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SUPPLY AND DEMAND OF TEACHERS.
An excess of supply over demand generally leads to the acception of much that is bad, and the rejection of much that is good. An excess of material seldom adds anything to the beauty of the structure. Experience will prove these remarks true in the commercial and manufacturing world, and observation in the literary and learned. A replete and over stocked market, whether of merchandise or talent, invariably tends to lower the moral status of both buyer and seller. Admitting the general acceptation of these observations, the growing evil exhibited in the large excess of teachers over the demand must have attracted the attention of every educationalist in the country. This evil has greatly increased of late years ; and, unless something be done towards its extinction, it will, eventually, be productive of one result; that of positive injury to our, in many respects, admirable school system. This evil has even now assumed such dimensions, that numbers of individuals, of every grade of character, are traversing the country under the sanction of a certificate, which they obtained by chance or otherwise, offering their services as teachers, for any length of time, at almost any amount of remuneration. Many of these fellows, wholly inexperienced as teachers, having no love for the profession, further than its exclusion from manual labour, possess but a very limited knowledge of the rudiments of their mother tongue. It not unfrequently happens that necessity points these individuals to other means than honorable to procure a school. Such an order of things militaets very strongly against the interests of the professional teachers. It is natural that men of talent and education, when they find themselves undermined by persons of inferiority, will if possible, find a less responsible and more lucrative employment.
To a certain class of trustees, these low-priced teachers are particularly acceptable. With them the cheapest man is the best. According to their creed, education only occupies a secondary place, when contrasted with dollars and cents. Education and talent are thus rendered subservient to the god of the pocket ; and incapacity patronized at the expense of professional ability. The question is, how is this evil to be remedied? In what manner can this difficulty be met and overcome, without checking, for a time, the progress of our educational machinery? Two practical methods appear adequate to meet the requirements of the case. First : Raise the qualification standard
to a sufficient height, and cut off a large number of the lower grades. Again, abolish the present system of sectional trustees, and institute instead a township board, having control over all schools within the bounds of the municipality in which they reside. These changes are not only practicable, but necessary. The standard of examination has hitherto, been far too low; for it is well known that there are many men in Canada, holding first-class certificates, incapable of teaching properly the commonest kind of a common school. Apart from the question of qualification, the very idea of calling up teachers periodically for examination is absurd in the extreme. Nothing short of the abolition of those petty county boards, and the establishment of a central provincial board, before whom all teachers are compelled to appear, will remove this evil, and bring about a satisfactory and permanent change. The establishment of township boards of trustees would remove many hindrances which at present stand in the way of the teacher. Local prejudice, and all this popular tittle-tattle about school grievances—more frequently imaginary than real—which has done so much to injure school discipline, would be destroyed. We could, thus, secure men of education and influence to superintend the working of our schools ; whereas, according to the present system, it matters not how ignorant a man may be of schools and school business, he is eligible, if sufficiently assessed, to become one of a corporation having almost unlimited power at their control. Our present system places undue power within reach of the ignorant. Whenever the reins of government are placed within the grasp of all, discretion seldom becomes prominent as a leading feature in that government. Canada will never possess a class of thorough teachers, until means are taken to pay them better for their labor. In order to accomplish this, the quality must be increased, and the quantity reduced -such is the object of the above remarks.— Educational Journal for Upper Canada.
THE GLORY OF THE PINES. Magnificent are the pines ! nay, sometimes, almost terrible. Other trees tufting crag or hill, yield to the form and sway of the ground, clothe it with soft compliance, are partly the flutterers, partly its comforters. But the pine is serene resistance, self-contained ; nor can I ever, without awe, stay long under a great Alpine cliff, far from house or work of men, looking up to its companies of pine, as they stand on
the inaccessible juts and perilous lodges of the enormous wall, in quiet multitudes, each like the shadow of the one beside it-upright, fised, spectral, like troops not knowing each other—dumb forever. You cannot reach them, cannot cry to them—those trees never heard human voice'; they are far above all sound but of the winds. No foot ever stirred fallen leaf of theirs. All comfortless they stand, between the two eternities of the Vacancy and the Rock ; yet with such iron will, that the Rock itself looks bent and shattered beside them—fragile, weak, inconsistent, compared to their dark energy of delicate life and monotony of enchanted pride ; numbered unconquerable.-Ruskin.
PROPER ESTIMATION OF WOMAN.
I have experienced great pleasure in attending the exercises of this afternoon, and especially while listening to the recitations and the compositions of the graduating class ; which class, always an interesting one, has to-day done itself great credit. That so many young ladies should have had enough persistency of purpose to continue their studies here for four years, is worthy of all commendation in each of them, and does honor to their sex.
It has been my good fortune to find in several of the schools that I have taught, classes of young ladies, whose progress in their studies and whose general culture, have been far in advance of that of the young men in the same schools. And yet, possessing so fine abilities and having, while in school, such a start of their mates, though this fine mental organization and these quick perceptions will always be theirs, I cannot feel sure, that in the long run, they will prove the intellectual superiors of the men. Not because they have not the ability ; Miss Caroline Hershall, Mrs. Somerville, Mrs. Browning, Mrs. Stowe, Madame de Staël, Charlotte Bronte, Rosa Bonheur, Miss Hosmer and Florence Nightingale show us that no limits can be assigned to the variety or the extent of female genius. Yet the conditions of their after life are not, perhaps, in the present state of our civilization, favorable to her continued mental development, and what promised so profusely produces no corresponding results. Now, while you neglect no household duty, will you not try to retain all the
culture you have here acquired, and to make, daily or weekly, such additions to it as you may be able ? For, somehow or other, though it is not desirable for women to become intellectual prodigies, we feel that we instinctively shun the notoriety that is implied therein, than the mental power that is displayed. For mind is the distinguishing characteristic of human beings; its manifestations are ever attractive, whether in man or in woman. When, then, many young ladies shall receive as good an education, as full and as thorough, as their brothers now obtain in the best colleges, the odium of being peculiar will no longer cling to the highly educated lady, and her society and companionship will be found even more desirable than ever.
It would be distasteful, perhaps, to you, and certainly is no part of my present purpose, to speak to you of “Woman's Rights,” so called, on this occasion. Rather let it be my part to recount the glorious privileges that are, even now, hers by birth-right, which, if she will but duly appreciate and properly cherish, little cause will be found to complain to either society or her Maker, of lack of opportunity.
For a few moments, if you please, let us pass in review the possible course of life, such as we have all seen in parts in this one and in that, and from these fragments let us construct the rounded whole.
1. It is the dawn of her life; a babe has just been born, the first, it may be, that with its holy influences and wondrous fresh existence has been ushered into this family circle, henceforth consecrated and blessed, forevermore. How wonderful its every motion ; what joy do its infant smiles convey; how proud is the father, how happy the , mother; the visitors all ask to see it; its little cousins delight to stand gazing upon it.
2. And now she is a young girl, whose merry laugh is heard in the hall, whose cheery, bird-like song makes the whole house redolent of joyousness. Rushing down the steps, she runs away to meet her father, who misses her whenever absent and would fain hasten her return.
Blue eyes peeping forth ’mid clustering curls, may you always sparkle thus merrily; clear voice, warbling some simple strain, may you ever ring thus cheerily ; dear heart, gushing over in so wild laughter, may you never beat less merrily.
3. Let a few years pass, and she becomes a young woman ; beautiful merely we will not style her, for a transcendent charm pervades her presence, wherein spiritual loveliness and innate purity
are twined. She is the crown and pride of the whole household. Rudeness stands abashed in her presence, while every finer feeling of the heart becomes exalted. And perhaps some young man comes by chance within the sphere of her attraction; henceforth his life is to circle round hers as its central sun, towards whose aspect, centre of all sweet and holy influences, his face will constantly be turned.
4. Years pass away with the young wife in her new home before we can call upon her to renew an old acquaintance. We ring the door-bell, and this is she, more mature, more thoughtful than ever, with a fairer copy of herself dancing beside her. Wise ruler of her household, beloved by her children, the admiration of her husband, what a fountain of joy is she, what inestimable privileges are hers !
5. But we must hurry on. Again, and the children have all left the old homestead; the eldest long since, the youngest has but just gone. How lonely seems the old house now, where neither laughter, nor song, nor pattering feet are longer heard. Leaf after leaf has been taken from the long dining-table, and now at the round board sit opposite each other the aged pair, serene and peaceful. Distant homes are happier at sight of her; visits to grand-mother are often made ; presents and keepsakes from her are highly prized.
6. And now, at last, on some dreaded, though long expected morning the electric thrill passes over the wires, and from widely separated homes in city or in country, come weeping daughters and mourning sons with their little ones beside them; sadder still those whom illness, distance or duties have kept away. Relatives not seen for years are there ; friends of the departed drop in one by one; the neighbors, among whom, in poverty, sickness and in trouble, she had long been a ministering angel, flock to pay the last tribute of respect to one they hold so dear.
O friends, stifling your sobs round the corpse of the departed, let us not bewail too selfishly our loss. God has been gracious to us, in that she has dwelt so long among us. What would the earth be, were it not for such as she. Her memory we will fondly cherish, and will imitate her virtues.
And for thee, bright spirit, who hast yet scarcely vanished from our sight, whose voice, as thou treadest the heavenly way, thy looks fixed on God, falls on our ears, soft as the music of tinkling bells,
“ Nearer, my God, to thee, nearer to thee.”