Honolulu papers are discussing the question whether the vernacular of the Sandwich Islands shall be discarded in the National schools for the English language. The official journal is out in favor of the pure English system. Should the project be carried out, as is probable, the Hawaiian language will become extinct within a generation or two.