« AnteriorContinuar »
freezing, the cold air had operated on my face and hands in such a strange manner that they looked as if I had the small-pox, and irritated me accordingly. I wanted to cry with vexation and pain, but had to maintain my dignity and appear as composed as if nothing was the matter. The floor had to be swept, the chairs arranged, the table ditto, the stove dusted, the zinc rubbed, the chalk marks to be made and the daily lesson for one class put upon the board. The bell rung before we had half finished. Betty Myers raised her hand to tell me that she could not find her book. Ella Nyman could not untie her bonnet and came to me. Tommy Brown wanted to go out and look for his “ whole new pencil,” which he had dropped in the mud. Just then Catharine rushed in telling me there was a lacly in the hall. Now I've no antipathy to ladies, or gentlemen either, particularly gentlemen,—but when I see a bonnet or a tall hat making its way into our school hall, I gird on my armor silently for a battle; though to the credit of my numerous “ parents” be it said, I have not had much use for small arms or even “sass.” This time the visitor proved to be a mother, indignant because I allowed her pet to wet his feet and spoil his clothes going home in the rain. He was sick in consequence, she said. “Why did n't I keep him till she came for him," etc. I wanted to ask her if she held me responsible for the dry feet and general welfare of ninety pupils on a rainy day. I suppose I ought to furnish umbrellas and overshoes and guides for the little ones. This interview ended, and order being obtained, we sung our morning hymn, but having no fire the breath from the children's mouths looked like so many little chimneys all over the room. I did feel like smiling, but I suppose I looked as ridiculous as they did. In half an hour we had a fire, but no recitations till the atmosphere was milder.
Then it was discovered that John Anderson had no pencil, and could not print. Robert Owen had broken his slate into at least five pieces, and was printing on an area of four inches. Martha Curtis found that the lesson was torn out of her book, and she was only too glad to sit in idleness, and as “Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do," she very soon had hers busy taking the frame off her slate, piece by piece, and arranging them on the floor, then the slate itself, the torn book and the rag she keeps to clean her slate, next her pencil box and empty bag. Just as she was seating herself for a nice play, the door opened and the principal of our building walked in. I ought to explain that Martha is a new scholar, but in spite of this I felt that if I only had hold of her once, she would learn not to spread her play-house on the school-room floor. The most trying part of her performances is, that she invariably shows her antics when visitors are in the room.
I did expect a short respite at recess, but the weather prevented the girls from playing in the yard, so they stayed in the hall, and every few minutes the door was opened and somebody wanted to come in and warm her hands. Herman Melville came breathless to the door to say that Charlie Rylands swored ; Nellie Oswald brought the intelligence that Johnny Dodd was in the girls' yard ; Patrick O'Rourke and Mikey Moses were fighting ; Lizzie Mangle wanted a drink; Annie Semple wanted a pin. Presently a woeful sound of lamentation was heard in the hall. Somebody's wounded, I inwardly exclaimed, and went out to see. There was Mary Briggs covered from head to foot with soft mud. Cora was dispatched for some water, and I ransacked the table-drawer in search of a rag. Had scarce got her under treatment, when Ida Fuller appeared at the door weeping and sanguinary. Some boys had been throwing coal over the fence and a piece struck her on the lip. She had her pretty new dress on, and the drops of blood fell on it. I mentally exclaimed, “ Job was afflicted with sore boils,” but were his boils any more distracting than my experience this day? Oh, those rude boys! Whilst binding Ida's wounds, the bell rung and the children, instead of going in and seating themselves like sane individuals, stood to watch the operation. I had to show them the door rather forcibly. In the first class in spelling, the word “could” came to Betty Myers. She is stupid sometimes, and this proved it. She said, “k-00-p could,” at which the rest laughed. Harry Kimball is a confirmed dunce, and is in the same class. I asked him to spell “walking”; he got some letters of the other words mixed up with it, and this was the result: “s-i-t sit, w-o-k-e-d walking.” After school I called Charlie Rylands up, who had been reported for swearing at recess. He said, “Samuel Jonas swore too.” Then Samuel had to be questioned, (S. is a colored boy, six years old,) “What did you say, Samuel ?” I asked. “ Charlie Rylands called me a niggah !” And what did you say to him, “ I called him a smutty nose !” This was the swearing. Had a note from a complaining parent in the afternoon ; Mary's slate had been cracked across, the girl that sat next to her had done it. Would I see to it? After a while called Mary up. “ Who broke your slate, was it Emma?” “Yes, ma'am.” Emma knew nothing about it. “ Was it Maria ?” 66 Yes, ma'am ?” Maria declared her innocence. “Show me who broke your slate.” “ She did not see the girl just then.” “Do you know anything about it?” said I. - No, ma'am.” “Did any one break your slate?” “No, ma'am.” “ Then take your seat, and be careful what you say in future.” I was in nearly the same dilemma as a lawyer who has been questioning an ignorant witness, and though my client's case turned out well, yet I was annoyed.
Had five tardy members in the afternoon. Ida Fuller makes a practice of being late, so I sent her back for an excuse, and she brought me one written on part of the margin of a newspaper, bearing three words, “ Please excuse Ida.” This I did not consider valid, and told the child so. Charlie Rylands said he had to go to the doctor's, his Harry was sick. I thought this probable, but to make sure, sent a messenger to inquire, and found that C. had told a false story. I shall go and see his mother to-morrow. Tommy Brown was detained looking for his drawing-book. Frank Mitchell very ingenuously confessed that he “ was hunting for a four-leaved clover!” Emma Thompson's excuse was, “ My mudder was away, and I had to stay by my baby.” Jessie Stekemper, my brightest pupil, was absent; her brother came in to tell me the reason. He cannot speak very good English, and the amount of his explanation was, that “ Jessie's shoes they was broken and she would get her feet wet, and the shoemaker he did not make her new shoes done yet.” Who will wonder that I was ill-natured when I got home this evening ?- Ohio Educational Monthly.
THE RELATION OF EDUCATION TO GOVERNMENT,
ONE principle or proposition that underlies every nation's wellbeing has arrested my attention, and I would like to give others the result premising, however, that to most of you nothing new may be shown, only an old path re-trodden. The proposition is this : “Whatever may be the primary idea in the government which any people have adopted, all the civil institutions which are also adopted by that nation should—nay, must-conform to that idea.” The consequences of a disagreement between them are at once apparent. If between the primary and secondary institutions of the country there chances to be a manifest discordance, then internal conflict must ensue.
Compromises may put off the fatal day ; but, so surely as God's laws are immutable, conflict must come. The irrevocable must, may be delayed, but not defied. Laws will be made that conflict with each other. Sectional prejudices will arise and demagogues fan them into flames. The course of justice will be impeded, if not entirely arrested. Tranquillity will give place to discord. Brotherly, national feeling will be transmutted into sectional hate, and anarchy, with all its array of attendant evils, must ensue. I presume that many of you, in the course of your historical reading, have been struck by the constant recurrence of this fact. It has been recorded time and time again: every page of history is luminous with the truth that such and such a nation — Athens, Sparta, Genoa, Venice, Rome, Poland, France, and even proud old England — has been shaken to its very foundation, some of them entirely destroyed and blotted out from the list of nations, while others have escaped as by fire from the consequences of this discordance between the primary, fundamental principle of their organic government and the spirit in which their institutions and legislation were founded.
And in no respect is this proposition truer or more plainly to be discerned in its workings than in regard to the primary idea of a government and its system of education. Given, a purely democratic form of government where the masses rule, and you must have an educational system that conforms to it, both in spirit and in fact. The masses must be educated; there can be no “may be” here. They must be, or, blinded by prejudices, enslaved by superstitions, and depraved by nameless vices, they become fit tools for demagogues ; political suicides wasting their strength in sectional strife and party hate, like the fabled Bellerophon in the plain of Wandering, consuming themselves.
Athens in her earlier days was a pure democracy. The people met much as we do in our town-meetings, transacted their business in about the same manner, only more turbulently, than do we when discussing and passing ordinances concerning bridges, roads, cattle-roaming and pounds. Their system of education, however, provided schools only for the rich who were able to pay for an attendant (a pedagogue) for each pupil, while they paid but little attention to reading, writing and spelling. The greatest possible attention was, however, paid to instruction in oratory, practical composition, music, and the principles of the fine arts. At the same time, it was provided by law that the boys of the poorer classes, and all girls except courtezans, should not attend these schools under any circumstances. And what were the results of such a system ; a system admirably adapted to produce political demagogues, leaders of party factions, poets, sophists, Aspasias, but not to train men ? You know them well. Every school-boy and girl can tell you of the downfall of her glory, of Aristides the Just, banished for his justice, and Socrates, poisoned on account of his superior talents and disposition to enlighten the people and free them from their faction-thriving and priest-ridden serfdom. Democracy gave way to aristocracy, and that to despotism.
Rome repeated the sad history, in the days of her republic. The idea that it was the duty of the state to educate all her children, of whatever class, seems never to have entered the minds of her lawmakers, or if it did, it was banished as a chimera. The truth, however, seems to be, that a class here were determined from the start to be the ruling class, and so, in self-preservation, adopted a partial system of education. Education was left to run wild, and we read that the ability to read and write was a rare attainment, and this, with a very scanty knowledge of arithmetic, was all that was imparted; and even this small modicum, meagre as it was, was carefully preserved for the children of the wealthy and haughty patrician. The consequences are readily forseen. The passions were left to run riot. Sensuality, debauchery and nameless vices ensued, to an extent almost incredible.
The system of clientage came in, followed by serfdom; for the poor • were ignorant, and the wealthy, taking advantage of their own knowledge and the others' ignorance, forced them to give up privilege after privilege, right after right, and again did aristocracy displace democracy; in its turn, amid the scramble for place and power, to give way to the worst form of absolutism.
True, in the latter days of the Republic the course of study was enlarged ; but the masses were still excluded from its benefits, and the remedy only aggravated the disease and hastened the catastrophe, giving more power to the oppressor and adding to the degradation of the oppressed and toiling millions.
The tracery could be followed still farther, and changes of domination, of dynasty, and even changes involving national existence could be traced and foreseen by watching the educational systems of different nations.
It disproves nothing to say, as has often been said, that brutalized, uneducated, barbaric nations have often overcome cultivated ones. Looking but a little more closely into the matter, subjecting the nations named and their institutions to a more rigid examination, you will see at once that those so-called cultivated nations had, by centralized education, sunk themselves and by this I mean the dominant classes) so deeply into sensuality and slothful indulgence of all kinds, and had so degraded the masses, that their nation as a whole, was inferior to another nation without their arts and culture, whose equality of cultivation, rude though it may have been, gave a superiority of intellectual condition.— Illinois Teacher.