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APPLETONS' American Standard Geographies.


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APPLETONS' GEOGRAPHIES were constructed in accordance with the

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tries and commerce, and their relation to the physical conditions of the · country. APPLETONS' GEOGRAPHIES introduce topics according to their logical

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A specimen copy of Appletons' Higher Geography, containing the new Time Standard, for examination, will be forwarded, post-paid, on receipt of the introduction price. D. APPLETON & CO., Publishesr,

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Educational Journal of Virginia.

Vol. XV.

Richmond, Va., August, 1884.

No. 8.

The Teacher's Mission in Awakening in the Community an

Interest in School Work.

[A report read at the meeting of the Wisconsin Teachers' Association, Madison,

December 27, 1883.1

The committee to whom was referred that portion of the President's address relating to the Mission of the Teacher in Awakening in the Community an Interest in School Work, respectfully submit the following:

We do not approach our theme in the spirit of Rosseau's teaching, that, “Take the road directly opposite to that which is in use, and you will always do right.” We fear lest present tendencies are in the direction of too great faith in that teaching. We have no great innovations to propose. We would hold fast to those things which are proven to be good. It will be readily conceded that it is much easier to tell what the teacher should not do, than to tell what he should do.

In certain particulars our work is to recall to mind well-known and standard means for accomplishing the object proposed. In others, it is a task similar to that of making a map of a country that has not been fully explored. It is like the question ever confronting statesmen: How shall we interest the masses in important national affairs? In other words, how shall we interest the people in their own interests? And that quality which will give the statesman large success is the same that is needed to give the teacher large success in the field before us.

In the topic for consideration we prefer the word function instead of mission, for the teacher is not sent, he is employed; and the course of action which pertains to, or the activity appropriate to his business, is more properly termed a function than a mission. We also prefer to change the phraseology from “Awakening an interest,” to awakening a greater interest, in the community, in school work. For


to awaken an interest implies that at the outset of the teachers' efforts there is no interest in the community in the work under consideration, a proposition or assumption that cannot truthfully be maintained.

For the community voluntarily taxes itself to purchase site, build the school-house, warm it, and furnish it with seats and apparatus, and employ the teacher. That the total amount of money voluntarily voted and paid by the people of Wisconsin, during the year ending May 31, 1882, for school-sites, school-buildings, and repairs, apparatus, libraries, furniture, records, etc., for teachers' wages and other school purposes, was $2,132,807, is tangible and prima-facie evidence that there is already a well-settled and abiding interest in public-school work. This fact the teacher is not to forget or overlook. We all know that there are many in the communities in which we teach who have a genuine, a broad, and a deep interest in school work; who bear, unselfishly, many and heavy burdens in behalf of the schools; who help keep the school machinery in motion; who, when teachers leave them, resolutely seek others to take the places voluntarily vacated.

These persons have their own lines of business, and cannot be expected to be in constant visitation of the schools, as why should they', if their schools are in competent hands? But their interest is none the less real if unfrequently thus manifested. It is not the part of true wisdom to wholly ignore or to minimize the interest in school work already existing in the community. Let him rather recognize that interest, and utilize it to the fullest extent. No teacher should for a moment imagine that, with his exit from the community, the interest in school work therein dies, Elijah, in his ignorance and disconsolation, complaining that he only of all Israel was left, and receiving the astonishing reply from the Lord: “Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him," was not more in error than those teachers would be who should suppose that real interest in school work exists alone in themselves.

Our topic then is, “The function of the teacher in awakening in the community a greater interest in school work.” More broadly stated it is, How may the teacher awaken in the community a firmer conviction in the utility, the great necessity of schools, and their work?

That it is the function of the teacher to awaken a greater interest in the community all will concede. To do this he needs to employ a variety of means, and work through various channels. We sug


gest the following, not as exhaustive, but as being suggestive, and within the teacher's reach.

1. To awaken a greater interest in the community, in school work, the teacher must, himself, have a deep and constantly-deepening interest in that work. It must be an interest that may cause him at times to make personal sacrifice for the cause, and that manifests itself in earnest, enthusiastic, discreet, intelligent, and considerate work; an interest so great that there need be no necessity for the patrons to discuss or devise means for awakening a greater interest in the teacher in school-work.

2. The teacher is to see to it that he is himself the well-matured and ripened product of good school work, or the equivalent of that. For as much depends upon what the teacher is as upon what he does. Personally, he should be the embodiment of professionally high ideals, so that in his efforts he may lift rather than push. His professed interest and belief in school work should be manifest, and find realization in himself.

3. What the teacher especially agrees or contracts to do is to teach; and this is his great opportunity, his special field, his chief function. He can no more surely and effectively awaken a greater interest in the community in school work than by awakening that interest in his scholars. They constitute one of the best agencies through which to work. For “through the school ideas flow, by wide and natural channels, into the currents of the community's life.

In this work of teaching, the character of the instruction, the general and specific methods employed, the matter taught, and the spirit of the teacher, are the controlling forces; and the teacher needs a clear ideal toward which to work. He must teach“ realities instead of signs; substance instead of shadow.” He must wisely decide, within the legally prescribed curriculum, not merely what is useful, but what is most useful to be taught in the time at command, and what is best suited at the different ages and mental conditions of the pupil, most fully to develop his individual powers. We say within the prescribed legal curriculum. For when he, aside from the incidental instruction for which there is opportunity, throws open the door to outside specialties, he will need still greater wisdom and discretion, for he will at once be confronted, as the New England Journal suggests, with “ Dr. Angell and his animals; President Walker and his chest of tools; the good ladies and their sewing, cooking, and housekeeping; the doctors and their hygiene; the temperance people and heir temperance,” and so on to the end of a list that is truly appall324


Educational Journal.


virit let the controlling force be attractive

at him make his school-work pleasant.

and natural, but let him make them his nted with the methods of the great teachers


ing to contemplate being worked into the mental tissue of the avera
boy or girl during an average school life of six to eight years
all this, together with co-education. The teacher should
enough to discover that not all of these specialists with their ,
ties can be well entertained in the school-room, in the time
the means at command.

In the teacher's own spirit let the controlling for
rather than repellant, and let him make his school
Let his methods be rational and natural, but let him
own. Let him be acquainted with the methods of the
and educational reformers, the great geniuses and heroes
and let him be acquainted with the methods and educational
of his own time. But he must use those methods through w
can most surely and effectively direct and develop forre
have an inviduality, and must recognize the same in his pupils and
he must acquaint himself thoroughly with child nature, with all

In the use of methods, let him, David like, choose the simple sling
and a few pebbles rather than the bungling, though kingly armour of a
Saul, if thereby he can the more surely become the victor. The most
marked characteristic of the world's Great Teacher was his individu-
ality. In methods, neither Quincy nor Normalville should be the
teacher's shiboleth; but let him use his own trained and cultivated
individuality, his own instinctive sense of the fitness of things.

The marvelous possibility for the teacher's individuality to assert itself, and the wonderful opportunity he has both to use and develop power through teaching, was most eloquently and forcefully set forth by the late Timothy O. Howe, in closing an address before this Association at its session in Whitewater in 1865. He said: “I have seen the schoolmaster pick up a little stolid existence bearing no more resemblance to a man than an oyster does to an ox, to whose unreasoning nature no single question of whence he came or what he sig · nified, or whither he tended, even whispered itself. I have seen the schoolmaster feel carefully about among the springs of such a being until at length he would lay his vivifying touch upon the very germ of his soul. Under that touch I have seen the little creature grow and expand, emotion succeeding to sensation, an idea succeeding to emotion, until his whole being was as full of divine questioning as the spider is of its web. With such questioning I have seen him, spiderlike, weave his track to and fro from the pillars of fire, until great thoughts have flowed into lofty purposes, swaying backward and

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