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EnteT«d, according to Act or Congress, in the year 18C7 


Okfl «;/ttrk*a Office of the District Court of the United States fnr 1k,% 

District Af If ew Y«rlc. 


Many a meritorioas book has failed to find 

readers by reason of a toilsome preface. If 
tlie following volume meets a similar fate, what* 
ever its merits, it shall lack a like e3[cuse. 

This work has had its origin in a desire 
to contribute something toward elevating an 
important and rising profession. Its matter 
comprises the substance of a part of the course 
of lectures addressed to the classes of the In- 
stitution under my charge, during the past two 
years. Those lectures, unwritten at first, were 
delivered in a familiar, colloquial style, — ^their 
main object being the inculcation of such 
practical views as would best promote the 
improvement of the teacher. In writing the 
matter out for the press, the same style, to con- 
siderable extent, has been retained, — as I have 
written with an aim at usefulness rather than 
rhetorical effect. 

If the term theory in the title suggests to 
any mind the bad sense sometimes conveyed 


by that word, I would simply say, that I have 
not been dealing in the speculative dreams of 
the closet, but in convictions derived from the 
realities of the schoolroom during some twenty 
years of actual service as a teacher. Theory 
may justly mean the science distinguished from 
the art of Teaching, — ^but as in practice these 
should never be divorced, so in the following 
chapters I have endeavored constantly to illus- 
trate the one by the other. 

If life should be spared and other circum- 
stances should warrant the undertaking, per- 
haps a furtlier course comprising the Details 
of Teaching may, at some future time, assume 
a similar form to complete my original design. 

David P. Pagb 

State Normal School, ) 
Albany, N. F., Jan. 1, 1847. I 



Tarn SpnuT or thb Tbachke ••• 9 



Section I.— The Neglected Tree U 

Section II. — ^Extent of Responsibility 18 

Section HI. — ^The Auburn Prison 84 

Habits op the Tbachbb 88 




Right Views op Edvcation •••»••••• 88 


RiOHT Modes op Teaching 75 

Section I. — Pouring-in Process •• 77 

Section H. — ^Drawing-out Process ••• 79 

Section III. — The more excellent Way 84 

Section IV. — Waking up Mind 88 

SfOTioN v.— Remarks •••••••••••••••«* 86 


CHAPTER Vn. ,^^^ 

GoNDuoTiMO Recitations 103 


Exciting an Interest in Study 119 

Section I. — ^Incentives . . . Emulation 130 

Section II. — Prizes and Rewards 137 

Section III. — Proper Incentives 139 


ScBooL Government 148 

Section I. — ^Requisites in the Teacher for Government 148 
Section II. — Means of securing Good Order. ....... 159 

Section III. — Punishments . . . Improper . . . Proper. . . 176 

Section IV. — Corporal Punishment 194 

Section V. — ^Limitations and Suggestions 207 


School Arrangements 216 

Section I. — Plan of Day's Work 223 

Section II. — Interruptions 233 

Section III. — Recesses 236 

Section IY. — ^Assignment of Lessons 239 

Section V. — ^Reviews 241 

Section VI. — Examinations... Exhibitions ... Celebra- 
tions 243 




Thc TEACBBR*fc Cars of his Health •• 850 

The Tbach«r*8 Relation to his pRorsssioH 970 


Miscellaneous Suggestions S99 

Section I. — ^Things to be SYoided 1899 

Section IL — Things to be performed 307 

The Rewards or the Teacher S34 






Perhaps the very first question that the honest* indi 
▼idual will ask himself, as he proposes to assume the 
teacher's office, or to enter upon a preparation for it, will 
be — " Wliat manner of spirit am I ofV^ No question 
can be more important. I would by no means under 
value tliat degree of natural talent — of mental power, 
which all justly consider so desirable in the candidate 
for the teacher^s office. But the true spirit of the 
teacher^ — a spirit that seeks not alone pecuniary emol- 
ument, but desires to be in the highest degree useful 
to those who are to be taught ; a spirit that elevates 
above every thing else the nature and capabilities of 
the human soul, and that trembles under the responsi- 
bility of attempting to be its educator; a spirit that 
looks upon gold as the contemptible dross of earth, 
when compared with that imperishable gem which is 
to be polished and brought out into heaven's light to 
shine forever ; a spirit that scorns all the rewards of 


TYue spirit— Motivos often wrong. 

earth, and seeks that highest of all rewards, an ap 
proving conscience and an approving God; a spirit 
that earnestly inquires what is right, and tliat dreads 
to do what is wrong ; a spirit that can recognise and 
reverence the handiwork of God in every cliild, and 
that bums with the desire to be instrumental in train 
ing it to the highest attainment of which it is capable, 
— siich a spirit is the first tiling to be sought by the 
teacher, and without it the highest talent cannot make 
him truly excellent in his profession. 

The candidate for the office of the teacher should 
look well to his motives. It is easy to enter upon the 
duties of the teacher without preparation ; it is easy to 
do it without that lofty purpose which an enliglilened 
conscience would ever demand ; but it is not so easy 
to undo the mischief which a single mistake may pro- 
duce in the mind of the child, at that tender period 
when mistakes are most likely to be made. 

Too many teachers are found in our schools vrithout 
the spirit for their work which is here insisted on. They 
not only have not given attention to any preparation for 
their work, but resort to it from motives of personal 
convenience, and in many instances from a conscious- 
ness of being unfit for every thing else ! In other 
professions this is not so. The lawyer is not admitted 
to the bar till he has pursued a course of thorough 
preparation, and even then but warily employed. The 
physician goes through his course of reading and hi^ 
course of lectures -ind often almost through a course 
of stafvation in the country village where he first puts 


Ptepantion negtoeted. 

ap his sign, before he is called in to heal the maladies 
of the body. It is long before he can inspire confi- 
dence enough in the people to be intrusted with their 
most difficult cases of ailing, and very likely the noon 
of life is passed before he can consider himself estab 
lished. But it is not so with the teacher. He gains 
access to the sanctuary of mind without any difficultyi 
and the most tender interests for both worlds are in- 
trusted to his guidance, even when he makes preten- 
sion to no higher motive than that of filling up a few 
months of time not otherwise appropriated, and to no 
qualifications but those attained by accident. A late 
writer in the Journal of Education hardly overstates 
this matter : — '* Every stripling who has passed four 
years within the walls of a college ; every dissatisfied 
clerk, who has not ability enough to manage the tri- 
fling concerns of a common retail shop ; every young 
farmer who obtains in the winter a short vacation 
from the toils of summer, — in short, every young 
person who is conscious of his imbecility in other 
business, esteems himself fully competent to train the 
ignorance and weakness of infancy into all the virtue 
and power and wisdom of maturer years, — to form a 
creature, the frailest and feeblest xhat heaven has made, 
into^ the intelligent and fearless sovereign of the whole 
animated creation, the interpreter and adorer and al 
most the representative of Divinity 1" 

Many tliere are who enter upon the high employ 
ment of teaching a common school as a secondary 
object. Perhaps they are students themselves in some 


Teaching a Beoondaiy ol^ect— Ignonuioe does not excuse. 

higher institution, and resort to this as a temporary 
expedient for paying their board, while their chief 
object is, to pursue their own studies and thus keep 
pace with their classes. Some make it a stepping* 
stone to something beyond, and, in their estimation, 
higher in the scale of respectability, — treating the 
employment, while in it, as irksome in the extreme, 
and never manifesting so much delight as when the 
hour arrives for the dismissal of their schools. Such 
have not the true spirit of the teacher ; and if their 
labors are not entirely unprofitable, it only proves that 
children are sometimes submitted to imminent danger, 
but are still unaccountably preserved by the hand of 

The teacher should go to his duty full of his work. 
He should be impressed with its overwhelming im- 
portance. He should feel that his mistakes, though 
they may not speedily ruin him, may permanently 
injure his pupils. Nor is it enough that he shall say, 
** I did it ignorantly." He has assumed to fill a place 
where ignorance itself is sin ; and where indifference 
to the well-being of others is equivalent to willful 
homicide. He might as innocently assume to be the 
physician, and, without knowing its effects, prescribe 
arsenic for the colic. Ignorance is not in such cases 
a valid excuse, because the assumption of the place 
implies a pretension to the requisite skill. Let the 
teacher, then, well consider what manner of spirit hn 
is of. Let him come to this work only when he has 
carefully pondered its nature and its responsibilitie&b 


Duigerooi to mislead mind. 

and after he has devoted his best powers to a thorough 
preparation of himself for its high duties. Above all| 
let him be sure that his motives on entering the school- 
room arc such as will be acceptable in the sight of 
6od^ when viewed by the light beaming out from his 

** Oh ! let not then undcfllfbl hands attempt 
To play the harp whoee tones, whose liyins 
Are left foreyer m the strings. Better far 
That heaven's lightnings blast his yerj sool. 
And sink it back tc Chaos' kiwest depths, 
Than knowmgly, by word or deed, he send 
A blight upon the trusting mind of yaath.'' 


A garden.— FIoweiB.—Fniit traea. 




Some years ago, while residing in the northeastern 
part of Massachusetts, I was the owner of a small 
garden. I Had taken much pains to improve the con- 
dition and appearance of the place. A woodbine had 
been carefully trained upon the front of the little 
homestead ; a fragrant honeysuckle, supported by a 
trellis, adorned the doorway ; a moss-rose, a flowering 
almond, and the lily of the valley, mingled their fra- 
grance in the breath of morn, — and never, in my esti- 
mation at least, did the sun shine upon a lovelier, 
happier spot. The morning hour was spent in "dress- 
ing and keeping" the garden. Its vines were daily 
watched and carefully trained ; its borders were free 
from weeds, and the plants expanded their leaves and 
opened their buds as if smiling at the approach of the 
morning sun. There were fruit trees, too, which had 
been brought from far, and so carefully nurtured, that 
they were covered with blossoms, filling the air with 
their fragrance and awakening the fondest hopes of an 
abundant harvest. 

In one corner of this miniature paradise, there was 


Negleeted pear-tree ^Pruning commenood. 

a ho{)-trellis ; and, in the midst of a bed of tansy hard 
by, stood a small, knotty, crooked pear-tree. It liad 
stood there I know not how long. It was very dimin- 
utive in size ; but, like those cedars which one notices 
high up the mountain, just on the boundary between 
yegetation and eternal frost, it had every mark of the 
decrepitude of age. 

Why should this tree stand here so unsightly and 
unfruitful ? Why had it escaped notice so long ? Its 
bark had become bound and cracked ; its leaves were 
small and curled ; and those, small as they were, were 
ready to be devoured by a host of caterpillars, whose 
pampered bodies were already grown to the length of 
an inch. The tendrils of the hop-vine had crept about 
its thorny limbs and were weighing down its growth, 
while the tansy at its roots drank up the refreshing 
dew and shut out the genial ray. // was a neglected 
tree ! 

" Why may not this tree be pruned ?'* No sooner 
said, than the small saw was taken from its place and 
the work was commenced. Commenced? It was 
hard to determine where to commence. Its knotty 
branches had grown thick and crooked, and there was 
scarcely space to get the saw between them. They 
all seemed to deserve amputation, but then the tree 
would have^ no top. This and that limb were lopped 
off as the case seemed to demand. The task was 
neither easy nor pleasant. Sometimes a violent stroke 
would bring down upon my own head a shower of the 
filtliy caterpillars ; again, the long-cherished garden- 


Disagreeable toil.— GrafUog of a Bartlet Pear.— Anxiety. 

coat — threadbare and faded as it was — got caught, and 
before it could be disengaged, what an unsightly rent 
had been made ! Witli pain I toiled on, for one of 
the unlucky thorns had pierced my thumb; and I 
might have been said to be working on the spur cf the 
occasion 1 ^ 

The hop-vine, however, was removed from its 
boughs, the tansy and weeds from its roots, the scales 
and moss from its bark. The thorns were carefully 
pared from its limbs, and the caterpillars were all 
shaken from its leaves. The mould was loosened 
and enriched, — and the sun shined that day upon a 
ong neglected^ but now a promising tree. 

The time for grafting was not yet passed. One re- 
putedly skilled in that art was called to put the new 
scion upon the old stock. The work was readily un- 
dertaken and speedily accomplished, and the assurance 
was given that the Bartlet Pear — that prince among 
the fruits of New England — would one day be gath- 
ered from my neglected tree. 

With what interest I watched the buds of the scion, 
morning after morning, as the month grew warmer, 
and vegetation all around was " bursting into birth !" 
With what delight did I greet the first opening of 
those buds, and how did I rejoice as the young shoots 
put forth and grew into a fresh green top ! With ten- 
der solicitude I cherished this tree for two long sum- 
mers ; and on the opening of the third, my heart was 
gladdened with the sight of its first fruit blossoms. 
With care were the weeds excluded, the caterpillars 


The peara ripen.— Chagrin and mortificatioiu-'A moral garden. 

exterminated^ the hop-vine clipped, the bark rubbed 
and washed, the earth manured and watered. The 
time of fruit arrived. The Bartlet pear was offered in 
our market, — ^but my pears were not yet ripe ! With 
anxious care they were watched till the frost bade the 
green leaves wither, and then they were carefully gath- 
ered and placed in the sunbeams within doors. They* 
at length turned yellow, and looked fair to the sight 
and tempting to the taste ; and a few friends, who had 
known their history, were invited to partake of them. 
They were brought forward, carefully arranged in the 
best dish the humble domicil afforded, and formally 
introduced as the first fruits of the " neglected tree" 
What was my chagrin and mortification, after all my 
pains and solicitude, after all my hopes and fond an- 
ticipations, to find they were miserable, tasteless — 
choke pears ! , 

This pear-tree has put me upon thinking. It has 
suggested that there is such a thing as a moral gar* 
den, in which there may be fair flowers indeed, but 
also some neglected trees. The plants in this gar- 
den may suffer very much from neglect, — from neg- 
lect of the gardener. It is deplorable to see how 
many crooked, unseemly branches shoot forth from 
some of these young trees, which early might have 
been trained to grow straight and smooth by the hand 
of cultivation. Many a youth, running on in his own 
way, indulging in deception and profanity, yielding to 
temptation and overborne by evil influences, polluting 
oy his example and wounding the hearts of his best 


Many neglected treo0.~lnfancy. 

friends as they yeam over him for good, has reminded 
me of my neglected tree^ its caterpillars, its roughened 
bark, its hop-vine, its tansy bed, its cruel piercing 
thorns. And when I have seen such a youth brought 
under the influence of the educator, and have wit- 
nessed the progress he has made and the intellectual 
* promise he has given, I have also thought of my neg^ 
lected tree. When, too, I have followed him to the 
years of maturity, and have found, as I have too often 
found, that he brings not forth "the peaceable fruits 
of righteousness," but that he disappoints all the 
fondly-cherished hopes of- his friends — perhaps of his 
wn teachers, because the best principles were not en- 
grafted upon him, I again think of my neglected tree, 
and of the unskillful, perhaps dishonest gardener, who 
acted as its responsible educator. 

From the above as a text, several inferences might 
be drawn. 1. Education is necessary to develop the 
human soul. 2. Education should begin early. Wc 
have too many neglected trees. 3. It should be right 
education. And 4. The educator should be a safe and 
an honest man ; else the education may be all wrong, 
— may be worse even than the neglect. 
But especially we may infer that 


It is the object of the following remarks feebly to il- 
lustrate the extent of the teacher's responsibihty. It 
must all along be borne in mind that he is not cdone 
responsible for the results of education. The parent 


Extent of teacher's xesponabUity.— Bodily health. 

has an overwhelming responsibility, which he can never 
part with or transfer to another while he holds the re- 
lation of parent. 

But the teacher is responsible in a very high de 
gree. An important interest is committed to his charge 
whenever a human being is placed under his guidance. 
By taking the position of the teacher, all the responsi- 
bility of the relation is voluntarily assumed ; and he is 
fearfully responsible not only for what he does^ but 
also for what he neglects to do. And it is a responsi- 
bility from which he cannot escape. Even though he 
may have thoughtlessly entered upon the relation of 
teacher, without a single glance at its obligations ; or 
though, when reminded of them, he may laugh at the 
thought, and disclaim all idea of being thus seriously 
held to a fearful account, — ^yet still the responsibility is 
on him. Just as true as it is a great thing to guide 
the mind aright, — just as true as it is a deplorable, 
nay, fatal thing to lead it astray, so true is it that he 
who attempts the work, whether ignorant or skillful, 
whether thoughtless or serious, incurs all the responsi- 
bility of success or failure, — a responsibility he can 
never shake off as long as the human soul is immortal, 
and men are accountable for such consequences of 
their acts as are capable of being foreseen. 

I, The teacher is in a degree responsible for the 
BODILY HEALTH of the cMld. It is well established that 
the foundation of many serious diseases is laid in the 
school-room. These diseases come sometimes from a 
neglect of exercise ; sometimes from too long confine 


LawB of physical heaIth.~NervoaB sxcitomeiit 

ment in one position, or upon one study ; sbmetimeB 
from over-excitement and over-study ; sometimes from 
breathing bad air; sometimes from being kept too 
warm or too cold. Now the teacher should be an in- 
telligent physiologist ; and from a knowledge of what 
the human system can bear and what it cannot, he is 
bound to be ever watchful to guard against all those 
abuses from which our children so often suffer. £s 
pecially should he be tremblingly alive to avert that 
excitability of the nervous system, the over-action of 
which is so fatal to the future happiness of the indi- 
vidual. And should he, by appealing to the most ex- 
citing motives, encourage the delicate child to press on 
to grasp those subjects which are too great for its com- 
prehension, and allow it to neglect exercise in tha open 
air in order to task its feverish brain in the crowded 
and badly ventilated school-room ; and then, in a few 
days, be called to look upon the languishing sufferer 
upon a bed of exhaustion and pain — ^perhaps a bed of 
premature deatli, could he say, '' I am not responsi- 
ble T Parents and teachers often err in this They 
are so eager to develop a precocious intellect, that they 
crush the casket in order to gratify a prurient desire to 
astonish the world with the brilliancy of the gem. 
Each is responsible for his share of this sin ; and the 
teacher especially, because by his education he should 
know better. 

II. The teacher is mainly responsible for the intel- 
lectual GROWTH of the child. This may be referred 
chiefly to the following heads : — 


Natural ovdor.^Reading, 4cc.~Menlal AriUmiMtie. 

1 . The order of study. There b a natural order in 
the education of the child. The teacher should know 
this. If he presents the subjects out of this order, he 
is responsible for the injury. In general, the elements 
should be taught first. Those simple branches which 
the child first comprehends, should first be presented. 
Readings of course, must be one of the first ; though 
I think the day is not distant when an enlightened 
community will not condemn tlie teacher, if, while 
teaching reading, he should call the child's attention 
by oral instructions to such objects about him as he 
can comprehend, even though in doing this he should 
somewhat prolong the time of learning to read. It is 
indeed of little consequence that the child should read 
words simply; and that teacher may be viewed as 
pursuing the order of nature, who so endeavors to de* 
velop the powers of observation and comparison, that 
words when learned shall be the vehicles of ideas. 
Some further suggestions on this point will be made in 
the chapter entitled " Waking up MindJ^ 

Next to Reading and its inseparable companions — 
Spelling and Defining^ I am inclined to recommend 
the study of Mental Arithmetic. The idea of Number 
is one of the earliest in the mind of the child. He" 
can be early taught to count, and quite early to per- 
form those operations which we call adding, subtract- 
ing, multiplying, and dividing. This study at first 
needs no book. The teacher should be thoroughly 
versed in " Colburn's Intellectual Arithmetic," or its 
equivalent, and he can find enough to interest the 


Recite without book.— Geography and History. 

child. When the scholar has learned to read, and has 
attained the age of six or seven, he may be allowed a 
book in preparing his lesson^ but never during the 
recitation. Those v^ho have not tried this kind of 
mental discipline, will be astonished at the facility 
which the child acquires, for performing operations that 
often puzzle the adult. Nor is it an unimportant ac- 
quisition. None can tell its value but those who have 
experienced the advantage it gives them in future 
school exercises and in business, over those who have 
never had such training. 

Geography may come next to Mental Arithmetic. 
The child should have an idea of the relations of size, 
form, and space, as well as number, before commen- 
cing Geography. These, however, he acquires natu- 
rally at an early age; and very thoroughly, if the' 
teacher has taken a little pains to aid him on these 
points in tlie earliest stages of his progress. A map 
is a picture, and hence a child welcomes it. If it can 
be a map of some familiar object, as of his school- 
room, of the school district, of his father's orchard or 
farm, it becomes an object of great interest. A mapu 
of his town is very desirable, also of his county and 
his own state. Further detail will be deferred here, as 
it is only intended in this place to hint at the order of 
taking up the subjects. 

History should go hand in hand with Geography. 
Perhaps no greater mistake is made than that of de- 
ferring History till one of the last things in the child'n 


Writing.'Written Arithmetic.— CompoBitioii.—Gmiii]mr. 

Writing may be early commenced with the pencd 
upon the slate, because it is a very useful exercise to 
the child in prosecuting many of his other studies* 
But writing with a pen may well be deferred till the 
child is ten years of age^ when the muscles shall hayo 
acquired sufficient strength to grasp and guide it. 

Written Arithmetic may succeed the mental; in 
teed, it may be practised along with it. 

Composition — ^perhaps by another name, as Descrip 
tion — should be early commenced and very frequently 
practised. The child can be early interested in this^ 
and he probably in this way acquires a better know- 
ledge of practical grammar than in any other. 

Grammar^ in my opinion, as a study, should be one 
of the last of the common school branches to be taken 
up. It requires more maturity of mind to understand 
its relations and dependencies than any other; and 
that which is taught of grammar without such an un- 
derstanding, is a mere smattering of technical terms^ 
by which the pupil is injured rather than improved, 
it may be said, that unless scholars commence this 
branch early, they never will have the opportunity to 
learn it. Then let it go unlearned; for as far as I 
have seen the world, I am satisfied that this early and 
superficial teaching of a difficult subject is not only 
useless but positively injurious. How many there are 
who study grammar for years, and then are obliged to 
confess in after life, because " their speech bewrayeih" 
them, that they never understood it ! How many, 
by the too early study of an intricate branch, make 


^^i— — — ~"^— "^^^■"*' '' -'■ I- .i.iii ^^^.^— — ^— ^— ^— ^— »^ 

How to study.— Not woids, but thonghtB. 

themselves think they understand it, and thus prevent 
the hope of any further advancement at the proper 
age ! GrammaTythen^should not be studied too early. 

Of the manner of teaching all these branches, I shall 
have more to say in due time. At present I have only 
noticed the order in which they should be taken up. 
This is a question of much consequence to the child, 
and the teacher is generally responsible for it. He 
should therefore carefully consider this matter, that he 
may be able to decide aright. 

2. The manner of study. It. is of quite as much 
importance how we study, as what we study. Indeed 
I have thought that much of the difference among 
men could be traced to their different habits of study, 
formed in youth. A large portion of our scholars 
study for the sake of preparing to recite the lesson. 
They seem to have no idea of any object beyond 
recitation. The consequence is, they study mechan- 
ically. They endeavor to remember phraseology, 
rather than principles ; they study the book, not the 
subject. Let any one enter our schools and see the 
scholars engaged in preparing their lessons. Scarcely 
one will be seen, who is not repealing over and over 
again the words of the text, as if there was a saving 
charm in repetition. Observe the same scholars at 
recitation, and it is a struggle of the memory to recall 
the forms of words. The vacant countenance too often 
indicates that ihey are words without meaning. This 
difficulty is very much increased, if the teacher is 
confined to the text-book during recitation ; and par- 


Teacfaer'B duty.— Boola but helpfc— SUidy tkj^eU, 

ticularly, if he relies mainly upon the printed qtte^iiom 
■o often found at the bottom of the page. 

The scholar should be encouraged to study the tuh* 
ject ; and Jiis book should be held merely as the in* 
strument. ''Books are but helps/* is a good motto 
for every student The teacher should often tell how 
the lesson should be learned. His precept in this 
matter will often be of use Some scholars will learn 
a lesson in one tenth of the time required by others. 
Human life is too short to have any of it employed 
to disadyaiitage. The teacher, then, should inculcate 
such habits of study as are valuable ; and he should 
be particularly careful to break up, in the recitations, 
those habits which are so grossly mechanical. A child 
may almost be said to be educated, who has learned to 
study aright ; while one may have acquired in the me* 
chanical way a great amount of knowledge, and yet 
have no profitable mental discipline. 

For this difference in children, as well as in men, the 
teacher is more responsible than any other person 
Let him carefully consider this matter. 

3. Collateral study. Books to be sure are to be 
studied, and studied chiefly, in most of our schools. 
But there is much for the teacher to do toward the 
growilh of the mind, which is not to be found in the 
school-books ; and it is the practical recognition of this 
fact which constitutes the great difference in teachers. 
Truth, in whatever department, is open to the faithful 
teacher. And there is such a thing, even in the pres- 
ent generation, as " opening the eyes of the blind," to 



--^"^^ I.I I j^^^p.— .^ 

. Teaching to observe.^Mind not to be crammed. 

discover things new and old, in nature, in the arts, in 
history, in the relation of things. Without diminishing, 
in the least, the progress of the young in study, their 
powers of observation may be cultivated, Jheir percep- 
tion quickened, their relish for the acquisition of know- 
ledge indefinitely increased, by the instrumentality of 
the teacher. This must of course be done adroitly. 
There is such a thing as excessively cramming the 
mind of a child, till he loathes every thing in the way 
of acquisition. There is such a thing, too, as exciting 
an all-pervading interest in a group of. children, so thai 
the scholar shall welcome the return of school hours, 
and, by his cheerful step and animated eye, as he seeks 
the school-house, disclaim, as false when applied to 
him, the language of the poet, who described the 
school-boy of his darker day, — 

" with his satchel, 
And shining morning face, creeping, like mailt 
Unwillingly to school." 

The teacher, who is responsible for such a result, 
should take care to store his own mind with the mate- 
rial, and exercise the ingenuity, to do that which is of 
so much consequence to the scholar. The chapter on 
"Waking up Mind" will give some further hints to 
the young teacher. 

III. The teacher is in a degree responsible for the 

MORAL TRAINING of the chUd. 

I say-tVi a degree, because it is confessed that in 
this matter very much likewise depends upon parental 


Moral traming neglected.— Precept.~ExainpIe. 

This education of the heart is confessedly too much 
neglected in all our schools. It has often been re- 
marked that '* knowledge is power/' and as truly that 
" knowledge without principle to regulate it may make 
a man a powerful villain !" It is all-important that our 
youth should early receive such moral training, as 
shall make it safe to give them knowledge. Very 
mi}ch of this work must devolve upon the teacher ; or 
rather, when he undertakes to teach, he assumes the 
responsibility of doing or of neglecting this .work. 

The precept of the teacher may do much toward 
teaching the child his duty to God, to himself, and to 
his fellow-beings. But it is not mainly by precept 
that this is to be done. Sermons and homilies are 
but little heeded in the school-room; and unless the 
teacher has some other mode of reaching the feelings 
and the conscience, he may despair of being success- 
ful in moral training. 

The teacher should be well versed in human nature. 
He should know the power of conscience and the 
meaiis of reaching it. He should himself have deep 
principle. His example in every thing before his 
school, should be pure, flowing out from the purity 
of his soul. He should ever manifest the tenderest re- 
gard to the law of right and of love. He should never 
violate his own sense of justice, nor outrage that of 
his pupils. Such a man teaches by his example. He 
is a "living epistle, known and read of all." He 
teaches, as he goes in and out before the school, as 
words can never teach* ^ 


Conscieuce can be cuItivated.—How ? 

The moral feelings of children are capable of sys- 
tematic and successful cultivation. Our muscles ac- 
quire strength by use ; it is so with our intellectual 
and moral faculties. We educate the power of calcu- 
lation by continued practice, so that the proficient adds 
the long column of figures almost with the rapidity of 
sight, and with infallible accuracy. So with the moral 
feelings. " The more frequently we use our con- 
science," says Dr. Wayland, " in judging between ac- 
tions, as right and wrong, the more easily shall we 
learn to judge correctly concerning them. He who, 
before every action, will deliberately ask himself, * Is 
this right or wrong ?' will seldom mistake what is his 
duty. And children may do this as well as grown 
persons." Let the teacher appeal as often as may be 
to the pupil's conscience. In a thousand ways can 
this be done, and it is a duty the faithful teacher owes 
to his scholars. 

By such methods of cultivating the conscience as 
the judicious teacher may devise, and by his own pure 
example, what may he not accomplish? If he ioves 
the truth, and ever speaks the trnth; if he is ever 
frank and sincere ; if, in a word, he shows that he 
has a tender conscience in all things, and that he 
always refers to it for its approval in all his acts, — 
what an influence doee he exert upon the impressible 
minds under his guidance ! How those children will 
observe his consistent course ; and, though they may 
not speak of it, how great will be its silent power 
upon the formation of their characters ! And in future 


Evil example to be dreaded.— CoosequeDcee. 

years, when they ripen into maturity^ how will they 
remember and bless tlie example they shall have found 
so safe and salutary. 

Responsibility in this matter cannot be avoided* 
The teacher by his example does teach^ for good or 
for evil, whether he will or not. Indifference will not 
excuse him ; for when most indifferent he is not less 
accountable. And if his example be pernicious, as. 
too often even yet the example of the teacher is ; if he 
indulges in outbreaks of passion, or wanders in the 
mazes of deceitfulness ; if the blasphemous oath pol- 
lutes his tongue, or the obscene jest poison/ his 
breath ; if he trifles with the feelings or the rights 
of others, and habitually violates his own conscience, 
— what a blighting influence is his for all coming 
time ! 

With all the attachment which young pupils will 

cherish even toward a bad teacher, and with all the 

confidence they will repose in him, who can describe 

the mischief which he can accomplish in one short 

term ? The school is no place for a man without 

principle; I repeat, the school is no place for a 

MAN WITHOUT PRINCIPLE. Let such a man seek a 

livelihood anywhere else ; or, failing to gain it by 

other means, let starvation seize the body, and send 

the soul back to its Maker as it is, rather than he 

should incur the fearful guilt of poisoning youthful 

minds and dragging them down to his own pitiable 

level. If there can be one sin greater than anotlier, 

on which heaven frowns with more awful displeasure. 



Trample not on the mind.— Religion our glory— our hope. 

it is that of leading the young into principles of errof 
and the debasing practices of vice. 

" Oh, wo to those who trample on the mind, 
That deathless thing I Tliey know not what tliey do, 
Nor what they deal with. Man, perchance, may bind • 
The flower his step hath bruised ; or light anew 
Tlie torch he quenches ; or to music wind 
Again the lyre-string from his touch that flew ;— 
But for the soul, oh, tremble and beware 
To lay rude hands upon God's mysteries there !*' 

Let then the teacher study well his motives when 
be enters this profession, and so let him meet his re- 
sponsibility in this matter as to secure the approval of 
his own conscience and his God. 

IV. The teacher is to some extent responsible for 
the RELIGIOUS TRAINING of the j/oung. 

We live in a Christian land. It is our glory, if not 
our boast, that we have descended from an ancestry 
that feared God and reverenced his word. Very justly 
we attribute our superiority as a people over those who 
dwell in the darker portions of the world, to our purer 
faith derived from that precious fountain of truth- — the 
Bible. Very justly, too, does the true patriot and phi- 
lanthropist rely upon our faith and practice as a Chris- 
tian people ^r the permanence of our free institutions 
and our unequaled social privileges. 

If we are so much indebted, then, to the Christian 
religion for. what we are, and so much dependent upon 
its life-giving truths for what we may hope to be, — how 
important is it that all our youth should be nurtured 
under its iniluencep- 1 


Avoid Bectarianiam.— O>minon ground.— Exemplified. 

When I say religious training, I do not mean sec- 
tarianism. In our public schools, supported at the 
public expense, and in which the children of all de 
nominations meet for instruction, I do not think that 
any man has a right to crowd his own peculiar notions 
of theology upon all, whether they are acceptable or 
not. Yet there is common ground which he can oc- 
cupy, and to which no reasonable man can object. 
He can teach a reverence for the Supreme Being, 
a reverence for his Holy Word, for the influences 
of his Spirit, for the character and teachings of the 
Savior, and for the momentous concerns of eter- 
nity. He can teach the evil of sin in the sight of 
God, and the awful consequences of it upon the indi 
vidual. He can teach the duty of repentance, and the 
privilege of forgiveness. He can teach our duty to 
worship God, to obey his laws, to seek the guidance 
of his Spirit, and the salvation by his Son. He can 
illustrate the blessedness of the divine life, the beauty 
of holiness, and the joyful hope of heaven ; — ^and to 
all this no reasonable man will be found to object, so 
long as it is done in a truly Christian spirit. 

If not in express words, most certainly his life and 
example should teach this. Man is a religious being. 
The religious principle should be early cultivated. 
It should be safely and carefully cultivated ; and, as 
this cultivation is too often entirely neglected by 
parents, unless it is attempted by the teacher, in many 
cases it will never be effected at all. 

Of course all those points which separate the com 


Danger of akepticifiin.— Who is sufficient ! 

munity into sects, must be left to the family, the sab 
bath-school, and the pulpit. The teacher is responsi« 
ble for his honesty in ihis matter. While he has no 
right to lord it over the private conscience of any one, 
be is inexcusable, if, believing the great truths of the 
Bible, he puts them away as if they concerned him 
not. They should command his faith, and govern his 
conduct ; and their claims upon the young should not 
be disowned. 

At any rate, the teacher should be careful that his 
teaching and his example do not prejudice the youthful 
mind against these truths. It is a hazardous thing for 
a man to be skeptical by himself, even when he locks 
lii» opinions up in the secrecy of his own bosom ; how 
great then is the responsibility of teaching the young 
to look lightly upon the only book that holds out to us 
the faith of immortality, and opens to us the hope of 
heaven! Let the teacher well consider this matter, 
and take heed that his teaching shall never lead one 
child of earth away from his heavenly Father, or from 
the rest of the righteous in the home of the blest. 

In view of what has been said, the young candidate 
for the teacher's office, almost in despair of success, 
may exclaim, "Who is sufficient for these things?** 
"Who can meet and sustain such responsibility?'* 
My answer is, the true inquirer after duty will not go 
astray. He is insufficient for these things, who is 
self-confident, who has not yet learned his own weak 
nessy who has never found out his own faults, and wh 


iBttZouaable indifferenoe.— The honeit inquinr may hope. 

rushes to this great work, as the unheeding ''horse 
rusheth into the battle/' not knowing whither he goeth, 
Alas, how many there are who enter this profession 
without the exercise of a single thought of tlie respon- 
sibleness of the position, or of any of the great ques- 
tions which roust in their schools, for the first time be 
presented for their decision ! How many there are 
who never reflect upon the influence of their example 
before the young, and are scarcely conscious that their 
example is of any consequence ! Such, in the highest 
sense, will fail of success. How can they be expect- 
ed to go right, where there is only one right way, but 
a thousand wrong ? Let such persons pause and con- 
sider, before they assume responsibilities which they 
can neither discharge nor evade. Let such ask with 
deep solicitude, " Who is sufficient for these things Y* 
But to the young person really desirous of improve- 
ment ; to him who has taken the first and important 
step toward knowledge, by making the discovery that 
every thing is not already known ; to him who sees 
beforehand that there are real difficulties in this pro- 
fession, and who is not too proud or self-conceited to 
fee] the need of special preparation to meet them; to< 
him who has some idea of the power of example in 
the educator, and who desires most of all things that 
his character shall be so pure as to render his ex- 
ample safe ; to him who has discovered that there are 
some deep mysteries in human nature, and that they 
are only to be fathomed by careful study to him who 
really feels that a great thing is to be done, and who 


Visit to the priEH>n.'— Neatness and order.— An inquiry.— Library. 

has the sincere desire to prepare himself to do it 
aright ; to nim, in short, who has the true spirit of the 
teacher, — I may say, there is nothing to fear. An 
honest mind, with the requisite industry, is sufficient 
for these things. 


During my visit at Aubuni in the autumn of 1845, 
I was invited by a friend to visit the prison, in which 
at that time were confined between six and seven hun- 
dred convicts. I was first taken through the various 
workshops, where the utmost neatness and order pre 
vailed. As I passed along, my eye rested upon one 
after another of the convicts, I confess, with a feeling 
of surprise. There were many good-looking men. 
If, instead of their parti-colored dress, they could have 
been clothed in the citizen's garb, I should have 
thought them as good in appearance as laboring men 
in general. And when, to their good appearance, was 
added their attention to their work, their ingenuity, 
and the neatness of their work-rooms, my own mind 
began to press the inquiry, Why are these men here ? 
It was the afternoon of Saturday. Many of them had 
completed their allotted work for the week, and with 
happy faces were performing the customary ablutions 
preparatory to the sabbath. Passing on, we came to 
the library, a collection of suitable books for the con- 
victs, which are given out as a reward for diligence to 
those who have seasonably and faithfully performed 


Wyatt the mimlerar.— Sabbath morn.— <3eiMnl view. 

their labor. Here were many who had come to take 
their books. Their faces beamed with delight as they 
each bore away the desired volumei^ just as I had seen 
the faces of the happy and the free do before. Why 
are these men here f was again pressed upon me ; — 
why are these men here ? 

At this time the famous Wtatt, smce executed 
upon the gallows for his crime, was in solitary confine- 
ment, awaiting his trial for the murder of Gordon, a 
fellow-prisoner. I was permitted to enter his room. 
Chained to the floor, he was reclining upon his mat- 
tress in the middle of his apartment. As I approached 
him, his large black eye met mine. He was a hand- 
some man. His head was well deyeloped, his long 
black hair hung upon his neck, and his eye was one 
of the most intelligent I ever beheld. Had I seen him 
in the senate among great men, — ^had I seen him in a 
school of philosophers, or a brotherhood of poets, I 
should probably have selected him as the most remark- 
able man among them all, without suspecting his dis- 
tinction to be a distinction of villany. Why is that 
man here ? thought I, as I turned away to leave him 
to his dreadful solitude. 

The morrow was the Sabbath. I could not repress 
my desire to see the convicts brought together for 
worship. At the hour of nine I entered their chapel, 
and found them all seated in silence. I was able to 
see most of the faces of this interesting congregation. 
It was by no means the worst looking congregation I 
had ever seen. There were evidently bad men there ; 


Wonih|P*'~^>>>8i'>8< — Pi ay or. — Deep feeling. 

lilt what ccngregation oi free men does not pregent 
0ome such ? 

They awaited in silence the commencement of tho 
service. When the morning hymn was read, they 
joined in the song, the chorister being a colored man 
of their own number. -^They sung as other congre- 
gations sing, and my voice joined with theirs. The 
bcripture was read. They gave a respectful atten- 
tion. The prayer was begun. Some bowed in ap- 
parent reverence at the commencement. Others sat 
erect, and two or three of these appeared to be the 
hardened sons of crime. The chaplain's voice was 
of a deep, perhaps I should say, a fatherly tone, and 
be seemed to have the father's spirit. He prayed for 
these "wayward ones," who were deprived of their 
liberty for their oflfenses, but whom God would welcome 
to his throne of mercy. He prayed for their homes, 
and for their friends who this day would send their 
thoughts hither in remembrance of those in bonds. 
He alluded to the scenes of their childhood, the soUci- 
tude of their early friends, and the affection of their 
parents. When the words home, friend, childhood, 
were heard, several of those sturdy sons of crime and 
wretchedness instinctively bowed their heads and con- 
cealed their faces in their hands ; and as a father^s 
blessing and a mother's love vf ere alluded to, more than 
one of these outcasts from society, were observed to 
/4»sh the scalding tear from the eye. These men 
J^eel like other men, — why are they here 1 was again 
be thought which forced itself upon my mind ; and 

The qncrtion again.— ^SpeculatioB.— T heir teaehew. 

while the chaplain proceeded to liis sermon, in the 
midst of the silence that pervaded the ro<Hn, my mind 
ran back to their educators. Once these men were 
children like others. They had feelings like other chil* 
dren, affection, reverence, teachableness, conscience,— 
why are they here ? Some, very likely, on account of 
their extraordinary perversity ; but most because they 
had a wrong education. More than half, undoubtedly, 
have violated the laws of their country not from extra* 
ordinary viciousness, but from the weakness of their 
moral principle. Tempted just like other and better 
men, they fell^ because in early childhood no one had 
cultivated and strengthened the conscience God had 
given them. I am not disposed to excuse the vices of 
men, nor to screen them from merited punishment; 
neither do I worship a "painted morality," based solely 
upon education^ thus leaving nothing for the religion 
of the Bible to accomplish by purifying the heart, that 
fountain of wickedness : yet how many of these men 
might have been saved to society ; how many of them 
have powers which under different training might have 
adorned and blessed their race ; how many of them may 
date their fall to the evil influence and poisonous ex- 
ample of some guide of their childhood, some recreant 
teacher of their early days, — God only knows ! But 
what a responsibility still rests upon the head of any 
-j^ such teacher, if he did not know, or did not try to know, 
the avenue to their hearts ; if he did not feel or try to fee. 
the worth of moral principle to these very fallen ones I 
And what would be his feelings if he could look back 


View to the final Judgment.— Study to know, and to do. 

through the distant days of the past, and count up 
exactly the measure of his own faithfulness and of his 
own neglect ? This the all-seeing eye alone can do, — 
this He who looketh upon the heart ever does ! 

Teachers, go forth, then, conscious of your responsi- 
bility to^ your pupils, conscious of your accountability 
to God, go forth and teach this people ; and endeavor 
so to tecchy that when you meet your pupils, not in 
the walks of life merely, not perhaps in the Auburn 
Prison, not indeed upon the shores of time, but at the 
final Judgment, where you must meet them all, you 
may be able to give a good account of the influence 
which you have exerted over mind. As it may then 
be forever too late to correct your errors and efface 
any injury done, study now to act the part of wisdom 
and the part of love. 

Study the human heart by studymg the workings of 
your own; seek carefully the avenues to the affec- 
tions ; study those higher motives which elevate and 
ennoble the soul ; cultivate that purity which shall al- 
lure the wayward, by bright example, from the paths of 
error ; imbue your own souls with the love of teach- 
ing and the greatness of your work ; rely not alone 
upon yourselves, as if by your own wisdom and might 
you could do this great thing ; but seek that direction 
which our heavenly Father never withholds from the 
honest inquirer after his guidance, — and though the 
teacher's work is, and ever must be, attended with 
overwhelming responsibility, you will be sufficient 



The teacher a model.— Impoitance of Rood habita. 



The importance of correct habits to any individual 
cannot be overrated. The influence of the teacher is 
so great upon the children under his care, either for 
good or evil, that it is of the utmost importance to 
them as well as to himself that his habits should be 
unexceptionable. It is the teacher's sphere to improve 
the community in which he moves, not only in learn- 
ing, but in morals and manners ; in every thing that is 
" lovely and of good report." This he may do partly 
by precept, — but very much by example. He teaches^ 
wherever he is. His manners, his appearance, his 
character, are all the subject of observation, and to a 
great extent of imitation, by the young in his district. 
He is observed not only in the school, but in the fam- 
ily, in the social gathering, and in the religious meet- 
ing. How desirable then that he should be a model in 
all things ! 

Man has been said to be a " buildle of habits ;" and 
it has been as pithily remarked — " Happy is the man 
whose habits are his friends." It were well if all per- 
sons, before they become teachers, would attend care- 
fully to the formation of their personal habits. This, 


Cleanliness.— Ablution.— The teeth.— Tlie nails. 

unhappily, is not always done, — and therefore I shall 
make no apology for introducing in this place some 
very plain remarks on what I deem the essentials 
among the habits of the teacher. 

1. Neatness. This implies cleanliness of the per- 
son. If some who assume to teach were not proverbial 
for their slovenliness, I would not dwell on this point. 
On this point, however, I must be allowed great plain- 
ness of speech, even at the expense of incurring the 
charge of excessive nicety ; for it is by attending to a 
few little things that one becomes a strictly neat per- 
son. The morning ablution, then, should never be 
omitted, and the comb for the hair and brush for the 
clothes should always be called into requisition before 
the teacher presents himself to the family, or to his 
school. Every teacher would very much promote his 
own health by washing the whole surface of the body 
every morning in cold water. This is now done by 
very many of the most enlightened teachers, as well as 
others. When physiology is better understood, this 
practice will be far more general. To no class of 
persons is it more essential than to the teacher ; for on 
account of his confinement, often in an unventilated 
room, with half a hundred children during the day, 
very much more is demanded of the exhalents in him 
than in others. His only safety is in a healthy action 
of the skin. 

The teeth should be attended to. A brush and 
clean water have saved many a set of teeth. It is bad 
enough to witness the deplorable neglect of these im- 


- -~ I II ■ - — — 
Aml gar habit—Neat droM.— Tobaooo.->A panle. 

portant organs so prevalent in the community ; but it 
is extremely mortifying to see a filthy set of teeth in 
the mouth of the teacher of our youth. The nuilSf 
tooy I am sorry to say, are often neglected by some of 
our teachers, till their ebony tips are any thing but 
ornamental. This matter is made worse, when, in the 
presence of the family or of the school, the penknife 
is brought into requisition to remove that which should 
have received attention at the time of washing in the 
morning. The teacher should remember that it is a 
vulgar habit to pare or clean the nails while in the 
presence of others, and especially during conversation 
with them. 

The teacher should be neat in his dress, I do not 
urge that his dress should be expensive. His income 
ordinarily will not admit of this. He may wear a very 
plain dress ; nor should it be any way singular in its 
fashion. All I ask is, that his clothing should be in 
good taste, and always clean, A slovenly dress, covered 
with dust, or spotted with grease, is never so much out 
of its proper place, as when it clothes the teacher. 

While upon this subject I may be indulged in a 
word or two upon the use of tobacco by the teacher. 
It is quite a puzzle to me to tell why any man but 
a Turk, who may lawfully dream away half his ex- 
istence over the fumes of this filthy narcotic, should 
ever use it. Even if there were nothing wrong in 
the use of unnatural stimulants themselves, the fil- 
thiness of tobacco is enough to condemn it among 
teachers, especially in the form of chewing. It is cer 


i—*»i—— — — — ^— ^ ■ M ■»■■■■■■■ .1 .1 ■■ I !■ ..I II ■■ av 

Improved taste.— Order, system.— Courtesy of language. 

tainly worth while to ask whether there is not spme 
moral delinquency in teaching this practice to the 
young, while it is admitted, by nearly all who have 
fallen into the habit, to be an ^il, and one from which 
they would desire to be delivered. ' At any rate, I hope 
the time is coming, when the good taste of teachers, 
and a regard for personal neatness and the comfort of 
others, shall present motives sufficiently strong to in- 
duce them to break away from a practice at once so 
unreasonable and so disgusting. 

2. Order. In this place I refer to that system and 
regularity so desirable in every teacher. He should 
practise it in his room at his boarding-house. Every 
thing should have its place. His books, his clothing, 
should all be arranged with regard to this principle. 
The same habit should go with him to the school- 
room. His desk there should be a pattern of orderly 
arrangement. Practising this himself, he may with 
.propriety insist upon it in his pupils. It is of great 
moment to the teacher, that, when he demands order 
and arrangement among his pupils, they cannot appeal 
to any breach of it in his own practice. 

3. Courtesy, The teacher should ever be cour- 
teous, both in his language and in his manners. CouT" 
test/ of language may imply a freedom from all coarse- 
ness. There is a kind of communication, used among 
boatmen and hangers-on at bar-rooms, which should 
find no place in the teacher's vocabulary. All vulgar 
jesting, all double-entendres, all low allusions, should 
be forever excluded from his mouth. And profanity 


Profanity.— Purity.— Accuiucy.—CourteBy of manner. 

_] M 

— can it be necessary that I should speak of this as 
among the habits of the teacher? Yes, it is even so. 
Such is the want of moral sense in the community, 
that men are still employed in some districts, whose 
ordinary conversation is poisoned with the breath of 
blasphemy; ay, and even the walls of the school- 
room resound to undisguised oaths ! I cannot find 
words to express my astonishment at the indifference 
of parents, or at the recklessness of teachers, wherever 
J know such cases to exist. 

Speaking of the language of the teacher, I might 
urge also that it should be both pure and accurate. 
Pure as distinguished from all those cant phrases and 
provincialisms which amuse the vulgar in certain lo- 
calities ; and accurate as to the terms used to express 
his meaning. As the teacher ieackes in this, as in 
every thing, by example as well as by precept, he 
should be very careful to acquire an unexceptionable 
use of our language, and never deviate from it in the 
hearing of his pupils or elsewhere. 

There is a courtesy of manner also, which should 
characterize the teacher. This is not that ridiculous 
obsequiousness which some persons assume, when 
they would gain the good opinion of others. It is true 
politeness. By politeness I do not mean any particular 
form of words, nor any prescribed or prescribable 
mode of action. It does not consist in bowing ac- 
cording to any approved plan, nor in a compliance 
simply with the formulas of etiquette in the fashion- 
able world. True politeness is founded in benevo- 


Politeness, in the teacher.— Anecdote,— The secret. 

lence. Its law is embodied in the golden rule of the 
Savior : — " Whatsoever ye would that men should do 
to you, do ye even so unto them." It is the exercise 
of real kindness. It entertains a just regard for the 
feelings of others, and seeks to do for them what 
would make them really happy. 

The teacher should possess this quality. When- 
ever he meets a child, it should be with the looks and 
words of kindness. Whenever he receives any token 
of regard from a pupil, he should acknowledge it in 
the true spirit of politeness. Whenever he meets a 
pupil in the street, or in a public place, he should cor- 
dially recognise him. In this way and a thousand 
others, which, if he have the right spirit, will cost him 
nothing, he will cultivate true courtesy in his pupils. 
He can do it in this way more efiectually than he car 
by formally lecturing upon the subject. True politeness 
will always win its true reciprocation. Two teachers 
were once walking together in the streets of a large 
town in New-England. Several lads whom they met on 
the side-walk, raised their caps as they exchanged the 
common salutations with one of the teachers. " What 
boys are these that pay you such attention as they 
pass ?" inquired the other. " They are my scholars," 
answered his friend. " Your scholars ! Why how 
do you teach them to be so very polite ? Mine are 
pretty sure never to look at me ; and generally they 
take care to be on the other side of the street." " I 
am unable to tell," said his friend ; " I never say any 
thing about it. I usually bow to them, and they are as 


Mannen neglected. — ^Punctuality a caiduial vifiue. 

ready to bow to me." The whole secret consisted in this 
teacher's meeting his pupils in the spirit of kindness. 

I would not, however, discourage a teacher from ac* 
tually inculcating good manners by precept. It should 
indeed be done. The manners of pupils are too much 
neglected in most of our schools, and, I am sorry to say, 
in most of our families. Our youth are growing up 
with all the independence of sturdy yomig republicans, 
— and, in their pride of freedom from governmental 
restraint, they sometimes show a want of respect for 
their seniors and superiors, which is quite mortifying to 
all lovers of propriety. It is the teacher's province to 
counteract this ; and in order to do it well, he should 
possess the virtue of true courtesy, both in theory and 

4. Punctuality. This, as a habit, is essential to 
the teacher. He should be punctual in every thing. 
He should always be present at or before the time for 
opening the school. A teacher who goes late to school 
once a week, or even once a month, cannot very well 
enforce the punctual attendance of his pupils. I once 
knew a man who for seven long years was never late 
at school a single minute, and seldom did he fail to 
reach his place more than five minutes before the time. 
1 never knew but one such. I have known scores who 
were frequently tardy, and sometimes by the space (^ 
a whole hour ! 

A teacher should be as punctual in dismissing as in 
opening his school. I know that some make a virtue 
of keeping their schools beyond the regular houn 


Dismiss punctually.— Regular study.— Time .for it 

I have always considered this a. very questionable 
virtue. If a teacher wishes to stay beyond his time, it 
should be either with delinquents, who have some les- 
sons to make up, or with those who voluntarily remain. 
But, after all, if he has been strictly punctual to the 
hours assigned for his various . duties in school, there 
will scarcely be the necessity for him, or any of his 
pupils to remain beyond the time for dismission ; and, 
as a general rule, a regard both for his own liealth and 
theirs should forbid this. It is better to work diligently 
while one does work, and not to protract the time of 
labor, so as to destroy one's energy for to-morrow. 

This habit of punctuality should run through every 
thing. He should be punctual at all engagements ; he 
should be studiously so in all the detail of school exer- 
cises ; he should be so at his meals, at his private 
studies, at his hour of retiring at night :and of rising in 
the morning, and also at his exercise and recreation. 
This is necessary to a truly exemplary character, and 
it is equally as necessary to good health. 

5. Habits op Study. Unless the teacher takes 
care to furnish his own mind, he will soon find his 
present stock of knowledge, however liberal that may 
be, fading from his memory and becoming unavailable. 
To prevent this, and to keep along with every improve- 
ment, he should regularly pursue a course of study. I 
say regularly ; for in order to accomplish any thing 
really desirable, he must do something every day. By 
jstrict system in all his arrangements, he may find time 
to do it ; and whenever I am told by a teacher that ho 


A high fitandanl.— Excelsior I 

cannot find time to study, I always infer that there is 
a want of order in his arrangements, or a want of 
punctuality in the observance of that order. Human 
life indeed is short ; but most men still further abridge 
the period' allotted to them, by a disregard of system. 

What has now been said, upon the teacher's sptnt^ 
the teacher's responsibility, and the teacher's personal 
habits, will embody perhaps my views upon the cha- 
racter of the individual, who may be encouraged to 
engage in the work of teaching. Nor do I think the 
requirements in this department have been overstated. 
I know, indeed, that too many exercise the teacher's 
functions without the teacher's spirit as here described, 
and without the sense of responsibility here insisted 
on, and with habits entirely inconsistent with those 
here required. But this does not prove tliat such 
teachers have chosen the right calling, or that the 
children under their care are under safe and proper 
guidance. It proves rather that parents and school 
ojBicers have too often neglected to be vigilant, or that 
suitable teachers could not be had. 

Let none think of lowering the standard to what has 
been, or what may even now be that of a majority of 
those who are engaged in this profession. Every young 
teacher's eye should be directed to the very best model 
in this work; and he should never be satisfied with 
bare mediocrity. Excelsior, the motto of the Empire 
State» may well be the motto of the young teacher. 


Profession advancing , so is the pay. 



I AM now about to enter an extensive field. Since 
the teacher is to be the life of the school, it is ci great 
consequence that he have within him the means of 
sustaining life. 

As the statutes in many of the states prescribe the 
minimum of attainment for the teacher, I might per 
haps spare myself the labor of writing on this point. 
Yet in a thorough work on the Theory and Practice 
of Teaching, this very properly comes under consider- 

The profession of teaching is advancing. The 
present standard of acquirement demanded of the 
teacher, excludes many who were considered quite 
respectable in their vocation, ten years ago. This may 
well be so ; for within that time, quite an advance has 
been made in the compensation oflfercd to teachers. 
It is but reasonable that acquirement should keep pace 
with the reward of it. Indeed, the talent and attain- 
ment brought into the" field, must always be in advance 
of the rate of compensation. The people must be first 
convinced that teachers are better than they were years 
ago, and then they will be ready to reward them. In 
Massachusetts, according to statistics in the possession 


What a teacher ought to know.— Oithographj. 

of the Hon. Horace Mann, Secretary of the Board of 
Education, the compensation of teachers within ten 
years' has advanced thirty-three per cent. ; nor is it 
reasonable to suppose that this advance has been madCi 
independent of any improvement among the teachers. 
Their system of supervision has increased in strictness, 
during this time, in an equal ratio ; and many teachers, 
who were entirely incompetent for their places, have 
thus been driven to other employments. The cause is 
still onward ; and the time is not far distant when the 
people will demand still more thorough teachers for 
the common schools, and they will find it for their 
interest to pay for them. 

Under these circumstances, it will not be my design 
to give the very lowest qualifications for a teacher at 
present. I shall aim to describe those which a teacher 
cught to possess, in order to command, for some time to 
come, the respect of the enlightened part of the com- 
munity. I will not say that a man, with less attainment 
than I shall describe, may not keep a good school ; I 
have no doubt that many do. Yet if our profession is to 
be really respectable, and truly deserving of the regard 
of an enlightened people, we must have a still higher 
standard of qualification than I shall now insist on. 
The following is a list of the studies of which every 
teacher should have a competent knowledge. I add 
also to each, such word of comment as appears to be 

1. Orthography. This implies something more 
than mere spelling. Spelling is certainly indispen* 


Onr alpliabet.--£Iementa]y sounds.— Normal chart. 

»able. No person should ever think of teaching, who 

is not an accurate speller. But the nature and powers 

of letters should also be mastered. We have in our 

language about forty elementary sounds ; yet we have 
but twenty-six characters to represent them. Our 
alphabet is therefore imperfect. This imperfection is 
augmented by the fact that several of the letters are 
employed each to represent several dififerent sounds. 
In other cases, two letters combined represent the 
element. There are also letters, as c, y, and x, which 
have no sound that is not fully represented by other 
letters. Then a very large number of our letters are 
silent in certain positions, while they are fully sounded^ 
in others. It were much to be desired that we might 
have 2L perfect alphabet, that is, as many characters as 
we have elementary sounds, and that each letter should 
have but one sound. For the present this can not be ; 
and the present generation of teachers, at least, will 
have to teach our present orthography. Those systems 
of orthography are much to be preferred which begin 
with the elementary sounds, and then present the letters 
as their representatives, together with the prar'* of 
analyzing words into their elements, thus showing at 
once the silent letters and the equivalents. These 
systems may be taught in half the time that the old 
systems can be ; and when acquired, they are of much 
greater practical utility to the learner. As my views 
have been more fully presented in the " Normal Chart 
OF Elementary Sounds,'' prepared for the use of 
acbools, I will only refer the reader to that work 


Few good readers.— Mr. Mann's Btatement. 

2, Reading. Every teacher should be a good 
reader. Not more than one in every hundred among 
teachers can now be called a good reader. To be able 
to read well, implies a quick perception of the meaning 
as well as a proper enunciation of the words. It is a 
branch but poorly taught in most of our schools. 
Many of the older pupils get above reading before 
they have learned to read well; and, unfortunately, 
many of our teachers cannot awaken an interest in the 
subject, because very likely they cannot read any better 
than their scholars. 

It would be interesting to ascertain how large a 
proportion of our youth leave the schools without 
acquiring the power readily to take the sense of any 
common paragraph which they may attempt to read. 
I am inclined to think the number is not small.* In 

* Since wiiting the above* my eye has fallen upon the following, from 
the second Annual Report of the Secretary of the Mass. Board of Educa- 
tion. " I have devoted," says Mr. Mann, " especial pains to leani, with 
some degree of numerical accuracy, how far tlie reading in our schools is 
an exercise of the mind in thinking and feeling, and how far it is a barren 
action uf the organs of speech upon the atmosphere. My information is 
derived principally from the written statements of the school committees 
of the different towns,— gentiemen, who are certainly exempt from all 
temptation to disparage the schools^ they superintend. The result is that 
more than eleven twelfths of all the children in the reading classes in our 
schools, do not understand the meaning of the wnds they read; that 
they do not master the sense of their reading lessons ; and that the ideas 
and feelings intended by the author to be conveyed to and excited in tlie 
reader's mind, still rest in the anther's intention, never having vet reached 
the place of their destination. It would hardly seem that the combined 
efforts of all i/ersons engaged, could have accomplished more, in defeating 
the true objects of reading. How the cause of this dHticiency is to be 
apportioned among the .egal supervisors of the sehoolsb pam^ts teachen 



Hard labor.— Analysis of words.— Writing. 

this way I account for the fact that so many cease to 
read as soon as they leave school. It costs them so 
much efort to decipher the meaning of a book, that it 
counteracts the desire for the gratification and improve- 
ment it might otherwise afford. It should not be so 
The teacher should be a model of good reading ; he 
should be enthusiastic in this branch, and never rest 
till he has excited the proper interest in it among the 
pupils, from the oldest to the youngest, in the school. 

It would be well if our teachers could be somewhat 
acquainted with the Latin and Greek languages, as this 
would afford them great facilities in comprehending 
and defining many of our own words. As this cannot 
bo expected for the present, a substitute may be sought 
in some analysis of our derivative words. Several 
works have somewhat recently been prepared, to sup 
ply, as far as piay be, the wants of those who have not 
studied the classics. I should advise every teacher, for 
his own benefit, to master some one of these. 

3. Writing. It is not respectable for the teacher 
of the young to be a bad writer; nor can it ever 
become so, even should the majority of bad writers 
continue to increase. The teacher should take great 
pains to write a plain, legible hand. This is an 
essential qualification. 

4. Geography. A knowledge of the principles of 
Geography is essential. This implies an acquaintance 

and autlioiB of text-booki, it is impossible to say ; but surely it is an evil 
gratuitous, widely-prevalent, and threatening the most alamiing <Siuise 


- - - ' 

Geography.— History .—Mental Arithmetic- A oecdoteB. 

with the use of globes, and the art of map-drawing. 
The teacher should be so well versed in geography, 
that, with an outline map of any country before him, 
he could give an intelligent account of its surface, 
people, resources, history, &c. ; and if the outline map 
were not at hand, he ought to be able to draw one 
from memory, — at least, of each of the grand divisions 
of the earth, and of the United States. 

5. History. The teacher should be acquainted 
with history, — at least, the history of the United States. 
He can hardly teach geography successfully without 
a competent knowledge of both ancient and modern 
history. It should, in the main, be taught in our 
common schools in connection with geography. 

6. Mental ARrrHMExic. Let every teacher be thor- 
oughly versed in some good work on this subject.* 
Colburn's was the first, and it is probably the best that 
has been prepared. That little book has done more than 
any other for the improvement of teaching in this coun- 
try. It is not enough that the teacher is able in some 
way to obtain the answers to the questions proposed. 
He should be able to give, in a clear and concise man- 
ner, the reason for every step in the process he takes 
to obtain them. It is this which constitutes the value 
of this branch as a discipline for the mind. 

I may never forget my first introduction to this work. 
On entering an academy as a student, in 1827, after I 
had "ciphered through" some four or five arithmetics 

on the old plan, my teacher asked me if I had ever . 

»— — > J „ . 

* ProfL Dayies* Inteilectaal Arithmetic was not pablished at this time. — Pub. 


Desirable result.— Principles above rules. 

Studied Mental Arithmetic, extending to me the little 
book ?ibove named. ** No, sir." " Perhaps you would 
like to do so." I opened to the first page, and saw 
this question : " How many thumbs have you on your 
right hand ?" This was enough ; the color came into 
my face and I pettishly replied, " I think I can find 
out the number of my thumbs without studying a book 
for it." " But," said the teacher, " many of our young 
men have studied it and they think they have been 
profited. If you will take it, and turn over till you 
find a little exercise for your mind, I think you will 
like it." His manner was open and sincere, and I 
took the little book. In three weeks I had mastered 
it ; and I had gained, in that time, more knowledge of 
the principles of arithmetic than I had ever acquired 
in all my life before. I no longer "saw through a 
glass xiarkly." 

7. Written Arithmetic. This everybody de- 
mands of the teacher; and he is scarcely in danger 
of being without fair pretensions in this branch. He 
should, however, know it by its principles, rather than 
by its rules and facts. He should so understand it, 
that if every arithmetic in the world should be burned, 
he could still make another, constructing its rules and 
explaining their principles. He should understand 
arithmetic so well, that he could teach it thoroughly 
though all text-books should be excluded from his 
Bchool-room. This is not demanding too much. Arith- 
metic is a certain science, and used every day of one's 
life» — the teacher should be an entire master of it. 

OF •a*HE tbacher.. 65 

Bigotry in grammar.—Caiise of it— One book. 

8. English Grammar. It is rare that a teacher it 
found without some pretensions to English Grammar ; 
yet it is deplorable to observe how very few have any 
Uberal or philosophical acquaintance with it. In many 
cases it is little else than a system of barren technical- 
ities. The teacher studies one book, and too often 
takes that as his creed. In no science is it more 
necessary to he acquainted with several authors. The 
person who has studied but one text-book on grammar, 
even if that be the best one extant, . is but poorly 
qualified to teach this branch. There is a philosophy 
of language which the teacher should carefully study , 
and if within his power, he should have some ac- 
quaintance with the peculiar structure of other lan- 
guages besides his own. It can hardly be expected 
that the common teacher should acquire an accurate 
knowledge of other languages by actually studying 
them. As a substitute for this, I would recommend 
that the teacher should very carefully read the little 
work of De Sacy on General Grammar, also the 
article " Grammar" in the Edinburgh and other ency- 
clopaedias. In this science the mind naturally runs to 
bigotry ; and there is no science where the learner it 
apt to be so conceited upon small acquirements as in 
grammar. Let the teacher spare no pains to master 
this subject. 

9. Algebra. This branch is not yet required to be 
taught in all our schools ; yet the teacher should have a 
thorough acquaintance with it. Even if he is never 
called upon to teach it, (and it never should be intro- 


A Igebra.--(Jeometry.— Surveying.— Natural Philosophy. 

duced into our common schools till very thorough 
attainments are more common in the other branches,) 
still it so much improves the mind of the teacher, that 
he should not be without a knowledge of it. He 
will teach simple arithmetic much better for knowing 
algebra. I consider an acquaintance with it indispen- 
sable to the thorough teacheir, even of the common 

10. Geometry. The same may be said of this 
branch that has been said of algebra. Probably 
nothing disciplines the mind more effectually than the 
study of geometry. The teacher should pursue it for 
this reason. He will teach other things the belter for 
having had this discipline, to say nothing of the ad- 
vantage which a knowledge of the principles of geom- 
etry will give him, in understanding and explaining the 
branches of mathematics. 

11. Plane Trigonometry and Surveying. In 
many of our schools these branches are required to be 
taught. They are important branches in themselves, 
and they also afford good exercise for the mind in 
their acquisition. The young teacher, especially the 
male teacher, should make the acquirement. 

12. Natural Philosophy. This branch is not 
taught in most of our district schools. The teacher, 
howeve%, should understand it better than it is presented 
in many of the simple text-books on this subject. He 
should have studied the philosophy of its principles, 
and be fully acquainted with their demonstration. If 
possible, he should have had an opportunity also of 


Chemistry. — Physiology.—ItB importance. 

seeing the principles illustrated by experiment This 
is a great field ; let not the teacher be satisfied with 
cropping a little of the herbage about its borders. 

13. Chemistry. As a matter of intelligencei the- 
teacher should have acquaintance with this branch. It 
is comparatively a new science, but it is almost a 
science of miracles. It is beginning to be taugh 
in our common schools; and that department of it 
which relates to agriculture, is destined to be of vast 
importance to the agricultural interests of our country. 
'* Instead of conjecture, and hazard, and doubt, and 
experiment, as heretofore, a knowledge of the com- 
position of soils, the food of plants, and the processes 
of nature in the culture and growth of crops, would 
elevate agriculture to a conspicuous rank among the 
exact sciences."* The teacher should not be behind 
the age in this department. 

14. Human Physiology. The teacher should well 
understand this subject. There is an unpardonable 
ignorance in the community as to the structure of ihe 
human body, and the laws of health, the observance 
of which is, in general, a condition of longevity, not tc 
say of exemption from disease. By reference to sta- 
tistics, it has been ascertained that almost a fourth part 
of all the children that are born, die before they are 
one year old. Moie than one third die before they are 
five years of age ; and before the age of eight, more 
than one half of all that are born return again to the 

* CoL Yoimg. 


Dr. Woodward's opinion.— <iuackery. 

earth ! Of those who survive, how many suffer the 
miseries of lingering disease, almost sighing for death 
to deliver them from the pangs of* life! There is 
something deplorably wrong in our philosophy of living, 
else the condition of man would not so commonly ap- 
pear an exception to the truth that God does all things 
well.* Dr. Woodward, late of the Massachusetts 
State Lunatic Hospital, says : " From the cradle to the 
grave, we suffer punishment for the violation of the 
laws of health and life. I have no doubt that Jialf the 
evils of life, and half the deaths that occur among 
mankind, arise from ignorance of these natural laws ; 
and that a thorough knowledge of them would diminish 
the sufferings incident to our present state of being in 
very nearly the same proportion." I know not how an 
acquaintance with these laws can be in any way so 
readily extended as through the agency of our teachers 
of the young. At any rate, the teacher himself should 
understand them, both for his own profit and the 
means thus afforded him of being directly useful in 
the discharge of his duties to others. I have already 

* ** It is tiie vast field of ignorance pertaining to these snt^ects, in which 
quackery thriyes and fattens. No one who knows any thing of the organs 
and functions of tlie human system, and of the properties of those ol^ects 
in nature to which that system is related, can hear a quack descant upon 
the miracaloos virtues of his nostrums, or can read his advertisements 
in the newspapers,— wherein, fraudulently towards man and impiously 
towards God, he promises to sell an ' Elixir of Life,' or * The Balm of 
Inunortallty,' or * Resurrection Pills,'— without contempt for his ignorance 
or detestation of his guilt. Could the quack administer his nostrums to the 
great enemy, Death, then indeed W€ might expect to live forever I"— 
UoRACE Mann. 


Intelleetiial and Moral Philosophy .—Rhetoric and Logic 

shown that he is responsible to a great extent for the 
bodily health of his pupils. A thorough knowledge of 
physiology will enable him to meet this responsibility 

15. Intellectual Philosophy. This is necessary 
for the teacher. His business is with the mind. He, 
of all men, should know something of its laws and its 
nature. He can know something, indeed, by obser- 
vation and introspection ; but he should also learn by 
careful study. His own improvement demands it, and 
his usefulness depends upon it. 

16. Moral Philosophy. A knowledge of this may 
be insisted on for the same reasons which apply to 
intellectual philosophy. It is so important that the 
moral nature of the child be rightly dealt with, that he 
is a presumptuous man who attempts the work without 
the most careful attention to this subject. 

17. Rhetoric and Logic These are of great 
service to the teacher personally, as means of mental 
discipline and the cultivation of his own taste. Even 
if he is never to teach them, they will afford him much 
assistance in other departments of instruction. He 
certainly should have the advantage of them. 

18. Book-keeping. Every teacher should know 
something of book-keeping, at least by single entry ; 
and also be conversant with the ordinary forms of 
business. The profound ignorance on this subject 
among teachers is truly astonishing.* Book-keeping 

* A teacher, who had kept a private Bchool, was met in a country store 
oue day by one of his patrons, who paid him for the tuition of his child, 
addng at the same time for a receipt The teacher stared vacantly at hii 


Book-keeping.— Anecdote.— ^ienoe of Government. 

^.^1^— — ^1— ■,,--■— I ■ ■ ■ ■ ■■-■■■■ ■,■■. — — -.■■ ■Ill ^1^1 

should be a common-school study. In looking over 
the able Report of the Superintendent oft Common 
Schools in New-York, I notice in fifty-three counties, 
during the winter of 1845-6, that among 225,540 
pupils in the common schools only 922 studied book 
keeping ! That is, a study, which in practx;al life 
comes home to the interest not only of every mer 
chant, but of every farmer, every mechanic, in short, 
every business . man, is almost entirely neglected in 
the schools, — while it is yet true that our courts of 
justice display evidences of the most deplorable igno- 
rance in this important art. Some still keep their 
accounts on bits of paper; others use books, but 
without any system, order, or intelligibility ; and others 
still mark their scores in chalk, or charcoal, upon the 
panel of the cellar-door ! 

The teacher should quahfy himself not only tc 
understand this subject, but to teach it in such a way 
that it can be easily comprehended by the classes in 
our common schools. 

19. Science OF Government. The teacher should, 
at least, be well acquainted with the history and genius 
of our own government, the constitution of the United 
States, and of his own state. In a republican govern- 
ment, it is of great importance that the young, who are 

patron. '* Just give me a bit of paper," said the patron, " to show ]rcn 're 
fot ttie money.'* ** Oh, yes, sir," said tlie teacher ; and taking a pen and 
paper, wrote the following : 

" S^ I have got the money. 

J D ^.•» 


Aii6odote.--Dnwmg.— Vocal Muac 

to take an active part in public measures as soon as 
they arrive at the age of twenty-one, should before that 
time be made acquainted with some of their duties and 
relations as citizens. This subject has been introduced 
successfully into many of our common schools ; but 
whether it is to be ^natter of formal teaching or not, 
it is a disgrace* to a teacher and to his profession, 
to be ignorant of the provisions of the constitution for 
the mode of choosing our rulers. 

20. Draw;ino. The good teacher should understand 
the principles of drawing. He should also be able to 
practise this art. It is of great consequence to him. 
Without neglect of other things, children can be very 
profitably taught this art in the common schools. In 
the absence of apparatus, it is the teacher's only way 
of addressing the eye of his pupils, in illustrating 
his teaching. Every teacher should take pains, not 
only to draw, but to draw well. 

21. Vocal Music. It is not absolutely essential, 
though very desirable, to the good teacher, that he 
should understand music, theoretically and practically. 
Music is becoming an exercise in our best schools; 
and wherever introduced and judiciously conducted, H 
has been attended with pleasing results. It promotes 

* Not long since a teacher of a public school afforded lasting amusement 
for the hangers-on at a coantry grocery. He was jeered for belonging to 
the whig party by which Mr. Tyler was I rought into power. " No, no," 
said he, '* I voted for Gen. Harrison, but I never voted Jor John Tyler. '* 
" How did you do thatr* inquired a by-rtander. " Why Icui Tyler's 
name off" of the ticket, to be sure !" 



Safety valve.— Martin Luther.— RemarkB. 

good reading and speaking, by disciplining the ear to 
distinguish sounds : and it also facilitates the cultiva- 
tion ot the finer feelings of .Qiir nature. It aids very 
much in the government of the schooi, as its exercise 
gives vent to that restlessness which otherwise would 
find an escapement in boisterous nAse and whispering, 
— and thus it often proves a safety valve, through 
which a love of vocifefation and activity may pass off 
in a more harmless and a more pleasing way. " The 
schoolmaster that cannot sing,*' says Martin Luther, ** I 
would not look upon.'* Perhaps this language is too 
strong ; but it is usually more pleasant to look upon a 
school where the schoolmaster can sing. 

I have thus gone through with a list of studies which, 
it seems to me, every one who means to be a good 
teacher, even of a common school, should make himself 
acquainted with. I would not condemn a teacher who, 
having other good qualities, and a thorough scholarship 
as far as he has gone, might lack several of the 
branches above named. There have been many good 
teachers without all this attainment; but how much 
better they might have been with it ! 

I. have made this course of study as limited as 1 
possibly could, taking into view the present condition 
and wants of our schools. No doubt even more will 
be demanded in a lew years. I would have the present 
race of teachers so good, that they shall be looked 


Geueral knowledge dcairablf .~A miggrgtioo. 

upon by those who succeed them as their ** worthy and 
efficient predecessors.^* 

I ought in this place to add that the teacher increases 
his influence, and consequently his usefulness, in pro 
portion as he makes himself conversant with general 
knowledge. This is too much neglected. The teacher, 
by the fatigue of his employment and the circumstances 
of his life, is strongly tempted to content himself with 
what he already knows, or at best to confine himself to 
the study of those branches which he is called upon to 
teach. He should stoutly resist this temptation. He 
should always have some course of study marked out, 
which he will systematically pursue. He should, as 
soon as possible, make himself acquainted generally 
with the subject of astronomy, the principles of 
geology, in short, the various branches of natural 
history. He will find one field after another open 
before him, and if he will but have the perseverance 
to press forward, even in the laborious occupation of 
teaching, he may make himself a well-informed man. 
I will venture one other suggestion. I have found 
a most profitable thing in the promotion of my own 
improvement, to take up annually, or oftener, some 
particular subject to be pursued with reference to 
writing an extended lecture upon it. This gives point 
to the course of reading, and keeps the interest fixed. 
When the thorough investigation has been made, let 
the lecture be written from memory, embodying all the 
prominent points, and presenting them in the most 
striking and systematic manner. It should be done, 


A point gained. 

too, wilh reference to accuracy and even elegance of 
style, so that the composition may be yearly improved. 
In this way certain subjects are forever ^ed in the 
mind. One who carefully reads for a definite object, 
and afterwards writes the results from memory, nevei 
loses his hold upon the facts thus appropriated 


The true ideal.— niivCntioii. 



Evert teacher, before he begins the work of in* 

struction, should have some definite idea of what 

constitutes an education ; otherwise he may work to 

very little purpose. The painter, who would execute 

a beautiful picture, must have beforehand a true and 

clear conception of beauty in his own mind. The 

same may be said of the sculptor. That rude block of 

marble, unsightly to the eyes of other men, contains the 

godHke form, the symmetrical proportion, the life-like 

attitude of the finished and polished statue ; and the 

whole is as clear to his mental eye before the chisel is 

applied as it is to his bodily vision when the work is 

completed. With this perfect ideal in the mind at the 

outset, every stroke of the chisel has its object. Not 

a blow is struck, but it is guided by consummate skill ; 

not a chip is removed, but to develop the ideal of the 

artist. And when the late unsightly marble, as if by 

miraculous power, stands out before the astonished 

spectator in all the perfection of beauty, — ^when it 

almost breathes and speaks, — it is to the artist but the 

realization of his own conception. 

Now let the same astonished and delighted spectator, 



A spectator's efforts.— The difference. 

with the same instruments, attempt to produce another 
statue from a similar block. On this side he scores 
too deep ; on the other he leaves a protuberance ; here 
by carelessness he encroaches upon the rounded hmb; 
there by accident he hews a chip from off the nose ; 
by want of skill one eye ill-mates the other ; one hand 
is distorted as if racked by pangs of the gout; the other 
is paralyzed and deathlike. Such would be his signal 
failure. Thus he might fail a thousand times. Indeed 
t would be matter of strange surprise if in a thousand 
sfforts he should once succeed. 

Now the difference between the artist and the spec- 
tator lies chiefly in this, — ^ihe one knows beforehand 
what he means to do; the other works without any 
plan. The one has studied beauty till he can see it 
in the rugged block; the other only knows it when 
it is presented to him.' The former, having an ideal, 
produces it with unerring skill ; the latter, having no 
conception to guide him, brings out deformity. 

" What sculpture is to the block of marble,*' says 
Addison, " education is to the human soul ;" and may 
I not add, that the sculptor is a type of the true educa- 
tor, — while the spectator, of whom I have been speak- 
ing, may aptly represent too many false teachers who 
without study or forethought enter upon the delicate 
business of fashioning the human soul, blindly experi- 
menting amidst the wreck of their heaven-descended 
material, maiming and marring, with scarcely the pos- 
sibility of final success, — almost with the certainty of a 
melancholy failure ! 


BUndnen of employers.— Illustrated. 

In other things besides education men are wiser. 
They follow more the teachings of nature and of com- 
mon sense. But in education, where a child has but 
one opportunity for mental training, as he can be a 
child but once, — where success, unerring success, is 
every thing to him for time and eternity, and where 
a mistake may be most ruinous to him, — in education, 
men often forget their ordinary wisdom and providence, 
and commit the most important concerns to the most 
incompetent hands. ** The prevailing opinions," says 
Geo. B. Emerson, ^* in regard to this art are such as 
the common sense of mankind and the experience of 
centuries have shown to be absurd as to every other 
art and pursuit of civilized life. To be quaUfied to 
discourse upon our moral and religious duties, a man 
must be educated by years of study; to be able to 
administer to the body in disease, he must be educated 
by a careful examination of the body in health and in 
disease, and of the effects produced on it by extenial 
agents ; to be able to make out a conveyance of prop- 
erty, or to draw a writ, he must be educated ; to 
navigate a ship, he must be educated by years of 
service before the mast or on the quarter-deck ; to 
transfer the products of the earth or of art from the 
producer to the consumer, he must be educated ; to 
make a hat or a coat, he must be educated by years 
of apprenticeship ; to make a plow, he must be edu- 
cated ; to make a nail, or a shoe for a horse or an ox, 
he must be educated ; — but to prepare a man to do all 
these things; — to train the body in its most tendei 


— ' — ' — — -^ 
Many poor teachers.— Defects iii teachiug. 

^m^—im^-^^-^t 111 I I 

years, according to the laws of health so that it should 
be strong to resist disease ; to fill the nnind with useful 
knowledge, to educate it to comprehend all the relations 
of society, to bring out all its powers into full and 
harmonious action ; to educate the moral nature, in 
which the very sentiment of duty resides, that it may 
be fitted for an honorable and worthy fulfilment of the 
public and private offices of life ; to do all this is 
supposed to require no study, no apprenticeship, no 
preparation !" 

Many teachers, therefore, encouraged by this unac 
countable indifference in the community, have entered 
the teachers' profession without any idea of the respon- 
sibilities assumed or of the end to be secured by their 
labors, aside from receiving, at the close of their term, 
the compensation for their service in dollars and cents. 
And even many who have entered this profession with 
good intentions, have made the most deplorable mistakes 
from a want of an adequate idea of what constitutes an 
education. Too often has educating a child been con- 
sidered simply the act of imparting to it a certain 
amount of knowledge, or of " carrying it through " a 
ceitain number of studies, more or less. Education 
has too frequently been held to be a cultivation of the 
intellectual to the neglect of the moral powers ; and 
the poor body, too, except among savages, has had but 
little share in its privileges or benefits. In a very large 
number of our schools, the physical and the moral have 
both been sacrificed to the intellectual. Even some of 
our public speakers iiave dwelt upon the necessity of 


Knowledge may be unsafe.^A great question. 

intelligence to the perpetuity of our free institutions, 
scarcely seeming to be aware that intelligence, without 
moral principle to direct and regulate it, might become 
the very engine through which evil men might effect 
our overthrow. Who has not seen that an educated 
man without virtue is but the more capable of doing 
evil ? Who does not know that knowledge misdirected, 
becomes, instead of a boon to be desired, a bane to be 
deprecated ? 

From what has been said, I place it among thi> 
highest qualifications of the teacher that he should have 
just views of education, I consider it all-important that 
he should have a well-defined object at which to aim, 
whenever he meets a young mind in the transition state. 
He should have an ideal of a well-educated human 
soul, tenanting a healthy, well-developed human body; 
an ideal which he at once and syslematically labors 
to reach, as does the sculptor when he commences 
his work upon the quarried marble. ** What is it to 
educate a human being aright ?" should be one of the 
first questions the candidate for the teacher's office 
should ask himself with the deepest seriousness. I 
say the candidate ; for this question should be settled 
if possible before he begins his work. It is a great 
question, and he may not be able to answer it in a day. 
Let him consult the dictates of his own mind, — let him 
consult the teachings of experience and of wisdom, as 
they are to be found in the writings of Milton, Locke, 
Wyse, Cousin, Brougham, and others of the eastern 
continent, and of Wayland, Potter, Mann, G. B. £mer 


Results of inquiry.— Knowledge not undervalued. 

son, Dwight, and naany others of our own countrymen. 
Let him, enlightened by all this, carefully observe human 
nature around him ; consider its tendencies, its wants, 
and its capabilities ; and after a patient survey of all 
the truth he can discover upon the subject, let him 
come to an honest conclusion as to what is a correct 
answer to the query with which he started — " What is 
it to educate a human being aright ?" 

The conclusions of the honest and intelligent inquirer 
after the truth in this matter, will be something hke the 
following : — That education (from e and duco^ to lead 
forth) is development ; that it is not instruction merely — 
knowledge, facts, rules — communicated by the teacher , 
but it is discipline, it is a waking up of the mind, a 
growth of the mind, — growth by a healthy assimilation 
of wholesome aliment. It is an inspiring of the mind 
with a thirst for knowledge, growth, enlargement, — and 
then a disciplining of its powers so far that it can go on 
to educate itself. It is the arousing of the child's mind 
to think, without thinking for it ; it is the awakening of 
its powers to observe, to remember, to reflect, to com- 
bine. It is not a cultivation of the memory to the neg- 
lect of every thing else ; but it is a calling forth of all 
the faculties into harmonious action. If to possess 
facts simply is education, then an encyclopaedia is better 
educated than a man. 

It should be remarked that though knowledge is not 
education, yet there will be no education without know- 
ledge. Knowledge is ever an incident of true education 
No man can be properly educated without the ai> 


The body— the intellect— the heart,— Mr. Foi. 

quisition of knowledge ; the mistake is in considering 
knowledge the end when it is either the incident or the 
means of education. The discipline of the mind, then, 
is the great thing in intellectual training; and the 
question is not, how much baye I acquired? — but, 
how have my powers been strengthened in the act 
of acquisition \ 

Nor should the intellectual be earlier cultivated than 
the moral powers of the mind. The love of moral 
truth should be as early addressed as the love of 
knowledge. The conscience should be early exer- 
cised in judging of the character of the pupil's own 
acts, and every opportunity afforded to strengthen it by 
legitimate use. Nor should the powers of the mind be 
earlier cultivated than those of the body. It is the 
theory of some, indeed, that the body should engross 
most of the attention for several of the first years of 
childhood. This I think is not nature's plan. She 
cultivates all the powers at once, — the body, mind, and 
heart. So should the teacher do. *' Education," in tlie 
pertinent language of Mr. Fox,* *' has reference to the 
whole man^ the body, the mind, and the heart; its 
object, and, when rightly conducted, its effect is, to 
make him a complete creature after his kind. To i^is 
frame it would give vigor, activity, and beauty; to 
his senses, correctness and acuteness ; to his intellect, 
power and truthfulness; to his heart, virtue. The 
educated man is not the gladiator, nor the scholar, nor 

* Lecture before the Am. Imtitute, 1835. 


Egregious mistakes.—** Good scholars.**—** Poor scholan.*' 

the upright man, alone ; but a just and well-balanced 
combination of all three. Just as the educated tree is 
neither the large root, nor the giant branches, nor the 
rich foliage, but all of them together. If you would 
mark the perfect man, you must not look for him in the 
circus, the university, or the church, exclusively ; but 
you must look for one who has * mens sana in corpore 
sand' — a healthful mind in a healthful body. The being 
in whom you find this union, is the only one worthy to 
be called educated. To make all men such, is the 
object of education." 

I have dwelt thus fully on this subject, because it is 
BO obvious that egregious mistakes are made in edu- 
cation. How many there are who are called " good 
scholars" in our schools, of whom we hear nothing after 
they go forth into the world. Their good scholarship 
consists in that which gives them no impulse to go on 
to greater attainments by themselves. Their learning 
is either that of reception — as the sponge takes in watei 
— or that of mere memory. Their education is not 
discipline ; it kindles none of those desires which 
nothing but further progress can satisfy ; it imparts 
none of that self-reliance which nothing but impossibil- 
ities can ever subdue. While these are pointed out by 
their teachers as the ornaments of their schools, there 
are others, known as the heavy, dull, ** poor scholars," 
in no way distinguished but by their stupidity, — of 
whom no hopes are entertained because of them nothing 
is expected, — who in after-life fairly outstrip their fel- 
lows and strangely astonish their teachers. * Almost 


MiqiiidgiDeut of character.— Nature at fault ! 

every teacher of fifteen years' experience has noticed 
this. Now why is it so ? There must have been some- 
how in such cases a gross misjudgment of character. 
Either those pupils who promised so much by their 
quickness, were educated wrong, and perhaps educated 
too much, while their teachers unwittingly and unin- 
tentionally educated their less distinguished companions 
far more judiciously ; or else nature in such cases must 
be said to have been playing such odd pranks that 
legitimate causes could not produce their legitimate 
effects. We must charge nature as being extremely 
capricious, or we must allege that the teachers entirely 
misunderstood their work, failing where they expected 
most, and succeeding, as if by chance — almost against 
their will, where they, expected least I incline to the 
latter alternative ; and hence I infer that there is such 
a thing as teaching a mind naturally active too much 
— exciting it too much, — so that it will prematurely 
exhaust its energies and gladly settle back into almost 
imbecility; and that there is such a thing as leaving 
the mind so much to its own resources, that without 
dazzling the beholder like the flash of the meteor when 
it glares upon the startled vision, it may be silently 
gathering materials to support the more enduring light 
of the morning-star which anon will arise in majesty 
and glory. 

It will be well for our youth when our teachers shall 

so understand human nature, and so comprehend the 
science and the art of education, that these mistakes 
shall seldonri occur ; and when he who tills the nobler 


Certain lesultB. 

soil of the mind, shall, with as much faith and as much 
certainty as he who tills the literal field, rely upon the 
fulfilment of heaven's unchangeable law: '' Whatso* 
ever a man soweth that shall he also reap/' 


ApliMM to teach.— Not an inaUuct— It can be acquired. 



From what has been said of Education, it is yeiy 
obvious that it is no small thing to be a successful 
teacher. It is admitted by all that the teacher should 
be APT TO TEACH. He cannot be useful without this. 
He may have an unimpeachable character; he may 
have the most liberal and thorough literary acquire- 
ments ; he may deeply feel his responsibiUty, and yet 
after all he may fail to teach successfully. 

Aptness to teach has been said to be a native endow- 
ment, a sort of instinct, and therefore incapable of be- 
ing improved by experience or instruction, — an instinct 
such as that which guides the robin, though hatched in 
an oven, to build a perfect nest like that of its parent, 
without ever having seen one. I am of opinion that 
such instincts in men are rare ; but that aptness to 
teach, like aptness to do any thing else, is usually an 
acquired power, based upon a correct knowledge of 
what is to be done, and some accurate estimate of the 
fitness of the means used for the end. If there are 
exceptions to this, they are very uncommon ; and the 
safer way, therefore, for the majority of teachers, is, to 
•tudy carefully the rationale of their processes, and to 


A mistake—The way literary nunelings are made. 

rely.rather upon sound and philosophical principles in 
their teaching, than upon a very doubtful intuition. 

One of the most common errors into i^hich young 
teachers fall, (and some old ones too,) is that of mis- 
iudging of the degree of assistance which the young 
scholar needs in the pursuit Qf learning. There are a 
few who forget the difficulties which impeded their own 
perception of new truths when learners, and therefore 
have no sympathy with the perplexities which surround 
the children under their charge when they encounter 
like difficulties. They refuse to lend a helping hand, 
even where it is needed, and by making light of the 
child's doubts, perhaps sneering at his unsuccessful 
struggles, they dishearten him so far that imaginary 
obstacles become insurmountable, and he gives up in 
despair. But a far more numerous class tend toward 
the other extreme. From a mistaken kindness, or a 
mistaken estimate of the child's ability, or both, they are 
disposed to do quite too much for him, and thus they 
diminish his power to help himself. The child that is 
constantly dandled upon the lap of its nurse, and borne 
in her arms to whatever point it may desire to go, does 
not soon learn to walk ; and when it at length makes 
the attempt, it moves not with the firm tread of him 
who was early taught to use his own limbs. There is 
a great deal of literary dandling practised in our schools ; 
and as a consequence, a great many of our children are 
mere sickly nurselings, relying upon leading-strings 
while in the school, and falling, for very weakness, just 
as soon as the supporting hand is withdrawn. This 


Anecdote of folly.— Poi]riiig-iii.>-The " ond hobby." 

evil is SO common, and in some instances so mon- 
strous,* that I shall be pardoned if I dwell upon it 
a little more fully. 

In illustrating this subject, I must mention two 
processes of teaching, not indeed exactly opposite to 
each other, though widely different, — ^into one or both of 
which many of our teachers are very liable to fall. I 
shall, for the sake of a name, designate the former as 


This consists in lecturing to a class of children 
upon every subject which occurs to the teacher, it 
being his chief aim to bring before them as many facts 
in a limited time as possible. It is as if he should 
provide himself with a basket of sweetmeats, and 
every time he should come within reach of a child, 
should seize him, and compel him to swallow — regard- 
less of the condition of his stomach — whatever trash 
he should happen first to force into his mouth. Chil- 
dren are indeed fond of sweetmeats, but they do not 
like to have them administered, — and every physiol- 
ogist knows there is such a thing as eating enough 

* Not .ong since I visited a school, where the teacher with much self- 
complacency requested me to examine the writing of the children. It 
was indeed very fair. But when I drew from him the fact that he Aist 
wrote each page himself with a lead pencil, and only required his scholars 
to Hack his marks over with ink , and that with unremitting labor he did 
this week after week for all the writers in his school, I knew not which 
most to wonder at, the docility of the children or the weakness of the 
teacher Tho writing ceased to be wonderful. 


Yictims of kindnesB.— Passive recipient.— A jag. 

even of an agreeable thing to make one sick, and thus 
produce loathing forever after. Now many teachers 
are just such misguided caterers for the mind. They 
are ready to seize upon the victims of their kindness, 
force open their mental gullets, and pour in, without 
mercy and without discretion, whatever sweet thing 
they may have at hand, even though they surfeit and 
nauseate the poor sufferer. The mind, by this process, 
becomes a mere passive recipient^ taking in without 
much resistance whatever is presented till it is full. 

" A passive recipient !" said one to his friend, " what 
is a passive recipient V^ "A passive recipient," re- 
plied his friend, " is a two-gallon jug. It holds just 
two gallons, and as it is made of potters' ware, it can 
never hold but just two gallons." This is not an unfit 
illustration of what I mean by making the mind a 
passive recipient. Whenever the teacher does not 
first excite inquiry, first prepare the mind by waking 
it up to a desire to know, and if possible to find out 
by itself, but proceeds to think for tlie child, and to 
give him the results, before they are desired, or before 
they have been sought for,-^he makes the mind of the 
child a two-gallon jug^ into which he may pour just 
^t^;o gallons, but no more. And if day after day he 
should continue to pour in, day after day he may 
expect that what he pours in will all run over. The 
mind, so far as retention is concerned, will act like the 
jug ; that is, a part of what is poured in to-day, will 
be diluted by a part of that which is forced in to- 
morrowy and that again will be partially displaced and 


Mind weftkened.— Drawing-out.— Leading quefltiom. 

partially mingled with the next day's pouring, till at 
length there will be nothing characteristic left. But 
aside from retention, there is a great difference be- 
tween the jug and the mind. The former is inert 
material, and may be as good a jug after such use as 
before. But the mind suffers by every unsuccessful 
effort to retain. 

This process of lecturing children into imbecility is 
altogether too frequently practised ; and it is to be 
hoped, that intelligent, teachers will pause and inquiie 
before they pursue it further. 

The other process to which I wish to call attention, 
is that which, for the sake of distinguishing it from the 
first, I shall denominate the 


This consists in asking what the lawyers call lead' 
ing qnestions It is practised, usually, whenever the 
teacher desires to help along the pupil. " John," sajs 
the teacher when conducting a recitation in Long 
Division, ''John, what is the number to be divided 
called ?' John hesitates. " Is it the dividend ?" says 
the teacher. "Yes, sir — the dividend." " Well, John, 
what is that which is left after dividing called ? — ^the 
remainder — is it ?" " Yes, sir." A visitor now enters 
the room, and the teacher desires to show off John's 
talents. ''Well, John, of what denomination is the 
remainder ?" 


An example.— A spectator aatoiM8he<l.~Teachm g History ! 

John looks upon the floor. 

" Is n't it always the same as the dividend, John ?** 

" Yes, sir." 

" Very well, John," says the teacher, soothingly, 
** what denomination is this dividend ?" pointing to 
the work upon the board. " Dollars, is it not ?" 

" Yes, sir ;*dollars." 

" Very well ; now what is this remainder ?** 

John hesitates. 

" Why dollars too, isn't it ?" says the teacher. 

" Oh yes, sir, dollars r says John, energetically, 
while the teacher complacently looks at the visitor to 
see if he has noticed how correctly John has an- 
swered ! 

A class is called to be examined in History. They 
have committed the text-book to memory, that is, they 
have learned the words. They go on finely for a time. 
At length one hesitates. The teacher adroitly asks a 
question in the language of the text. Thus : '* Early 
in the morning, on the llth of September , what did 
the whole British army do ?" The pupil, thus timely 
reassured, proceeds : " Early in the mornings on the 
llth of September, the whole British army, drawn up 
»n two divisions, commenced the expected assault." 
Here again she pauses. The teacher proceeds to 
inquire : " V7ell, — * Agreeably to the plan of Howe, 
the right wing' did what ?" 

Pupil. " Agreeably to the plan of Howe, the right 
wing" — 

Teacher " The right wing, commanded by whom'*' 


A fmlher example.— Yei, air. 

Pupil. "Oh ! ^Agreeably to the plan of Howe^ the 
right wingy commanded by Knyphausen, made a feint 
of crossing the Brandywine at Chad's Ford,' " &c. 

This is a very common way of helping a dull pupil 
out of a difficulty ; and I have seen it done so adroitly, 
that a company of visitors would agree that it was 
wonderful to see how thoroughly the children had 
been instructed ! 

I may further illustrate this drawing-out process, by 
describing an occurrence, which, in company with a 
friend and fellow-laborer, I once witnessed. A teach 
er, whose school we visited, called upon the class in 
Colburn's First Lessons. They rose, and in single 
file marched to the usual place, with their books in 
hand, and stood erect. It was a very good-looking 

" Where do you begin ?" said the teacher, taking 
the book. 

Pupils, On the 80th page, 3rd question. 

Teacher, Read it, Charles. 

Charles. (Reads,) ** A man being asked .how 
many sheep he had, said that he had them in two 
pastures ; in one pasture he had eight ; that three- 
fourths of these were just one-third of what he had in 
the other. How many were there in the other ?" 

Teacher, WeL, Charles, you must first get one- 
fourth of eight, must you not ? 

Charles. Yes, sir. 

Teacher. Well, one-fourth of eight is two, isn't it? 

Charles. Yes, sir ; one-fourth of eight is two. 



Hard mental labor.— An interposition. 

TeacJier, Well, then, three-fourths will be three 
t?nies two, won't it ? 

Charles. Yes, sir. 

TeacJier. Well, three times two are six, eh ? 

Charles. Yes, sir. 

Teacher. Very well. (A pause.) Now the book 
Bays that this six is just one-third of what he had in the 
9ther pasture, don't it ? 

Charles. Yes, sir. 

Teacher. Then if six is one-third, three-thirds will 
be — three times six, won't it ? 

Charles. Yes, sir. 

Teacher. And three times six are— eighteen, ain't it? 

Charles. Yes, sir ! 

TeacJier. Then he had eighteen sheep in the other 
pasture, had he ? 

CJiarles. Yes, sir ! 

TeacJier. Next, take the next one. 

At this points I interposed, and asked the teacher if 
he would request Charles to go through it alone. 
" Oh, yes," said the teacher, " Charles, you may do it 
again." Charles again read the question, and — ^looked 
up. ** Well," said the teacher, " You must first get 
one-fourth of eight, mustn't you ?" "Yes, sir." "And 
one-fourth of eight is two, isn't it ?" " Yes, sir." 
And so the process went on as before till the final 
eighteen sheep were drawn out as before, The 
teacher now looked round, with an air which seemed 
to say, " Now I suppose you are satisfied." 

" ShiB I ad: C3»l68 to do it again ?" said I. The 


Prooea of extraction.— ^tudy discooraged. 

teacher assented. Charles again read the question, 
and again — ^looked up. I waited, and he waited;— 
but the teacher could not wait. " Why, Charles,*' 
said he, impatiently; **you want one-fourth of eight, 
don't you ?" " Yes, sir," said Charles, promptly ; and 
I thought best not to insist further at this time upon a 
repetition of " yes, sir,^^ and the class were allowed to 
proceed in their own way. 

This is, indeed, an extreme case, and yet it is but a 
fair sample of that teacher's method of stupefying mind. 
This habit of assisting the pupil to some extent, is, 
however, a very common one, and as deleterious to 
mind as it is common. The teacher should at once 
abandon this practice, and require the scholar to do the 
talking at recitation. I need hardly suggest that such 
a course of extraction at recitation, aside from the 
waste of time by both parties, and the waste of 
strength by the teacher, has a direct tendency to make 
the scholar miserably superficial. For why should he 
study, if he knows from constant experience that the 
teacher, by a leading question, will relieve him from 
all embarrassment ? It has often been remarked, tha 
" the teacher makes the school." Perhaps in no way 
can he more effectually make an inefficient school, 
than by this drawing-out pi'ocess. 

I look upon the two processes just described, as 
very prominent and prevalent faults in our modem 
teaching ; and if by describing them thus fully, I shall 
induce any to set a guard upon their practice in this 
particular, I shat feel amply rewarded. 


Helping the pupil. — Dangerous when excessive. 


It is always a very difficult question for the teacher 
to settle, ^' How far shall I help the pupil, and how far 
shall the pupil be required to help himself?" The 
teaching of nature would seem to indicate that the 
pupil should be taught mainly to depend on his own 
resources. This, too, I think is the teaching of 
common sense. Whatever is learned should be so 
thoroughly learned, that the next and higher step 
may be comparatively easy. And the teacher should 
always inquire, when he is about to dismiss one sub- 
ject, whether the class understand it so well that they 
can go on to the next. He may, indeed, sometimes 
give a word of suggestion during the preparation of a 
lesson, and, by a seasonable hint, save the scholar the 
needless loss of much time. But it is a very great evil 
if the pupils acquire the habit of running to the teacher 
as soon as a slight difficulty presents itself, to request 
him to remove it. ^Some teachers, when this happens, 
will send the scholar to his seat with a reproof perhaps, 
while others, with a mistaken kindness, will answer the 
question or solve the problem themselves, as the short 
est way to get rid of it. Both these courses are, in 
general, wrong. The inquirer should never be frowned 
upon ; this may discourage him. He should not be 
relieved from labor, as this will diminish his self 
reliance without enlightening hin ; for whatever is 
done for a scholar without his having studied closely 


The trae mediam.— ** Not to-day, air." 

upon it himself, makes but a feeble impression upon 
him, atid is soon forgotten. The true way is, neither 
to discourage inquiry nor answer the question. Con- 
verse with the scholar a little as to the principles 
inrolved in the question ; refer him to principles 
which he has before learned, or has now lost sight 
of ; perhaps call his attention to some rule or expla- 
nation before given to the class ; go just so far as to 
enlighten him a little, and put him on the scenty then 
leave him to achieve the victory himself. There is a 
great satisfaction in discovering a difficult thing for 
one's self, — and the teacher does the scholar a lasting 
injury who takes this pleasure from him. The teacher 
should be simply suggestive, but should never take the 
glory of a victory from the scholar by doing his work 
for him, at least, not until he has given it a thorough 
trial himself. 

The skill of the teacher, then, will be best manifested, 
if he can contrive to awaken such a spirit in the pupil, 
that he shall be very unwilling to be assisted ; if he can 
kindle up such a zeal, that the pupil will prefer to try 
again and again before be will consent that the teacher 
shall interpose. I shall neter forget a class of boys, 
some fourteen or fifteen years of age, who in the study 
of algebra had imbibed this spirit. A difficult question 
had been before the class a day or two, when I sug- 
gested giving them some assistance. " Not to-day^ sir,^^ 
was the spontaneous exclamation of nearly every one. 
Nor shall I forget the expression that beamed from the 
countenance of one of them, when, elated with his 



I've got it I"-Other than book-studies. 

success, he forgot the proprieties of the school and 
audibly exclaimed, " Fve got it ! Fve got it /" It was 
a great day for him ; he felt, as he never before had 
felt, his own might. Nor was it less gratifying to me 
to find that his fellows were still unwilling to know his 
method of solution. The next day a large number 
brought a solution of their own, each showing evidence 
of originality. A class that has once attained to a feeling 
like this, will go on to educate themselves, when they 
shall have left the school and the living teacher. 

As to the communication of knowledge, aside from 
that immediately connected with school-studies, there 
IS a more excellent way than that of pouring it in by 
the process already described. It is but just that I 
should give a specimen of the method of doing this. I 
shall now proceed to do so, under the head of 


The teacher of any experience knows, that if he will 
excite a deep and profitable interest in his school, he 
must teach many things besides book-studies. In our 
common schools, there will always be a company of 
small children, who, not yet having learned to read 
understandingly, will have no means of interesting 
themselves, and must depend mainly upon the teacher 
for the interest they take in the school. This to them 
is perhaps the most critical period cf their lives. What 
ever impression is now made upon them will be endu- 
nng. If there they become disgusted with the dullness 


Repulsiveneas. — General ezoFcide. — A apecimen. 

and confinement of school, and associate the idea of 
pain and repulsiveness with that of learning, who can 
describe the injury done to their minds ? If, on the otiier 
hand, the teacher is really skillful, and excites in them 
a spirit of inquiry, and leads them in suitable ways to 
observe, to think, and to feel that the school is a happy 
place even for children, it is^ one great point gained. 

I may suggest here, then, that it would be well to 
vet apart a few minutes once a day for a general exer^ 
dse in the school, when it should be required of all to 
lay by their studies, assume an erect attitude, and give 
their undivided attention to whatever the teacher may 
bring before them. Such a course would have its 
physiological advantages. It would relieve the minds 
of all for a few minutes. The erect attitude is a health- 
ful one. It would also serve as a short respite from 
duty, and thus refresh the older scholars for study. I 
may further add, that, for the benefit of these small 
children, every general exercise should be conducted 
with reference to them, and such topics should be 
introduced as they can understand. 

It is the purpose of the following remarks to give a 
specimen of the manner of conducting such exercises, 
for a few days, with reference to waking up mind in the 
school and also in the district. 

Let us suppose that the teacher has promised that 
on the next day, at ten minutes past ten o'clock, he shall 
request the whole school to give their attention five 
minutes, while he shall bring something there to which 
he shall call the attention, especially of the little boys 


A faced time.— Preparation.— Ear of com. 

and girls under seven years of age. This very an- 
nouncement will excite an interest both in school and 
at home ;^and when the children come in the morning, 
they will be more wakeful than usual till the fixed time 
arrives. It is very important that this time should be 
fixed, and that the utmost punctuality should be ob- 
served, both as to the beginning and ending of the 
exercise at the precise time. 

The teacher, it should be supposed, has not made 
such an announcement without considering what he 
can do when the time arrives. He should have a well- 
digested plan of operation, and one which he knows 
beforehand that he can successfully execute. 

Let us suppose that in preparing for this exercise he 
looks about him to find some object which he can make 
his text ; and that he finds upon his study-table an ear 
of com. He thinks carefully what he can do with it, 
and then with a smile of satisfaction he puts it in his 
pocket for the * general exercise.' 

In the morning he goes through the accustomed 
duties of the first hour, perhaps more cheerfully than 
usual, because he finds there is more of animation and 
wakefulness in the school. At the precise time, he 
gives the signal agreed upon, and all the pupils drop 
their studies and sit erect. When there is perfect 
silence and strict attention by all, he takes from his 
pocket the ear of corn, and in silence holds it up before 
the school. The children smile, for it is a familial 
object ; and they probably did not suspect they were 
to he fed with corn. 


Teacher's addreH to the children.— Their oiuwem. 

Teacher. '' Now, children," addressing himself to 
the youngest, " I am going to ask you only one question 
to-day about this ear of com. . If you can answer it 1 
shall be very glad ; if the little boys and girls upon the 
front seat cannot g've the answer, I will let those in 
the next seat try ; and so on till all have tried, unless 
our time should expire before the right answer is given. 
I shall not be surprised if none of you give the answer 
I am thinking of. As soon as I ask the question, those 
who are under seven years old, that think they can give 
an answer, may raise their hand. What is this ear 


Several of the children raise their hands, and the 
teacher points to one after another in order, and they 
rise and give their answers. 

Mary. It is to feed the geese with. 

John. Yes, and the hens too, and the pigs. 

Sarah. My father gives com to the cows. 

By this time the hands of the youngest scholars are 
all down, for having been taken a little by surprise, 
tiieir knowledge is exhausted. So the teacher says 
that those between seven and ten years of age may 
raise their hands. Several instantly appear. The 
teacher again indicates, by pointing, those who may 
give the answer. 

Charles. My father gives com to the horses when 
tlie oats .are all gone. 

Daniel. We give it to tlie oxen and cows, and we 
fat the hogs upon com. 

Laura. It is good to eat. They shell it fiom the 


Closing at the time.— Hear no more till to-monow. 

cobs and send it to mill, and it is ground into meal. 
They make bread of the meal, and we eat it. 

This last pupil has looked a little further into domes- 
tic economy than those who answered before her. But 
by this time, perhaps before, the five minutes have been 
nearly expended, and yet several hands are up, and the 
faces of several are beaming with eagerness to tell their 
thoughts. Let the teacher then say, " We will have no 
more answers to-day. You may think of this matter 
till to-morrow, and then I will let you try again. I am 
sorry to tell you that none of you have mentioned the 
use I was thinking of, though I confess I expected 
it every minute. I shall not be surprised if no one 
of you give this answer to-morrow. I shall now put 
the ear of com in my desk, and no one of you must 
speak to me about it till to-morrow. You may now 
take your studies ** 

The children now breathe more freely, while the 
older ones take their studies, and the next class is 
called. In order to success, it is absolutely necessary 
that the teacher should positively refuse to hold any 
conversation with the children on the subject till the 
next time for ^ general exercise.' 

During the remainder of the forenoon the teacher 
will very likely observe some signs of thoughtfulness 
on the part of those little children who have been 
habitually dull before. And perhaps some child, eager 
to inlpart a new discovery, will seek an opportunity to 
make it known during the forenoon. ''Wait till to- 
morrow " should be the teachejr's only reply. 


Tlie chUdren go home.— They obBerve.—The y inqnin. 

Now let US follow these children as they are dis- 
missed while they bend their steps toward home. They 
cluster together in groups as they go down the hill, 
and they seem to be earnestly engaged in conversation. 

'^ I don't believe it has any other use/' says John. 

*^ Oh, yes, it has/' says Susan ; ** our teacher would 
not say so if it had not. Besides, did you not see what 
% knoi^ing look he had, when he drew up his brow and 
laid he guessed we couldn't find it out ?" 

" Well, I mean to ask my mother," says little Mary ; 
'* I guess she can tell." 

By-and-by as they pass a field of com, Samuel sees 
% squirrel running across the street, with both his cheeks 
distended with ^plunder J* 

At home, too, the ear of com is made the subject of 
conversation. " What is an ear of corn for, mother ?" 
Bays little Mary, as soon as they have taken a seat at 
the dinner-table. 

Mother. An ear of com, child? why, don't you 
know ? It is to feed the fowls, and the pigs, and the 
cattle ; and we make bread of it too 

Mary. Yes, we told all that, but the teacher says 
that is not all. 

Mother. The teacher ? 

Mary. Yes, ma'am, the teacher had an ear of com 
at school, and he asked us what it was for ; and after 
we had told him every thing we could think of, he said 
there was another thing still. Now I want to find out, 
Bo that Jean tell him. 

The consequence of this would be that the family, 


»■ i— — il— i^»^^»^»^ ■ I I I ■ I ■■■■■■■ ■ ■ I 1— — — ^— ^— ^MP»^M^^i^M^^i» 

Tlieir family become interested.— Second day. — Anecdote. 

■ ■ ^■^>— » 

father, mother, and older brothers and sisters, would 
resolve themselves into a committee of the whole on 
the ear of corn. The same, or something like this, 
would be true in other families in the district; and 
by the next morning, several children would have some 
thing further to communicate on the subject. The hour 
would this day be awaited with great in4,erest, and the 
first signal would produce perfect silence. 

The teacher now takes the ear of co. n from the desk, 
and displays it before the school ; and quite a numbei 
of hands are instantly raised as if eager to be the first 
to tell what other use they have discovered for it. 

The teacher now says pleasantly, " The use I am 
thinking of, you have all observed I have no doubt ; it 
is a very important use indeed ; but as it is a little out 
of the common course, I shall not be surprised if you 
cannot give it. However you may try." 

* It is good to boil !"* says Uttle Susan, almost spring* 
mg from the floor as she speaks. 

* The children themselves will be sure to find some new answers to such 
questions as the above. In giving in substance this lecture to a gathering 
of teachers in the Autumn of 1845, in one of the busy villages of New York, 
where also the pupils of oue of the district schools were present by invita- 
tion, I had described a process similar to that which has been dwelt upon 
above. I had given the supposed answers for the first day, and had described 
the children as pressing the question at home. When I had proceeded as 
far as to take up the ear of com the second day, and had spoken of the 
possibility that the true answer to the question might not be given, I turned 
almost instinctively to the class of children at my right, saying, ** Now 
what is the ear qf com for P* A little boy some six years of ago, who had 
swallowed every word, and whose face glowed as if there was not room 
enough for his soul within him, bounded upon his feet, and forgetting the 
publicity of the place, and the gravity of the chairman of tlie meetinc 


Older pupils intereeted.— The secret revealed. 

" And it is for squirrels to eat," says little Samuel. 
" I saw one cany away a whole mouthful yesterday 
from the cornfield." 

Others still mention other uses, which they have 
observed. They mention other animals which feed 
upon it, or other modes of cooking it. The older 
pupils begin to be interested, and they add to the list 
of uses named. Perhaps, however, none will name 
the one the teacher has in his own mind ; he should 
cordially welcome the answer if perchance it is given ; 
if none should give it, he may do as he thinks best 
about giving it himself on this occasion. Perhaps if 
there is time he may do so, — after the following manner. 

'' I have told you that the answer I was seeking was a 
very simple one ; it is something you have all observed, 
and you may be a little disappointed when I tell you. 
The use I have been thinking of for the ear of corn is 
this ;— // is to plant. It is for seedy to propagate that 
species of plant called corn." Here the children may 
look disappointed, as much as to say, ' we knew that 

The teacher continues : " And this is a very import- 
ant use for the corn ; for if for one year none should be 
planted, and all the ears that grew the year before 
should be consumed, we should have no more com. 
This, then, was the great primary design of the corn ; 
the other uses you have named were merely secondary. 

dapping his hands forcibly together, " It*8 to pop I" ho exclaimed em- 
phatically, very much to the amusement of the audience. His mind had 
been waked up. 


« » I.I I 

A new question.— Another.— Impart instruction. 

But I mean to make something more of my ear of 
com. My next question is : — Do other plants have 

S3EDS ?"• 

Here is a new field of inquiry. Many hands are. 
instantly raised ; but as the five minutes by this time 
have passed, leave them to answer at the next time. 

" Have other plants seeds 7" the children begin to 
inquire in their own minds, and each begins to think 
over a list of such plants as he is familiar with. When 
they are dismissed, they look on the way home at the 
plants by the roadside, and when they reach home, they 
run to the garden. At the table they inquire of their 
parents, or their brothers and sisters. 

At the next exercise, they will have more than they 
can tell in five minutes as the results of their own 
observation and research. When enough has been 
said by the children as to the plants which have seeds, 
the next question may be: Do all plants have 
SEEDS ? This question will lead to much inquiry at 
home wherever botany is not well understood. There 
are many who are n5t aware that all plants have seeds. 
Very likely the ferns (common brakes) will be noticed 
by the children themselves. They may also name 
several other plants which do not exhibit their apparatus 
for seed-bearing very conspicuously. This will prepare 
the way for the teacher to impart a little information. 
Nor is there any harm in his doing so, whenever he is 
satisfied that the mind has been suitably exercised. 

* Plant is here used in tie popular sense 


The recipient haa gained capacity.— The ehn.— A promiae. 

The mind is no longer a '* passive recipient ;" and he 
may be sure that by inquiry it has increased its capacity 
to contain^ and any fact which now answers inquiry, 
will be most carefully stored up. 

The next question may be : — Do trees have seeds? 
As the children next go out, their eyes are directed to 
the trees above them. The fruit-trees, the walnut, the 
oak, and perhaps the pipe will be selected as those 
which have seeds. They will, however, mention quite 
a number which do not, or which, they think, do not 
have seeds. Among these may be the elm, the birch, 
and the Lombardy poplar. After hearing their opin- 
ions, and the results of their observations, take one of 
their exceptions, as' the subject of the next question ; 
Does the Elm have seeds?* This will narrow tlieir 
inquiries down to a specific case, and every elm in the 
district will be inquired of as to its testimony on this 

If the children can any of them collect and s^ive the 
truth in the matter, so much the better; but .f they, 
after inquiring of their parents and their grandparents, 
as I have known a whole school to do, come back 
insisting that the elm has no seeds ; after hearing their 
reasons for their belief, and perhaps the opinions of 
their parents, you may promise to tell them something 
about it at the next exercise. This will again awaken 
expectation, not only among the children but among the 

* It IB a very common opinion in the country that the elm has no seeds 
I once knew a man who grew gray under the sliade of a large elm, and 
who innated that it never tx>re any seeds. 


A caution.— Example of teaching. 

parents. Ail will wish to know what you have to 
bring out. 

Great care should be taken not to throw any dispar- 
agement upon the opinions of parents. Perhaps after 
giving the signal for attention, you may proceed as 
follows : — 

"Has the elm-tree any seeds? Perhaps, children, 
you may recollect after the cold winter has passed 
away, that, along in the latter part of March or the first 
of April, we sometimes have a warm, sunny day. The 
birds perhaps appear and begin to sing a little, and as 
you look up to the elm, you notice that its buds seem 
to swell, and you think it is going to put out its leaves. 
Everybody says we are going to have an early spring. 
But after this the cold frosty nights and windy days 
come on again, and then you think the leaves cannot 
come out so early. Now, if you observe carefully, the 
leaves do not come out till about the 20th of May or 
perhaps the first of June. Did you ever see any thing 
like what I have described ?" 

" Yes, sir, we remember that." 

" Well, the next time you see the buds begin to open, 
just break off a twig of a good large tree, and you will 
find they are not the leaf-buds. But if you will watch 
them carefully for two or three weeks, you will find 
that each bud will put out some beautiful little flowers, 
brightly colored, and slightly fragrant. If you will still 
continue to watch them, you will find as the flowers 
fall off, that seed-vessels are formed, shaped very much 
like the parsnip seed. These will grow larger and 


Elm-iluflt.— A new queition. -Kemtlta. 

larger every day, and by-and-by th6y will turn brown, 
and look as if they were ripe. Just about tliis time 
the leaves will come out ; and soon after, these seeds, 
daring some windy day or night, will all fall off. The 
ground will be covered with thousands of them. Per 
haps you have seen this." 

" Yes, six," says John, "Grandpa calls that elm-dusty 

" Perhaps next year you can watch this, and ask 
your parents to examine it with you. But the five min- 
utes are ended." 

Now information thus communicated will never be 
forgotten. The mind, having been put upon the stretch, 
is no longer a passive recipient. 

The next question : — How are seeds bissemi- 
NATED ? — (of course explaining the term — " dissemi^ 

This will bring in a fund of information from the 

pupils. They will mention that the thistle seed flies^ 

and so does the seed of the milkweed ; that the burs 

of the burdock, and some other seeds are provided with 

hooks by which they attach themselves to the hair of 

animals or the clothing of men, and ride away to their 

resting-place, which may be a hundred miles off. Some 

fall into the water and sail away to another shore. 

Some, like the seed of the Touch-me-not, are thrown 

at a distance by the bursting of the elastic pericaqp ; 

others, as nuts and acorns, are carried by squirrels, 

and buried beneath the leaves. These facts would 

mostly be noticed by children, when once put upon 




Another.— ResuIt8.~Stin another.— Remarks. 

Next question, — Are plants propagated in any other 
way than by seeds ? 

This question would call their attention to the varioug 
means of natural and artificial propagation, by layers, 
by offsets, by suckers, by grafting, by inoculation or 
budding, &c. &c. 

Again, — Have any plants more ways than one of natu- 
ral propagation 1 Some have one way only, by seeds, 
as the annual plants ; some have two, — ^by seeds, and 
by roots, as the potato ; some have three, — as the tiger 
lily, by side-bulbs from the roots, by stalk-bulbsy and 
by the seeds. This can be extended indefinitely. 


Let it be remembered that the above has been given 
simply as a specimen of what could easily be done by 
an ingenious teacher, with as common a thing as an ear 
of corn for the text. Any other thing would answer as 
well. A chip, a tooth or a bone of an animal, a piece 
of iron, a feather, or any other object, could be made 
the text for adroitly bringing in the uses of wood, the 
food and habits of animals, the use and comparative 
value of metals, the covering of birds, their migration, 
the covering of animals, &c. &c. Let the teacher but 
think what department he will dwell upon, and then he 
can easily select his text ; and if he has any tact, he 
.can keep the children constantly upon inquiry and 

The advantage*! of the above course over simpl> 


— ^ 
Effects upon the childien.— Adyantages of obvervatioii. 

lecturing to them on certain subjects, that is, over the 
pouring-in process^ are many and great. Some of the 
most obvious I will briefly state. 

1. It immediately puts the minds of the children into 
a state of vigorous activity. They feel that they are no 
longex passive recipients. They are incited to discover 
and ascertain for themselves. They are, therefore, 
profitably employed both in and out of school, and as a 
consequence are more easily governed. A habit of 
observation is cultivated in them ; and what an advan- 
tage is this for a child ! It is' almost unnecessary to 
remark that many people go through the world with- 
out seeing half the objects which are brought within 
their reach. It would be the same to them if their 
eyes were half the time closed. If they travel through 
a country presenting the most beautiful scenery, or the 
most interesting geological features, they see nothing 
They grow up among all the wonders of God's works 
amid all the displays of his wisdom, of his design, to 
no purpose. They study none of the plans of nature ; 
and by all the millions of arrangements which God has 
made, to delight the eye, to gratify the taste, to excite 
the emotions of pleasure instead of pain, they are 
neither the happier nor the wiser. What a blessing, 
then, it is to a child, to put his mind upon inquiry ; to 
open his eyes to observe what his Creator intended his 
inteUigent creatures should behold, of his goodness, his 
wisdom, his power. And how far superior is he who 
teaches a child to see for himself, and to think for him- 
self to him who sees and thinks /or the child, and thus 


Parents benefited.—Take an interest in the schooK 

practically invites the pupil to close his own eyes and 
grope in darkness through the instructive journey of 

2. It is of great serviee to the parents in the district 
to have this waking-up process in operation. Our chil* 
dren are sometimes our best teachers. Parents are apt 
to grow rusty in their acquirements, and it is no doubt 
one of the designs of providence that the inquisitiveness 
of childhood should preserve them from sinking into 
mental inactivity. Who can hear the inquiries of his 
own child after knowledge, without a desire to supply 
his wants ? Now it is right for the teacher to use this 
instrumentality to wake up mind in his district. Parents, 
by the course I have recommended, very soon become 
interested in these daily questions of the teacher ; and 
they are often as eager to know what is the next ques^ 
turn as the children are to report it. This course, then, 
will supply profitable topics of conversation at the fire- 
side, and very likely will encourage also the pursuit of 
useful reading. It will moreover soon awaken a deeper 
interest in the school on the part of the parents. They 
will begin to inquire of one another as to this new 
measure ; and when -they find by conference that the 
feeling in this matter is becoming general, they will 
desire to visit the school to witness this as well as the 
other operations of the teacher. This will secure 
parental cooperation, and thus in every way the in- 
fluence of the school will be heightened. It is no 
small thing for a teacher to enlist the interest of his 
patrons in the success of his school ; and this is the most 


Teacher is improyed.— Hia temptations. 

happily done, when it is achieved through the medium 
of the pupils themselves. 

3. It wakes up the teacher's own mind. This is 
by no means the least important point to be gained. 
The teacher, by the very nature of his employment, 
by daily confinement in an unhealthy atmosphere, 
by teaching over and over again that vtrith which he 
18 quite familiar, by boarding with people who are 
inclined to be social, and by the fatigue and languor 
with which he finds himself oppressed every night, is 
strongly tempted to neglect his own improvement^^ 
There are but few who rise above this accumulation of 
impediments, and go on in spite of them to eminence 
in the profession. A large proportion of all who teach, 
rely upon the attainments with which they commence j 
and in the course of two or three years, finding them- 
selves behind the age, they abandon the employments 
This is very natural. Any man who treads in a beaten 
track, like a horse in a mill, must become weary, how- 
ever valuable the product may be which he grinds out. 
It is essential that he should keep his own interest 
awake by some exercise of his ingenuity, and that he 
should compel himself to be industrious by undertaking 
that which will absolutely demand study. The above 
process will do this ; and while he may have th& 
exquisite pleasure of seeing the growth of his pupils' 
minds, he may also have the higher satisfaction of 
feeling the growtli of his own. 

T must here add, that it has not been my intention 


Books not to be neglected.— Given only as a specimen. 

in what I have said, to inculcate the idea that the study 
of books should in the least degree be abated to make 
room for this process of waking up mind. The various 
branches are to be pursued and as diligently pursued as 
ever before. Tlie time to be set apart for this exercise 
should "be short, — never probably to exceed five min- 
utes. It is to come in when the scholars need rest for 
a moment, and when, if not employed about this, they 
would probably be doing nothing, or perhaps worse 
than nothing. It should be managed with care, and 
should never be made a hobby by teachers, as if it were 
of more importance than any thing else. One secret 
of success in this — as indeed in every thing — is, that it 
should not be continued too long at once. The pupils 
should be left " longing — not loathing." 

Let me again remind the reader that I have given the 
above as a specimen. The choice of the ear of com 
was merely accidental ; it happened to lie on my table 
when I wanted a text. The teacher should look upon 
this simply as a specimen, and then choose his own 
subjects. The main point aimed at is this : — Never ask 
leading questions which your scholars can hardly fail 
to answer; and never lecture to your pupils till you have 
somehow first kindled in them a living desire to know ; 
that is, avoid alike the " drawing-out" and the " pour- 
ing-in" process. Rather let it be your object to excite 
inquiry by a question they cannot answer without 
thought and observation, — and such a question as they 
would deem it disgraceful not to be able to answer 
This adroitly done is " waking up mind^ 


AptneBB to teaeh.~Difference in men ; in toachen. 



In considering a teacher's qualificalions, the power 
of exciting an interest in the recitations of his school 
may not be overlooked. No man can be successful for 
any length of time without this. This comprises what 
is usually implied by aptness to teach. All men 
have not this faculty by nature in an equal degree. 
Some may talk for an hour upon an interesting topic in 
the presence of children without commanding their 
attention ; while there are others who can take even a 
common-place subject and secure for any length of 
time an all-absorbing interest in every word. This 
diflFerence is seen in every grade of public speakers, 
and in all descriptions of writers ; but perhaps more 
strikingly than anywhere else it is observable among 
teachers. Enter one school, and you may notic^ that 
the scholars are dull and listless ; indifference sits un- 
disturbed upon their brows ; or perhaps they are driven 
by the activity of their own natures to some expedient 
to interest themselves, while the teacher is with very 
commendable spirit, laboriously — ^perhaps learnedly- 
explaining some principle or fact designed for their 
edification. The secret is, he has not 3'et learned to 


A contrast.— Not alwaya a natural gift. 

awaken their attention ; he fails to excite their inter 

Pass to another school. A breathless silence per- 
vades the room ; the countenances of the children, 
upturned towards the teacher, beam with delight. As 
he kindles into earnestness and eloquence, they kindle 
into responsive enthusiasm. Whenever his eye meets 
theirs, he sees — he feels the glow radiated by the fire 
be is lighting in their souls, and his own gathers new 
warmth and enthusiasm in return. Such a man is apt 
to teach ; and you could scarcely break the spell by 
which he holds his class, " though you should give 
them for playthings, shining fragments broken from ofT 
the sun." 

He who possesses this gift naturally, has very great 
advantage as a teacher to begin with. The ability to 
tell well what he knows, is of more consequence to the 
teacher, than the greatest attainments without the powei 
to communicate them. Combine high attainments with 
the ability to tell, and you have the accomplished 

But this power to communicate is not necessarily a 
natural gift ; it comes not always by intuition. It can 
be acquired. It is founded in philosophy; and hejvho 
can understand any thing of the workings of his own 
mind, who can revert to the mental processes he went 
through in order to comprehend a principle, who can 
go back to that state of mind he was in before he com- 
prehended it, and then by one step more can put him- 
self in the place of the child he is teaching, realizing 


^^I^KK^^^I^a^mt^K^'^^ftmi^^^^^^^a^^^^^^^^^^ Mill ^— n^Bi^^— .^M ■ ■■■■■■ I m^^-^^^^^i^^ i —^^M^^^^^—i ^^^^^w^^^— i^M^ 

How aoqaired.— Natural order.— Science of teaching. 

.exactly his perplexities and feeling his precise wants, 
can become the apt teacher. Those who fail in this 
are usually those who have forgotten the steps they 
took to acquire their own knowledg6, or perhaps who 
never noticed what steps they did take. 

Td* acquire this rare qualification should be the con- 
stant study of the teacher. To this end he should 
recall, as far as possible, the operations of his own 
mind in childhood. By studying his own mind, he 
learns, often most effectually, what he needs to know 
of others. Whenever he is preparing to teach any 
principle or fact to others, let him ask himself ques- 
tions like the following : — What was the dark point in 
this, when I studied it ? Where did my mind labor 
most? What point did my teacher fail to explain? 
Such questions will frequently suggest the very diffi- 
culty which perplexes every mind in the same process. 
Again, the following inquiries may be very useful : — 
In studying this, what was the first point which 
appeared clear to me ? After this, what was the 
second step, and how did that follow the first ? The 
next in order ? And the next ? Was this the natural 
order ? If not, what is the natural order ? The right 
answer's to these questions will suggest the course to 
be pursued in the instruction of a class. 

The teacher can scarcely ask a more important 
question than this: — What is the natural order of 
presenting a given subject 1 The ability to determine 
this, is what constitutes in a great degree the science of 
teaching. This inquiry should occupy much thought 


Thorough knowledge.— Its advantages to the teacher. 

because a mistake here is disastrous, and ever will be, 
as long as divine wisdom is superior to human. He 
who can ascertain the order of nature, will be most 
sure of exciting an interest in the subject he is endeav 
oring to teach. 

Some further suggestions as to conducting school 
recitations are contained in the following paragraphs. 

1. The teacher should thoroughly understand what 
he attempts to teach. It is destructive of all life in the 
exercise, if the teacher is constantly chained down to 
the text-book. I have no objection, indeed, that he 
should take his text-book with him to the class, and 
that he should occasionally refer to it to refresh his 
own memory, or to settle a doubt. But who does not 
know that a teacher who is perfectly familiar with 
what is to be taught, has ten times the vivacity of one 
who is obliged to follow the very letter of the book? 
His own enthusiasm glows in his countenance, sparkles 
in his eye, and leaps from his tongue. He watches 
the halting of the pupil, perceives his difficulty, devises 
his expedient for illustrating the dark point in some 
new way, and, at the proper moment, renders just the 
amount of assistance which the pupil needs. Not 
confined to the text, he has the use of his eyes ; and 
when he speaks or explains, he can accompany his 
remark with a quickening look of intelligence. In this 
way his class is enlivened. They respect him for his 
ready attainment, and they are fired with a desire to be 
his equal. 

How different is it with a teacher who knows nothing 


Printed que8tioi]8.--^pecuil prepaFotioQ. 

of the subject but what is contained in the text before 
him, and who knows that only as he reads it during 
the intervals occasioned by the hesitations of the class. 
Every question he proposes is printed at the bottom 
of the page ; and as soon as he reads the question, 
without a glance at the pupil, his eye sets out on a 
chase after the answer in the text. If the scholar 
has not already been stupified by such teaching, and 
happens to give an intelligent answer, yet not in the 
precise language of the book, he is set right by the 
teacher's reading the very words, — just so much de- 
tached from the sentence, as he fancies was intended 
to answer that one question ! In this way he dis- 
courages thought in his pupils, and sets a bounty 
on mechanical study. In this way, too, he congeals 
whatever of interest they bring with them to the reci- 
tation, and they sink into indifference, — or, following 
the instincts of their nature, they seek occupation 
in play or mischief, even under the sound of his 
voice ! 

2. The teacher should specially prepare himself for 
each lesson he assigns. This is naturally suggested by 
what has just been said. The teacher's memory needs 
to be refreshed. We all know how diflScult it would 
be to recite a lesson, in geometry for instance, weeks 
%fter studying it. It is so in other things. Now the 
;eacher should be so familiar with the lesson which he 
proposes to hear recited, that he could recite it himself 
fts perfectly as he would desire his scholars to do it 
This is seldom the case. I have heard a teacher, with 


The tables turned.— <>ominoii-place book.—Its lue. 

the text-book in his hands, complain of the dullness or 
inaccuracy of his classes, when, if the tables had been 
turned, and the pupils allowed to ask the questions, 
the teacher would scarcely have recited as well. And 
I may add, this is no very uncommon thing / If any 
one is startled at this assertion, let him request a 
friend, in whom he can confide, to ask him the ques- 
tions of a pMTticular lesson in geography, or history, or 
grammar. The teacher should daily study his class 
lessons. This will enable him the better to assign his 
lessons judiciously. In this daily study, he should 
master the text-book upon the subject ; and more than 
this, he should consider what collateral matter he can 
bring in to illustrate the lesson. He should draw upon 
the resources of his own mind, — upon the treasures of 
his common-place book* — upon the contents of some 

* It is an excellent plan for every teacher to keep a common-place book 
of considerable size, different portions of it being set apart for the differ- 
ent sul^jects upon which he* is to giye instruction. On the first twenty 
pages, ** Geography*' may be the head t-— the next twenty pages may be 
■et apart for " History,'*— twenty more may be assigned to " Reading,'*— 
and a like number to "ArithmeUc," "Grammar," "Spelling," "Wri- 
ting," &€., reserving quite a space for " Miscellaneous Matter." This 
would make a large book, but when it is remembered that it is to be used 
for several years, it is well to have it large enough to contain a large 
•mount of matter. Now, whenever the teacher hears a lecture on a peciH 
liar method of teaching either of these branches, let him note the promi- 
nent parts of it under the proper head, and especially the Uluatraiions, 
Wlientie reads or heara an anecdote Illustrating Geography, History, oi 
Grammar, let it be copied under the proper head. If it illustrates Geogra- 
phy, let the name qf the place stand at its head. When he visits a school, 
and listens to a new explanation or a new process, let him note it under 
Ut head. In this wray he may collect a thousand valuable things to \m 
with judgment in his school. 


Use of the eye.— Correct language. 

encyclopaedia, — upon any source, from whence he can 
obtain a supply of knowledge for his purpose. This 
will improve his own mind, and he will be encouraged, 
as from time to time he teaches the same branch, to 
find that he is able to do better than ever before, and 
that, instead of becoming weary with repetition, he is 
more and more enthusiastic in the subject. 

Going thus to his class — so full of the subject, that 
were the text-book annihilated, he could make another 
and better one — he will have no difficulty to secure 
attention. As he speaks, his eye accompanies his 
word, and as his pupils answer, he sees the expression 
of their countenances ; and what a world of meaning 
there is in this expression ! It betrays, better than 
words can do, the clearnesis or obscurity of the mind's 
perception, when a truth is presented. How different 
the beaming of the eye when the soul apprehends^ 
from that almost idiotic stare at vacuity when words 
are used without import. And how necessary it is 
that the teacher should be free to observe the inward 
workings of the soul as indicated upon the counte 
nance. • 

3. The teacher should be able to use our language 
fluently and correctly. In this many are deficient. 
They hesitate and stammer, and after all, express their 
ideas in vague terms, and perhaps by the use of in 
accurate or inelegant language. A teacher in no way 
gives so effectual instruction in grammar as by his own 
use of our language ; and there can be no sight more 
mortifying than that of a teacher labonng to fix in the 



Sums."— " Question.*'— Anecdote.— Animation. 

minds of his class some rule of syntax, when his own 
language at the very moment shows an entire disregard 
of the rule. It is very common to hear teachers talk 
of " sums" to their classes in arithmetic, and even t<» 
ask them to do " sums" in subtraction or division . 
The term "question** is often as improperly applied, 
when no question is asked. The teacher should be 
accurate in the use of terms. " Question" is some- 
times the proper word ; sometimes " problem," and 
sometimes ** exercise," or " example," may with more 
propriety be used ; but " sum** means the amount of 
several numbers when added, and it should not be 
applied as the name of an exercise. Some teachers 
use the terms ratio and proportion* interchangeably, 
as if they were synonyms. Such inaccuracies in the 
teacher will be sure to be reproduced in the school, 
and it is a great evil for the scholar to acquire a 
careless habit in the use of terms. 

4. He should have proper animation himself. Hor- 
ace Mann describes some of the Scotch teachers as 
working themselves up into a feverish excitement in 
the presence of their classes, and the classes in turn 
as literally bounding from the floor when they answer 
their hasty questions. Now, while I think these Scotch 

* We are reminded by this of the college student who was examined 
rather closely by his tutor. " What is ratio V* inquired the tutor. ** Ratio V* 
■aid the young man, " ratio is proportion." " Well, what is proportion!" 
''Proportion? proportion is ratio." "Well, then," said the tutor, looking 
perplexed, ** what are both together ?" " Elxcuse me," said the pupil, '* / 
can d^ne but one at a time /" 


Children imitatiTe.— Attitude.— The attention of the class. 

teachers go quite too far, I do think that many of our 
own teachers come short of a proper standard of ani- 
mation. A teacher should be ready, without being 
rapid ; animated, without being boisterous. Children 
are imitative beings ; and it is astonishing to observe 
how very soon they catch the manners of the teacher. 
If he is heavy and plodding in his movements, they 
will very soon be dull and drowsy in thdrs ; then, if 
he speaks in a sprightly tone, and moves about with 
an elastic step, they almost realize a resurrection from 
the dead. If he appears absent-minded, taking but 
little interest in the lesson which is recited, they will 
be as inattentive, at least, as he ; while, if all his 
looks and actions indicate that the subject is of some 
importance, he will gain their attention. Nor can I 
refrain in this place from suggesting to the teacher 
the importance of regarding his manners, while en- 
gaged in conducting a recitation. His attitude should 
not be one of indolence or coarseness, — and when he 
moves from his seat, and appears at the blackboard to 
illustrate any point, it should be done gracefully, and 
with a constant regard to the fact, that every look and 
every motion teaches. 

6. He should never proceed without the attention of 
the class. A loss of interest is sure to follow a want 
of attention. Besides, a habit of inattention, while it 
is very common, is also a great calamity to the person 
who falls into it during life. Many a sermon is lost 
upon a portion of the audience in our churches every 
Sabbath from this cause. When the attention is 


A routine.—" Books but helps."— Utility. 

aroused, the impression made is enduring; and one 
idea then communicated is worth a hundred at any 
other time. 

6. Avoid a formal routine in teaching. Children 
are very apt to imbibe the notion that they study in 
order to recite. They have but little idea of any pur- 
pose of acquirement beyond recitation; hence they 
study their text book as mere words. The teacher 
should, as soon as possible, lead them to study the sub- 
ject, using the book simply as an instrument. '* Books 
are but helps" — should become their motto. In order 
to bring this about, the instructor would do well occa 
sionally to leave entirely the order of the book, and 
question them on the topic they have studied. If they 
are pursuing arithmetic, for instance, and they have 
carefully prepared a definite number of problems, it 
might be well to test their ability by giving them at the 
recitation others of the teachers' own preparing, in- 
volving an application of what they have learned to the 
business of life. This will lead them to study intelli- 
gently. Besides, as soon as they begin to see how their 
knowledge is to be useful to them, they have a new 
motive to exertion. They should be so taught as to 
discover that grammar will improve their understanding 
and use of language ; that writing will prepare them 
for business, and by enabling them to communicate 
with their friends, will add to their enjoyment ; and so 
of reading and the other branches. 

7. Be careful to use language which is intelligible 
tp children, whenever an explanation is given. The 


Intelligible language.— An example quoted. 

object of an explanation is to elucidate, to make clearer. 
How is this object accomplished when the explanation 
is less intelligible than the thing explained 7 Suppose 
a child should ask her teacher to explain the cause of 
cold in winter and heat in summer ; in other words, the 
cause of the change of seasons. '' Oh, yes," says he, 
pleasantly. '' The annual revolution of the earth round 
the sun in connection with the obliquity of the ecliptic^ 
occasions the succession of the four seas6ns."* The 
child listens to these ** words of learned length," and is 
astonished at the learning of her teacher, but she has 
no clearer idea than before of the point she inquired 

Mr. S. R. Hall in his lectures gives the following 
forcible illustration of the same point. "Will you 
please to tell me why I carry one for every ten ?" said 
little Laura to her instructor. " Yes, my dear," said 
he, kindly. " It is because numbers increase from right 
to left in a decimal ratio." Laura sat and repeated it 
to herself two or three times, and then looked very sad. 
The master, as soon as he had answered, pursued his 
other business and did not notice her. But she was 
disappointed. She understood him no better than if he 
had used words of another language. " Decimal" and 
" ratio" were words that might have fallen on her ear 
before, but if so, she understood them none the bettei 
for it. She looked in the dictionary and was disap- 
pointed again, and after some time, put away her 

* Woieester's Geography. 



Honest confoasion,-— not mystification.— Example. 

arithmetic. When asked by her teacher why she did 
80, she replied, * I don't like to study it ; I can*t 
understand it ' " 

" Now the injury to little Laura was very great. She 
had commenced the study with interest ; she had learned 
to answer a great many questions in arithmetic and had 
been pleased. *She was now using a slate and writing 
her figures on it, and had found the direction to carry 
one for every ten. This she might have been made to 
understand. The master loved his scholars and wished 
to benefit them, h\ii forgot that terms perfectly plain to 
him would be unintelligible to the child. From that 
moment Laura disliked arithmetic, and every effort 
that could be used with her could not efface the im 
pression that it was a hard study, and she could not 
understand it." 

While upon this subject, I might urge that teachers 
should not resort to evasion when they are not able to 
explain. It is a much more honorable, and far more 
satisfactory course, for the teacher frankly to confess his 
inability to explain, than to indulge in some ridiculous 
mysticism to keep up the show of knowledge. I may 
never forget the passage I first made through the Rule 
of Three, and the manner in which my manifold per- 
plexities respecting "direct and inverse" proportion 
were solved. " Sir," said I, after puzzling a long time 
over * more requiring more and less requiring less' — 
" will you tell me why I sometimes multiply the second 
and third terms together and divide by the first — and at 
other times multiply the frst and second and divide by 


More requires more !— Accurate and prompt recitation. 

the third ?'* " Why, because more requires more some- 
times, and sometimes it requires less — ^to be sure. 
Haven't you read the rule, my boy T " Yes, sir, I can 
repeat the rule, but I don't understand it." " Why it 
is because * more requires more and less requires less !' '* 
" But why, sir, do I multiply as the rule says ?" "Why, 
because * more requires more and less requires less' — 
see, the rule says so J* " I know the rule says so, but 
I wished to understand why.^ — " Why ? why V* look- 
ing at me as if idiocy itself trembled before him — 
"why? — why because the ruZc 5ay5 50 ; dorit you see 
it ? — JIj^More requires more and less requires less /" 
— and in the midst of this inexplicable combination of 
more and less, I shrunk away to my seat blindly to 
follow the rule because it said so. Such teaching as 
this is enough to stultify the most inquiring mind ; and 
it is to secure the blessing of relief from such influence 
to the children of any particular district, that we come 
to consider an occasional change of teachers a mitigated 

8. Require prompt and accurate recitation. I know 
of nothing that will abate the interest of a class sooner 
than dull and dragging recitations. The temptation in 
such cases is very strong for the teacher to help the 
class by the " drawing-out process" before described. 
This, however, only makes the matter worse. The 
dull recitation calls for the teacher's aid ; and his aid 
reproduces the dull recitation. The only way is to stop 
at once, and refuse to proceed till the recitation can go 
aUm& It is just as easy to have good lessons as poor ; 


It saves time.— Simultaneous recitation.— Its evib. "^ 

and the teacher should have the energy to iifsist upon 
them. Mark the countenances of a cla&s as they go to 
their seats after a good recitation. They feel that they 
have done something, and they look as if they valued 
the teacher's approbation and their own so highly, that 
they will learn the next lesson still better. 

It is moreover a great saving of time, to have the 
lessons promptly recited. This saving will afford the 
opportunity to introduce those additional illustrations I 
have before suggested, in order to excite a still deeper 
interest. It may sometimes, though not always, be well 
to make a prompt and perfect recitation the condition 
of introducing the additional matter. 

9. Rely not too much upon simultaneous recitation. 
This has become quite too fashionable of late. It had 
its origin in the large schools established some years 
since, known as Lancasterian schools, and perhaps was 
well enough adapted to schools kept upon that plan in 
large cities. But when this mode of reciting is adopted 
in our district and country schools, where the circum- 
stances of large numbers' and extreme backwardness 
are wanting, it is entirely uncalled for, and like other 
city fashions transferred to the country, is really out 
of place. 

Seriously, I look upon this as one of the prominent 
fauhs in many of our schools. It destroys all indepen- 
dence in the pupil by taking away his individuality. 
He moves with the phalanx. Learning to rely on others, 
be becomes superficial in his lessons. He is tempted 
to indolence by a knowledge that his deficiencies will 


Sometimes allowable.~When? 

not Stand out by themselves ; and he comforts himself 
after a miserable recitation with the consoling reflection 
that he has been able to conceal his want of thorough- 
ness from his teacher. 

It may sometimes be useful. A few questions thus 
answered may serve to give animation to a class when 
their interest begins to flag ; but that which may serve 
as a stimulant must not be relied on for nutrition. 
As an example of its usefulness, I have known a 
rapid reader tamed into due moderation by being put 
in companionship with others of slower speech, just as 
we tame a friskful colt by harnessing him into a team 
of grave old horses. But aside from some such definite 
purpose, I have seen no good come of this innovation. 
I am satisfied its prevalence is an evil, and worthy of 
the careful consideration of teachers. 

By the foregoing means and others which will sug- 
gest themselves to the thoughtful teacher's mind, he 
can arouse the interest of his classes so that study will 
be »nore attractive than play. For this object every 
teacher should labor. It is of course impossible to give 
specific rules to meet every case ; it is not desirable to 
do it. The teacher, put upon the track, will easily 
devise his own expedients ; and his own, be it remem- 
bered, will usually be found the best for him. 

As a motive for every teacher to study carefully the 
art of teaching well at the recitation, it should be borne 
in mind that then and there he comes before his pupils 
in a peculiar and prominent manner ; it is there his mind 


llie teacher tnakea his mark at recitation. 

comes specially in contact with theirs, and there that he 
lays in them, for good or for evil, the foundations of 
their mental habits. It is at the recitation in a peculiar 
manner, that he makes his mark upon their minds ; and 
as the seal upon the wax, so his mental character uDoa 
theirs leaves its impress behind ' 


A great qnefltioD.— The interest in study an abiding one. 



It is ever an interesting question to the teacher, and 
one which he should consider with great care — " How 
can I excite an interest among my pupils in their 
studies ?" The intelligent teacher feels that this is the 
great question ; for he foresees that, if he fails here, his 
difficulty in governing his school will be very much 
increased. He therefore turns his attention with deep 
solicitude to the motives he may present, and the 
methods he may employ to awaken and keep alive th« 
interest of the school. 

If he has reflected at all upon the subject, he has 
already arrived at the conviction, that it is necessary for 
the good of all concerned that the interest awakened 
should be an abiding one; that it should not only 
not abate during the term of. school, but continue 
*— nay, grow stronger and stronger — even after school- 
days have passed away. There is probably no greater 
mistake in education, than that of raising in school an 
artificial excitement, which may aid perhaps in securing 
better recitations, but which will do nothing toward 
putting the .mind into such a state, that it will press on 


A common mistake.— Emulation.— Perplexity. 

in the pursuit of knowledge ever after the living teacher 
has closed his labors. 

The higher principles of our nature being aroused 
with difficulty, are too apt to be neglected by the 
teacher^ and thus they remain in their original feeble- 
ness ; while he contents himself with appealing to our 
lower characteristics, — thus doing a lasting injury by 
unduly cultivating and strengthening them, at the 
same time that he awakens after all but a temporary 

In view of the importance of the subject, and the 
difficulty of judging aright upon it, I shall make no 
apology for devoting a few pages to the consideration of 


The teacher will find in a greater or less degree, in 
the mind of every child, the principle of Emulation. 
It is a question very much debated of late, Wliat shall 
he do with it ? Much has been said and written on this 
question, and the ablest minds, both of past ages and 
the present, have given us their conclusions respecting 
it ; and it often increases the perplexity of the young 
teacher to find the widest difference of opinion on 
this subject among men upon whom in other things he 
would confidingly rely for guidance. Why, asks he, 
why is this ? Is there no such thing as truth in this 
matter ? or have these men misunderstood each other ^ 
When they have written with so much ability and 
10 much earnestness, — some zealously reconunending 


Experimeotiog.— Its evil conaeqoences. 

emulation as a safe and desirable principle to bq 
encouraged in the young, and others as warmly de- 
nouncing it as altogether unworthy and improper,*— 
have they been thinking of the same thing? Thus 
perplexed lyith conflicting opinions, he is thrown back 
upon his own reflection for a decision ; or what is more 
common, he endeavors to find the truth by experimenting 
upon his pupils. He tries one course for one term, and 
a diflerent one the next ; repeats both during the third, 
and still finds himself unsettled as he commences the 
fourth. Meantime some of his experiments have wrought 
out a lasting injury upon the minds of his pupils ; for, 
if every teacher must settle every doubt by new experi- 
ments upon his classes, the progress that is made in 
the science and art of teaching must be at the untold 
expense of each new set of children ; — just as if the 
young doctor could take nothing as settled by the ex- 
perience of his predecessors, but must try over again 
for himself the efiect of all the various medical agents, 
in order to decide whether arsenic does corrode the 
stomach and produce death, — whether cantharides can 
be best applied inwardly or outwardly, — whether mer- 
cury IS most salutary when administered in ounces or 
grains, or whether repletion or abstinence is preferable 
in a fever ! When such is the course of a young prao- 
titioner in a community, who does not confidently ex- 
pect the churchyard soon to become the most populous 
district, and the sexton to be the most thrifty personage 
in the village, unless indeed he too should become the 
frubject of experiment ? 


Two senses.— Define the terms.— The good senM. 

But is there not a good sense and a bad sense, 
associated with the term Emulation ; —and have not 
these eager disputants fallen into the same error, in 
this matter, that the two knights committed, when they 
immolated each other in a contest about the question 
whether a shield was gold or silver, when each had 
seen but one side of it ? I incline to the opinion that 
this is the case, — ^and that those who wax so warm in 
this contest, would do well to give us at the outset a 
careful definition of the term Emulation, as they 
intend to use it. This would perhaps save themselves 
a great deal of toil, and their readers a great deal of 

Now it seems to me the truth on this question Ues 
within a nutshell. 1. If emulation means a desire for 
improvement^ progress^ growth^ — ^an ardent wish to 
rise above one's present condition or attainments, — 
or even an aspiration to attain to eminence in the 
school or in the world, it is a laudable motive. This 
is self^emulation. It presses the individual on to 
surpass himself. It compares his present condition 
with what he would be — with what he ought to be ; 
and " forgetting those things which are behind, and 
reaching forth unto those which are before, he presses 
towards the mark for the prize." '* An ardor kindled 
by the praiseworthy examples of others, inciting to 
imitate them, or to equal, or even excel them, without 
the desire of depressing them,"* is the sense in which 

• Dr. Webster. 


The bad sense.— Characteriatics 4.mbition. 

the apostle uses the term [Romans zi. 14] when he 
says : " If by any means I may provoke to emulation 
them which are my flesh, and might save some of 
them." If this be the meaning of emulation, it is every 
way a worthy principle to be appealed to in school. 
This principle exists to a greater or less extent in the 
mind of every child, and may very safely be strength- 
ened by being called by the teacher into lively exercise ; 
provided always, that the eminence is sought from a 
desire to be useful, and not from a desire of self- 

2. But if emulation, on the other hand, means a desire 
of surpassing others^ for the sake of surpassing them ; 
if it be a disposition that will cause an individual to be 
as well satisfied with the highest place, whether he has 
risen above his fellows by his intrinsic well-doing, or 
they have fallen below him by their neglect ; if it puts 
him in such a relation to others that their failures will 
be as gratifying to him as his own success ; if it be a 
principle that prompts the secret wish in the child that 
others may miss their lessons, in order to give him an 
opportunity to gain applause by a contrast with their 
abasement, — then, without doubt it is an unworthy and 
unholy principle, and should never be encouraged or 
appealed to by the teacher. It has no similitude to 
that spirit which prompts a man to " love his neighbor 
as himself." It has none of that generosity which 
rejoices in the success of others. Carried out in 
after-life, it becomes ambition^ such as fired the 
breast of a Napoleon^ who sought a throne for him« 


The two viewB of emulation comparod. 

self, though he waded through the blood of millions to 
obtain it. 

It is to this principle thdt the apostle, before quoted, 
alludes, when he classes emulation with the *' works 
of the flesh," which are these : " adultery, fornication, 
uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, 
variance. Emulation, wrath, strife, seditions, &c., — -of 
the which things, I tell you before, as I have told you 
in times past, that they which do such things shall not 
inherit the kingdom of God." It is of this principle 
that the commentator, Scott, remarks : — ** This thirst 
for human applause has caused more horrible violations 
of the law of love, and done more to desolate the earth, 
than even the grossest sensuality ever did." 

Thus Emulation is a term which indicates a very 
good or a very bad thing, according to the definition 
we give it. In one view of it, the warmest aspirings 
to rise are consistent with a generous wish that others 
may rise also. It is even compatible with a heartfelt 
satisfaction in its possessor, at the progress of others, 
though they should outstrip him in his upward course. 
It is the spirit which actuates all true Christians, as 
they wend their way heavenward, rejoicing the more 
as they find the way is thronged with those who hope 
to gain an immortal crown. 

In the other view of it, we see men actuated by 
selfishness mingled with pride, inquiring, in the spirit of 
those mentioned in scripture, ** Wh<l> among us shall be 
the greatest ?" We everywhere see men violating these 
iacred injunctions of divine wisdom* ''Let no man 


The teaclier's duty.— Otijectioiis.— Answen. 

seek his own, but every man another's wealth/' " Let 
nothing be done through strife or vain-glory ; but in 
lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better tlian 
hemselves." — " In honor preferring one another." 

If such be the true pictures of emulation, in botli 
the good and the bad sense, certainly teachers can- 
not hesitate a moment as to their duty. They may 
appeal to the principle first described, — cultivate and 
strengthen it ; and in so doing, they may be sure they 
are doing a good work. But unless they intend to 
violate the teachings of common sense, and the higher 
teachings of Christianity, / know not how they can 
appeal to the principle of emulation as defined in the 
second case. 

But it may be urged that the teacher will find 
emulation, even in this latter sense, existing in human 
nature ; that he cannot get rid of it if he will ; that 
it will be one of the most active .principles to which 
he can resort in arousing the mind to exertion ; and, 
furthermore, that it has been appealed to by many of 
the most eminent teachers time out of mind. 

To this it is replied, that it is not disputed that chil- 
dren are selfish ; and that this selfishness may indeed 
be made a powerful instrumentality in urging them 
fon^ard to the attainment of a temporary end. But 
does the existence of selfishness prove that it needs 
cultivation in the human character? And will the end, 
when attained, justify the means ? Is the end, whatever 
it may be, if attained at such a cost, a blessing to be 

126 ;bxcitino interest in study. 

Farther ob(iecUoxis.~£inulation not essential to success. 

desired ? Will not the heart suffer more than the head 
will gain ? 

It may be further-urged, that the child will find the 
world full of this principle when he leaves the school ; 
and why, it is asked, should he at school be thrown into 
an unnatural position ? I answer that evil is not to be 
overcome by making evil more prevalent, — and though 
there may be too much of self-seeking in the world, 
that is the very reason why the teacher should not 
encourage its growth. The more true Christianity 
prevails in the world, the less there will be of that 
spirit which rejoices at another's halting ; hence I am 
convinced the teacher should do nothing to make that 
spirit more prevalent. 

Nor is it essential to the progress of the pupil even 
temporarily, since there are other and worthier princi- 
ples which can be as successfully called into action. 
If we look carefully at the eoopediency of thus stimu- 
lating the mind, we find that after the first trial of 
strength, many become disheartened and fall behind in 
despair. It will soon be obvious, in a class of twenty, 
who are the few that will be likely to surpass all others; 
and therefore all the others, as a matter of course, fall 
back into envy, perhaps into hopeless indifference. 
Who has not seen this in a class in spelling, for instance, 
where the strife was for the "Aeacf of the class, but 
where all but two or three were quite as well satisfied 
with being at the ^^foot ?" It does not then accomplish 
the purpose for which it is employed ; and since those 
who are aroused by it, are even more injured than 


The concla8ioii.-~Prizefl.— Honest investigation. 

those who are indifferent, their undesirable qualities 
J)eing thus strengthened, the opinion is entertained 
that those teachers are the most wise, who bend their 
ingenuity to find some other means to awaken the 
minds of the children under their charge. 

From what has been said, then. Emulation is to be 
recognised or repudiated among the incentives of the 
schoolroom, according to the signification we assign 
to the term. 


It has for a long time been the custom of teachers to 
offer some prize as an incentive to exertion in school ; 
a prize of some pecuniary value, a book, or a medal. 
In some places beneficent individuals have bestowed 
by legacy the means to purchase annually the prizes 
thus to be used. Every young teacher is called upon, 
therefore, to inquire whether such an incentive is a 
proper one to be employed in the schoolroom. If 
there is any good to be expected from such an incen- 
tive, will it counterbalance the evils that spring from 
the practice ? Will the good of the whole school be 
promoted by such a measure, — and will this be a per- 
manent or a temporary good? These are questions 
which press for an honest answer; and the faithful 
teacher should not shrink from a careful investigation 
of the whole matter ; and if he finds good reason to 
differ from time-honored authority, he should abide by 
the truth rather than by prescriptive usage. 

In my own case, I may be allowed to say, ray romd 


Experience.— Its result. — Reasons assigned. 

was early turned to this point ; though, I confess, with 
a strong bias in favor of the use of prizes. Pretty 
thoroughly for a series of years did I test their efficacy, 
but with a growing conviction, that the prize was not 
the proper instrumentality to create a healthy interest 
in the school. This conviction acquired additional 
strength by three or four years' trial of other incentives ; 
and it was' fully confirmed afterwards by a trial made 
for the purpose of testing again the efficacy of a prize, 
at an age when I could more carefully watch the 
workings of the human mind, and better appreciate the 
benefits or evils resulting from such a measure. I am 
DOW free to say that I am satisfied that jpn'ze^ offered to 

. a school in such a way that all may compete for them^ 
and only two or three obtain them, wUl always he pro* 
ductive of evil consequences, far overbalancing any 
temporary or partial good that may arise from them^ 
and therefore they ought, not to be used as incitements 

Vtn our schools* 

Having expressed an opinion so decidedly upon a 
measure which claims among its friends and advocates 
some of the best minds in the country, I shall be 
expected to assign some reasons for the faith I enter- 
tain. From this I shall not shrink. I proceed there- 
fore to express such objections to the use of prizes, as 

* It may be well to remind the reader that I have used tlie term Prize* 
here in contradistinction from a system of Rewards^ by which the teacher 
jHOposes to give some token of his regard to every one who does well,— and 
the more brilliant success of a few does not necessarily preclude others from 
participating in the favor according to their merit. Of such a B3'8tem ol 
ftewaids I shall have something to say presently. 


Prize becomes tlie leading motiTe.— Eugendeis rivalry. 

have been suggested to my mind by my own experi- 
ence, and confirmed by the experience and observation 
of others in whom I have great confidence. 

I. The offer of a prize gives undue prominence 
to a comparatively unworthy object. It practically 
teaches the child to undervalue the higher reward of a 
good conscience, and a love of learning for its own 
sake. The dazzling medal is placed in the foreground 
of his field of vision ; and it is very likely to eclipse 
those less showy but more abiding rewards found in a 
sense of duty and a desire to be qualified for usefulness. 
In studying his lesson he thinks of the prize. He 
studies that he may merely i^ecite well ; for it is a 
good recitation that wins the prize. He thinks not of 
duty, or of future usefulness ; the prize outshines all 
other objects. 

II. The pursuit of a prize engenders a spirit of 
rivalry among the pupils. Rivalry in pursuit of an 
object which only one can attain, and which all others 
must lose, must end in exultation on the part of the 
winner, and disappointment and envy on the part of the 
losers. It may be said, this ought not to be so ; but 
seldom can it be said, that it is not so. Such is human 
nature, and such it ever will be. Unpleasant feelings — 
sometimes concealed, to be sure- — but generally ex- 
pressed in unequivocal terms — ^grow out of the award 
of almost every school prize, and sometimes continue 
to exert their baleful influence through life. Now as 
long as human nature brings forth unlovely traits almost 

Bpontaneously, such direct efforts to cultivate them 


130 excitihg interest in study. 

The fern onl y are ■timnlated.—EiceiAioiM,— In ■pite of the gyBtem. 

surely are not called for. It is the part of wisdom, 
then, to omit such culture and avoid such results, espe- 
cially when safer means are so accessible. 

III. The hype of gaining the prize stimulates only 
the few, while the many become indifferent. This is 
admitted to be true even by the advocates of the prize 
system. Let a prize be offered in any class as a reward 
for the best scholarship, and in a very few days it be- 
comes perfectly obvious to all who the two or three 
are that will be likely to outstrip all the others. These 
two or three will be stimulated to exertion ; but the 
strife is left entirely to them. All others, despairing of 
success, resolve at once to '' let their moderation be 
known to all men ;" and since the prize has been made 
so prominent an object, they cannot be expected now to 
look at any thing above and beyond it. Feeling that 
they are not likely to participate in the honors of the 
class, they have but little disposition to share in its 

This to be sure is not always so. There are 
some, who, ceasing to strive for the prize, toil for the 
more substantial blessing — a good education, — and in 
the end come out the best scholars. This is the way 
indeed most of our strong men are made ; for it has 
long been remarked that the prize scholars in our 
schools, and even in our colleges, do not usually be- 
come the most distinguished men. On the other hand, 
many of them are never heard of after receiving their 
honors. But, though some of the slower scholars do 
thus hit upon the true path to eminence, it is not to be 


Why prize scholara finally fail.-~The teacher should reach all. 

set to the credit of the system ;* they rise in spite of 
the system rather than by virtue of it ; while the ulti 
mate failure of the prize scholars is usually directly 
attributable to the defect of the system ; for having 
been unduly stimulated to study solely with reference 
to recitation, and not with regard to future usefulness, 
their memories have been developed out of all propor- 
tion to the other faculties of their minds ; and, though 
they may have been veiy good reciters, they have no 
power to become independent thinkers. Under differ- 
ent training they might have become strong men. 

But to look'no further than the school, the remark 
holds true in general, that prizes stimulate the few, and 
the many become indifferent not only to prizes, but to 
other and better motives. That system of incentives 
only can be approved, which reaches and influences 
successfully all the mind subjected to its operation. 

Nor is this an unimportant consideration. It is not 
sufficient praise for a teacher that he has a few good 
scholars in his school. Almost any teacher can call 
out the talent of the active scholars and make them 
brilliant reciters. The highest merit, however, lies 
in reaching all the pupils, the dull as well as the 
active, and in making the most of them, or rather in 
leading them to make the most of themselves. It 
should be remembered of ^ery child, that the present 
is his only opportunity of being a child, and of receiv- 
ing the training appropriate to childhood ; and that 
teacher who rests satisfied with a system that does not 
reach the many, while he amuses himself and his visit- 


DifiicttUy in awarding the prize.— Judges disagree.— A fact. 

^^^ . I I '^T^M^ 

ors with the precocity of a few of his most active 
scholars, is recreant to his responsible trust. 

IV. There is much difficulty in awarding the prize 
so as to do strict justice to all. So many things are to 
be taken into the account in order to determine the 
excellence of a performance compared with otheis, thai 
some particulars are very likely to be overlooked. 
Those who are called to judge of the results often dis- 
agree among themselves. The following anecdote will 
illustrate this. Three literary gentlemen were appoint- 
ed to select the best from several compositions, pre- 
sented by a class, who had written them in competition 
for a gold medal. Each of the gentlemen carefully 
read the whole number in private, and conscientiously 
selected the best according to his judgment. When 
tliey came together to compare results, it was found 
that each man had selected the best^ but that no two 
had selected the same ! They carefully read and com- 
pared the three, and still each insisted that his original 
choice was the best. After much debate and consid- 
erable delay, one of the parties being obliged to go to 
his business, relieved himself from a painful detention, 
and his friends from a perplexing doubt, by saying he 
believed the composition he had selected was the best 
but, as he could not stop to claim its rights, he wouk 
yield them in favor of the second best in the hands of 
one of his associates. This ended the dispute, and 
the action in favor of the successful one, was declared 
to be unanimous ! 

This only proves how difficult it is to decide ; and 


The parties dinatiafied.— Various external aids : ezempliAed. 

in the case just cited, it might well be asked, why 
should one of these competitors be held up to the mul- 
titude to be applauded and admired, and the others sent 
back to their classes covered with the shame of a failure? 
What principle of ^*U5f ice sanctioned this decision? 

Nor is this a solitary instance. It rarely happens 
that the case is perfectly clear. There is usually 
much perplexity about it ; and hence one reason 
why the decision seldom satisfies the friends of the 
parties either in the school or at home. But other 
considerations besides the intrinsic merits of the per 
formance are to be taken into account in awarding a 
prize ; as, 

1 . A difference in the external facilities which the 
competitors enjoy for getting the lessons. One pupil 
may be the son of poverty, and be compelled to labor 
during all the hours out of school ; another may be in 
easy circumstances, and have nothing to prevent giving 
undivided attention to study during the whole day. 
One may be the child of parents who have no power to 
render assistance by way of explaining a difficult point ; 
while the other may have all his doubts removed at 
once by parental aid. One may never even be encour* 
aged by a kind word at home ; another is constantly 
urged to effort, and perhaps not allowed to be idle 
One may have access to no books but his school 
manuals ; the other may have at his command a large 
library. This difference in circumstances should be 
taken into the account ; but it never can be ful y un 
derstood bj those who are called to decide. _ 


Improper means med.-- An ** aathoreaB I" 

2. The improper means which may have been em 
ployed to secure the prize. Ambition when aroused is 
not always scrupulous of its means. One competitor 
may be highminded ; may enter the arena determined 
to succeed by an honorable strife ; may resolve to 
succeed by his own exertions, or to fail rather than 
bring in any thing which is not the fruit of his own 
study. Another, regardless of honor or principle, re- 
solves only to succeed^ whatever it may cost ; hesitates 
not to copy from others if possible, or to apply to a 
brother in college or some friend in the High School to 
furnish the difficult solution, prepared to order. One 
young lady spends days and nights in arranging the 
glowing thoughts for her composition, determined if 
industry, study, good taste, and a careful application 
of the rules of rhetoric can effect any thing, that her 
production shall be worthy of a prize. Another, in 
no way distinguished for scholarship, industry, or honor, 
writes a careless letter to a married sister in a distant 
city, invoking her aid. In due time the mail brings an 
elegant essay. It is copied with sufficient accuracy to 
be read, and at the examination takes the prize ! The 
fair * authoress^ stands forth and is flattered before the 
multitude, — is perhaps made to believe that she is 
worthy of praise ;* she grasps the golden bauble, and, 
covered with the blushes of modesty, receives the con- 
gratulations and caresses of friends, and is afterwards 
reputed a good scholar. Her competitors meantime 
become convinced that effort cannot rival genius ; they 
are mortified to think they have presumed to enter the 


Abuses. — SyRtem unsafe.— SuccesB overrated. 

arena with native talent, and become disheartened as to 
any future attempt. 

Now where is the justice in all this proceeding? 
Yet this is not fiction ; it is history ! If such abuses- 
abuses that might well make an angel weep, revealing, 
us they do, that ;ivoman's heart can be thus sold to 
deception — are the accompaniments of a prize system, 
may we not well doubt the utility of that system ? 

Yet who can know either the different facilities 
enjoyed by the competitors, or the want of principle in 
some of them ? Who can enter the secret chambers 
of the mind or the heart, and estimate with any accu- 
racy the just amount of merit in any action ? This is 
God's prerogative ; while ^' man looketh only on the 
outward appearance." My inference then is : A sys- 
tem can hardly be^ safe which is so uncertain. 

V. The prize rewards success, not effort ; tal- 
ent, not worth. Every one knows that in estimating 
the value and virtue of an action, the motive which 
prompted it, and the effort it necessarily cost, should 
be taken into the account. Every one knows, too, tliat 
success in study is by no means a criterion by which to 
judge of the ments of the scholar. Some learn their 
lessons with great facility and with but little effort; 
others study long and patiently without any brilliant 
results. One competitor for a prize may bring results 
which have cost him midnight toil and the most unre- 
mining perseverance ; another with brighter parts, and 
with but little labor, is able to surpass him, and takes 
the medal. Now the former deserves in a far higher 


But God rewards.— How l-^udying for a prize only. 

degree the encouragement of the reward ; yet it is given 
to him who has the talent but who lacks the industry. 
The rule of Scripture which announces that " to whom 
much is given, of him shall much be requiredi^ is 
violated, and he is rewarded for producing but little 
more than the one to whom little is given. 

It is often urged by those who advocate a system ot 
prizes and rewards, that God rewards ; and therefore 
it is at least justifiable that we should imitate his ex- 
ample. I admit that God, in his government, does 
reward ; but he rewards effort rather than success ; he 
** looketh upon the heart'' as man cannot do, and re- 
wards worthy not talent. We might, indeed, imitate 
his example, if we had less frailty, and were not so 
liable to be imposed upon by the outward appearance. 
God indeed rewards men ; but he estimates the secret 
intention, seeing the inward springs of thought before 
they find expression in words or actions. He regards 
the motive, and holds out for the encouragement of the 
humblest child of earth, who does the best he can, as 
rich a crown of glory, as he does for those whose out- 
ward circumstances, in the eyes of mortals, are moie 
auspicious. When man can as wisely and as righte- 
ously bestow his prizes and rewards, there will be 
far less objection to their use. 

VI. The pupil who studies for a prize as his chief 
motive, will seldom continue to study when the prize is 
withdrawn. This is so obvious as scarcely to need 
illustration. If it be necessary to add any thing to the 
mere statement of the fact, an appeal to almost univer 


Argument pervertod. — " He ia studying for the priae." 

sal experience would confirm it. A teacher who has 
depended upon prizes in a school, finds it very difficu^ 
to awaken an interest there when he withdraws the 
prize. Hence many have, on trying the experiment of 
abandoning the prize system, become discouraged, and 
have returned again to the use of prizes, believing them 
essential to their success. Thus the very argument 
which shows most clearly their pernicious tendency, is 
made a reason for continuing tbem. As before hinted, 
the prize scholars in our academies, and even our col 
leges, are seldom distinguished men in after-life, — a fact 
that speaks conclusively on this point. But it can 
scarcely be necessary to spend words to prove a truth 
almost self-evident. 

VII. By the prize system^ the injluence of the good 
example of some of the best pupils^ is lost upon the 
school. All who have taught, know how important 
this influence is to the success of the school. It 
tells with resistless power upon the other scholars, 
wherever it exists, unless some unworthy motive can 
be assigned for it. But under the prize system, let 
a teacher appeal to the example of his best scholars, 
and the reply is, " Oh, yes, he behaves well, or he 
studies diligently, but he is trying to get the prizeP 
With this understanding, his example becomes pow- 
erless, unlees, indeed, there may be a disposition to 
be unlike him in every thing. It is believed this is 
a consideration of considerable importance. 

I have thus assigned, at some length, the reasons 
jrhy I should discountenance, among the incentives 


$y8teni of rewards.— Not neccaBary.— Why not? 

of the school, the use of Prizes. As to the use of 
" Rewards,^* when they are made so numerous that 
every one who is really deserving may receive one, — 
and when the basis of their distribution is not talent, 
not success merely, but good intention and praise- 
virorthy effort, — I have much less to say. As expres- 
sions of the teacher's interest in the children, and 
of his approval of their well-doing, they may serve a 
good end. Perhaps there is no very strong objection 
to them in principle; though if the teacher subjects 
himself to the necessary outlay in the purchase of 
them, it may become burdensome to him. I may 
add, however, that I do not think rewards are ne 
cessary to the teacher^s success, I should prefer to 
do without them. It is possible to produce such 
a feeling iif the schoolroom, that the approving con- 
science of the child, and the commendatory smile of 
the teacher, shall be the richest of all rewards. 
These come without money and without price, and 
may always be freely and safely bestowed, wherever 
there is a good intention exhibited by the child. That 
is the most healthy state of things where these are 
most prized. As children whose parents begin early 
to hire them to do their duty, are seldom ready after- 
wards to render their cheerful service as an act of 
filial obligation, whenever the pay is withheld, — sc 
children at school, who have been accustomed to 
expect a reward, seldom pursue their studies as 
cheerfully when that expectation is cut off. 


Safe incentivei.— Approbation of ftiends. 


In what has already been said, it has been more 
than hinted that there are higher attributes than emu* 
lation, which the teacher should address, and which, 
if he is successful in calling them into exercise, will 
be quite sufGcient to ensure the proper application of 
his pupils to their studies. They have the merit, 
moreover, of being safe. They do not unduly stim- 
ulate the intellectual, at the expense of the moral 
faculties. Their very exercise constitutes a healthy 
growth of the moral nature. Some of these I may 
briefly allude to. 


PARENTS AND TEACHER. The lovc of approbation is 
as universal in the human mind as emulation. Not 
one in a thousand can be found who does not possess it. 
Within proper limits, it is a desirable trait in human 
character. It is, to be sure, one of the selfish propen- 
sities ; but among them all, it is the most innocent. 
Carried to an extreme, it would lead its possessor to 
crave -the good opinion of the bad as well as of the 
good, and to become an obsequious seeker after 
popularity. This, of course, is to be deprecated. 
But there can be no danger of this extreme, as long 
as the approbation of parents and teachers is the 
object aimed at. It implies in the child a respect for 
the opinions, and a confidence in the justice of his 
parents and teachers ; and hence it implies in him a 


'* Twice Uest.*'— Desire to advanoe,— to be useful. 

generous desire to please, as a condition of being 
commended by them. 

In this sense, the love of approbation may be 
appealed to by the teacher. He perhaps need not 
frequently use the language of praise. It will gen- 
erally be sufficient, if the smile of approval beams 
forth in his countenance. If he is judicious as well 
as just, this boon soon becomes a precious one to 
the child. It is a reward, moreover, which 

"is twice blest; 
It blesseth him who gives and him who takes." 

tion in its good sense. It leads the child, as before 
remarked, to compare his present standing and attain- 
ments with what they should be, and to desire to 
surpass himself. This is ever commendable. Man 
was made for progress ; and it is no unworthy aspi- 
ration, when this desire fires the youthful breast. 
The teacher, then, may appeal to this desire, may 
kindle it into a flame even, with safety, — because it 
is a flame that warms without consuming that on which 
it feeds. 

III. A DESIRE TO BE USEFUL. The good tcachei 
should never fail to impress upon the child that the 
object of his being placed on earth, was that he might 
be of some use to the world by which he is surrounded. 
" No man liveth i: himself, and no man dieth to him- 
self." He can be thus useful by storing the mind with 
knowledge and the heart with right affections. He 


Fature application of knowledge.— Deore to do right 

may be reminded of the connection between his present 
studies, and the pursuits of life to which they may be 
applied. Some judicious hint at the future application 
of any branch is always a good preparation of the mind 
to pursue it If there is a definite object in view, there 
will always be more alacrity in the labor of study ; and 
this may be made to influence the young pupil as well 
as the more advanced. It is no small thing for the 
child if he can be early made to feel that he is living to 
some purpose. 

lY. A DESIRE TO DO RIGHT. This, in other words, 
IS a disposition to obey conscience by conforming to 
the will of God. This indeed is the highest and holi- 
est of all the motives to human action. In its fullest 
sense it constitutes the fundamental principle of a reli- 
gious character. The teacher should most assiduously 
cultivate in the child a regard for this principle. God 
has implanted the conscience in every child of earth, 
that it should early be made use of to regulate the con- 
duct. That teacher is either grossly ignorant or madly 
perverse, who disregards the conscience, while he ap- 
peals alone to the selfishness of the young, and thus 
practically teaches that moral obligation is a nullity ; 
that the law of God — so beautifully expounded by the 
Saviour — " Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all 
thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind," 
and "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself" — ^is 
of little consequence ; and that the injunction of the 
apostle — " Whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye 
do, do all to the glory of God,** is as good as obsolete. 


^W^i^iM^^^^M^M^—— ^»<— ^i^— — ■ ■ — ■■■■■——-■ I ■ ■■■—■■■■■■■■■■ ■ I ■ - I I 1 1 ■ ■ ■■ ^^^^mm^mfmmmimmm^mm 

Conscience active in chi]dhood.--^nfle of obligation. 

In early childhood the conscience is most active. It 
needs, to be sure, at that period to be enlightened ; but 
if the teachings of Revelation are made plain to the 
child, he seldom disregards them. The teacher has at 
this period very much to do, as I have before said in 
the chapter on Responsibility of Teachers; and he 
cannot neglect his duty without the most aggravated 
culpability. The point I urge here, is, that Be should 
use these motives as incentives to study. The child 
can be made to feel that he owes the most diligent 
efforts for improvement to his teacher, who daily labors 
for his improvement ; to his parents, who have kindly 
supplied his wants, and have provided the means for his 
cultivation ; to society, whose privileges he may enjoy, 
and to which he is bound to make a return by becom- 
ing an intelligent and useful member of it ; to himself, 
as a rational and immortal being, capable of unbounded 
enjoyment or untold misery, just in proportion as he pre- 
pares himself for either ; and above all to his Creator, 
by whose bounty he Hves, surrounded with friends and 
blessed with opportunities, which are denied to millions 
of his fellow-beings, — ^by whose gracious providence he 
has been endowed with faculties and capabilities making 
him but little lower than the angels, and which he is 
bound to cultivate for usefulness and for heaven, — by 
whose mercy he has been supplied, as millions have not, 
with the word of God, to guide his mind to things above, 
and with the influences of Christian society, to cheer 
him in his path to heaven ; — above all, I repeat, should 
the child be taught to feel that he owes to God bis best 


Tho pleasure of aoquiaition.— Acquiiemento of three yeam. 

efforts^ to make the most of all his powers for time and 
eternity. If this can be done, (and I believe to a great 
extent it can be done,) there will be no need of a resort 
to those questionable incentives found in exciting chil- 
dren to outstrip their fellows by prizes and rewards ; 
while in this very process the foundation of a good 
moral training will be laid, without which the perfect 
structure of a noble character can never be reared in 
later life. 

To the motives already alluded to, if it be necessary 
to add another, I would urge, 

V. The pleasure of acquisition. This is often 
underrated by teachers. Our Creator has not more 
universally bestowed a natural appetite for the food 
which is necessary for the growth of the body, than he 
has a mental longing for the food of the mind ; and as 
he has superadded a sensation of pleasure to the neces- 
sary act of eating, so he has made it a law of the mind 
to experience its highest delight while in the act of re- 
ceiving the mental aliment. Whoever has observed 
childhood with an attentive eye, must have been im- 
pressed with the wisdom of God in this arrangement. 
How much the child acquires within the first three 
years after its birth ! He learns a difficult language 
with more precision than a well-educated adult for- 
eigner could learn it in the same time ; yet language is 
not his only or his chief study. During these same 
three years, he makes surprising advances in general 
knowledge. He seeks an intimate acquaintance witli 
all the physical objects by which he is surrounded. 


Mr. Mann qooted.— The blind and Uie dumb. 

The size, fonn, color, -weight, temperature, and use of 
each are investigated by the test of his own senses, or 
ascertained by innumerable inquiries. His ideas of 
height and distance, of light and heat, of motion and 
velocity, of cause and effect, are all well defined. He 
has made no mean attainments in morals. He com- 
prehends the law of right and wrong so that his deci- 
sions may well put to the blush his superiors in age ; 
and unless grossly neglected, he has learned the duty 
of obedience to parents and reverence towards God. 
Now all this amazing progress has been made, because 
of the irrepressible curiosity with which God has en- 
dowed him, and the unspeakable delight he experiences 
in acquiring the knowledge which gratifies it. 

All must have noticed the delight with which the 
child grasps a new idea ; but few have been able so 
eloquently to describe it, as it is done by Mr. Mann. 
" Mark a child," says he, " when a clear, well-defined, 
vivid conception seizes it. The whole nervous tissue 
vibrates. Every muscle leaps. Every joint plays. 
The face becomes auroral. The spirit flashes through 
the body like lightning through a cloud." 

<< Observe, too, the blind, the deaf, and the dumb. 
So strong is their inborn desire for knowledge, — such 
are the amazing attractive forces of their minds for it, 
that although the natural inlets, the eye and the ear, are 
closed, yet they will draw it inward, through the soli(^ 
walls and encasements of the body. If the eye be cur-, 
tained with darkness, it will enter through the ear. If 
the ear be closed in silence, it will ascend along the 


ThH pleasure abates in after life.— Mind may be aarfeited. 

nerves of touch. Every new idea that enters into the 
presence of the sovereign mind, carries offerings of 
deUght with it, to make its coming welcome. Indeed, 
our Maker created us in blank ignorance, for the very 
purpose of giving us the boundless, endless pleasure 
of learning new things." 

It is, of course, not to be expected that the same 
degree of pleasure will attend the learner in every 
acquisition as the novelty diminishes, and as he ad- 
vances in age. The bodily appetite is less keen in 
after life than in childhood, so that the adult may never 
realize again to the full extent the delicious flavors 
which regaled him in his earliest years. Still there 
will ever be a delight in acquisition ; and to carry our 
illustration a little further, — as the child is soonest 
cloyed whose stomach is surfeited with dainties, and 
stimulated with condiments, and pampered with sweet- 
meats, till his taste has lost its acumen and digestion 
becomes a burden ; so the mental appetite is soonest 
destroyed, when, under the unskillful teacher, it is 
overloaded with what it can neither digest nor dis- 
gorge. The mind may be surfeited; and then no 
wonder if it loaths even the wholesome aliment. Arti- 
ficial stimulants, in the shape of prizes, and honors, 
and flattery, and fear, and shame, may have impaired 
its functions, so that it ceases to act except under* their 
excitement. But all must see that these are unnatural 
conditions, superinduced by erroneous treatment. TTiere 
ts still a delight in acquisition^ just as soon as the 

&culties are aroused to the effort; and the skiUfttl 



A desire to know.— Instance of God's wisdom and goodness. 

teacher will strive to wake up the mind to find this 
delight, — and if he understands his work, he will 
scarcely need a stronger incentive. If he understands 
the secret of giving just so much instruction as to 
excite the learner's curiosity, and then to leave him 
to discover and acquire for himself, he will have no 
necessity to use any other means as stimulants td 

To this might be added that irrepressible curiosity^ 
that all-pervading desire to know, which is found in 
the mind of every child. The mind, as if conscious 
of its high destiny, instinctively spreads its unfledged 
wings in pursuit of knowledge. This, with some chil- 
dren, is an all-sufficient stimulant to the most vigorous 
exertion. To this the teacher may safely appeal. In- 
deed, it is a convincing proof of the wisdom as well as 
the goodness of God, that this desire to know, as well 
as the delight of acquisition, are the most active at 
that early period of childhood, when a just apprecia- 
tion of the utility of knowledge, and the higher motives 
already detailed, could scarcely find a lodgement in the 
tender mind. It seems to be, therefore, an indisputable 
dictate of our very nature, that both these principles 
should be early employed as incentives. 

If, then, the desire of the approval of parents and 
teacfl&rsj — the desire of advancement^ — the desire to be 
useful, — and the desire to do right, can be superadded 
to the natural love in the child for acquisition, and a 
natural desire to know, there will, as I believe, be but 
little occasion to look further for incentives to exertion 


A ficholiiim. 

in the pupil ; and I may venture to add, as a scholium 
to what has already been said, that the teacher who 
has not yet learned to call into exercise these higher 
motives, and to rely for success mainly upon them, 
and who dares not abandon the system of exciting 
stimulants for fear of a failure, has yet much to learn 
as a true educator of the young. 


Older necesBary in 8chool.-~Self>goveniment in the teacher. 



It is not necessary that any space in this work 
should be occupied in speaking of the importance of 
order in our schools. Everybody who has written or 
spoken on this subject, has conceded the necessity 
of obedience on the part of the pupil. " Order is 
heaven's first law ;" and it is scarcely more essen- 
tial to the harmony of heaven, than it is to the happi- 
ness and success of the school. 

If such be the necessity of order in the school, then 
the ability to secure and maintain it is no mean part 
of the qualification of the good teacher. It is lament- 
able that so many fail in this particular ; and yet this 
frequent failure can in most cases be traced to some 
defect in the constitutional temperament, or some de- 
ficiency in the mental or moral culture of the teacher 
himself. It shall be my first object, then, to point out 
some of the 

section i. -requisites in the teacher for good 


I. Self-government. It has frequently been said 
that no man can govern others till he has learned to 


Angry paasioiis.— Manner.— Levity and moroseneaB. 

govern himself. I have no doubt of the truth o^ this. 
If an individual is not perfectly self-possessed, his 
decisions must fail to command respect. The self- 
government of the teacher should be complete, in the 
following particulars : 

1. As to the passion of anger. The exhibition of 
anger always detracts from the weight of authority. 
A man under its influence is not capable of doing strict 
justice to his pupils. Before entering upon teaching, 
therefore, a man should somehow obtain the mastery 
over his temper, so that under any provocation he car 
control it. He should consider that in school his pa 
tience will often be severely tried. He should not 
expect, indeed, that the current of affairs in school 
will for a single day run perfectly smooth. He should, 
therefore, prepare for the worst, and firmly resolve 
that, whatever unpleasant thing shall occur, it shall 
not take him entirely by surprise. Such forethought 
will give him self-command. If, however, from his 
past experience, and from the nature of his tempera- 
ment, he is satisfied he cannot exercise this self-control, 
he may be assured he is the wrong man to engage in 
teaching. A man who has not acquired thorough 
ascendancy over his own passions, is an unsafe man to 
be intrusted with the government of children. 

2. As to levity and moroseness of manner. Either 
extreme is to be avoided. There are some teachers 
who exhibit such a frivolity in all their intercourse 
with their pupils, that they can never command them 
with authority, or gain their cordial respect. This is a 


Ridiculous assumption of smaituees.— Mr. Abbot's case. 

grievous fault ; and the teacher should at once find an 
antidote for it, by serious reflection upon the responsi- 
bility of his position. If this will not cure it, nothing 
else can. 

There are others who are characterized by a pe? 
petual peevishness, so that a pleasant word from them 
is indeed a strange thing. They can never expect to 
gain the afiections of their pupils ; and without secu- 
ring the love of children, the government of them will 
never be of the right kind. This habit of snappishness 
should be broken up at once. 

There are some very young teachers, who some- 
times assume one or the other of these peculiar modes 
of address, or perhaps both, to be used alternately, — 
fancying that they will gain popularity by the one, or 
give themselves greater authority by the other. This 
is a very mistaken notion; for children have more 
discernment than most men give them credit for, and 
they usually see directly through such a flimsy dis 
guise, — and the teacher becomes ridiculous rather than 
great in their estimation, whenever he takes any such 
false position. 

Mr. Abbot, in his "Teacher," states a fact which 
well illustrates this point. " Many years ago," says 
he, "when I was a child, the teacher of the school 
where my early studies were performed, closed his 
connection with the establishment, and, after a short 
vacation, another was expected. On the appointed 
" day the boys began to collect, some from curiosity; at 
an early hour, and many spr^culations were started as 


'* Take off your hats."— Treatment of peculiar papib. 

to the character of the new instructor. We were 
standing near a table with our hats on, — and our posi- 
tion, and the exact appearance of the group is indeUbly 
fixed on my memory, — ^when a small and youthful- 
looking man entered the room and walked up towards 
us. Supposing him to be some stranger, or rather, not 
making any supposition at all, we stood looking at him 
as he approached, and were thunder-struck at hearing 
him accost us with' a stern voice, and stei^ner brow : — 
* Take off your hats ! Take off your hats, and go to 
your seats.' The conviction immediately rushed upon 
our minds that this must be the new teacher. The 
first emotion was that of surprise, and the second was 
that of the ludicrous ; though I believe we contrived 
to smother the laugh until we got out into the open 

The true rule is to act the part which is agreeable to 
nature. The teacher having gained the self-command 
just insisted upon, and having in him the spirit of 
kindness and a desire to be useful, should assume 
nothing unnatural for effect. His manner should be 
truly dignified, but courteous. 

3. As to his treatment of those pupils that are marked 
by some peculiarity. There will usually be some pu 
pils who are very backward, and perhaps very dull, — 
or who may have some physical defect, or some mental 
eccentricity. The teacher should be able to govern 
himself in all his remarks concerning such pupils. He 


should avoid all allusion to such singularities before 
the school; and it is the height of injustice — I was 


^^^^' W III ■■■— ^— — »^^^^— ^ 

Ii^UBtice.— Self-retiaDoe,— not btind praBumptkm. 

about to say, of malevolence — for him ever to use 
those low and degrading epithets so often found upon 
tlie teacher's tongue, — such as dunce, thickskuU, and 
the like. Is it not misfortune enough for a child to' 
be backward or dull, without having the pain and 
mortification increased by the cruelty of an unfeeling 
teacher ? The teacher should take a special interest 
in such children ; he should endeavor to enter into the 
feelings of their parents, and to treat them in such a 
way as to encourage rather than crush them. 


can generally do what we firmly believe we can do. 
At any rate, a man is more likely to succeed in any 
enterprise, when he has the feeling of self-reliance. 
The teacher, by reflection upon the importance of good 
government to his success, and by a careful study of 
the means to be employed and the motives to be pre- 
sented, should be able to bring himself to the determi- 
nation to have good order in his school, and so fully to 
believe he can have it, that his pupils shall detect no 
misgivings ia him on this point. Whenever ihey dis- 
cover that he has doubts of his success in governing, 
they will be far more ready to put his skill to the test. 
It would be better that a young teacher should decline 
to take a difficult school, rather than enter it without 
the full belief of his ability to succeed. I would not 
wish to be understood by these remarks to be encour- 
aging an unreasonable and blind presumption, A con- 
fidence in x)ne's ability should be founded upon a 
reasonable estimate of his powers, compared with the 


Views of goveromeDt.— Not tyraiiDy.-— Uniform. 

difficulties to be overcome. What I recommend is, 
that the teacher should carefully weigh the difficulties, 
and candidly judge of his own resources, and then 
undertake nothing which he thinks is beyond his ability. 
If, after this, he believes he can succeed, other things 
being equal, success is almost certain. 

III. Just views op Government. 1. It is not 
tyranny^ exercised to please the one who governs, or 
to promote his own convenience. The despot com* 
mands for the sake of being obeyed. But government 
in its proper sense, is an arrangement for the general 
good, — for the benefit of the governed as well as of 
tlie ruler. That is not good government which seeks 
any other object. The teacher should so view the 
matter ; and in et^tablishing any regulations in school) 
he should always inquire whether they are suggested 
by a selfish regard to his own ease, or whether they 
spring from a sincere and disinterested wish to promote 
the improvement of the school. 

2. He should see the necessity of making the 
government uniform ; that is, the same from day to 
day. If he punishes to-day what he tolerates to- 
morrow, he cannot expect the cordial respect of his 
pupils. Some teachers, not having learned the art 
of self-government, take counsel too much of their 
own feelings. To-day they are in good health and 
spirits, and their faces are clothed in sunshine ; they 
can smile at any thing. To-morrow, suffering under 
bad digestion, or the want of exercise, or the want 
of sleep, the thunder-storm hovers about their brovv^ 


Equality.— No arirtocracy in achool.— No partiality. ^ 

ready to burst upon the first offender. Wo to the 
luckless wight who does not seasonably discover this 
change in the condition of the weather. A teacher 
cannot long respect himself who is thus capricious ; 
he may be sure his school will not long respect 

* 3. He should so view government as to make it 
equal; that is, equal in its application to the whole 
school, — the large as well as small scholars, the 
males as well as females. This is often a great 
fault with teachers. They raise up a sort of aristo- 
cracy in their schools, a privileged class, a miniature 
nobility. They will insist that the little boys and girls 
shall abstain from certain practices, — ^whispering, for 
instance, — and most promptly punish the offenders, 
while they tolerate the same thing among the larger 
pupils. This is cowardly in itself, and as impolitic 
as it is cowardly. The teacher makes a great mistake 
who begins his government with the small children, 
in the hope of frightening the larger ones into obe- 
dience. He should have the manliness and the justice 
to begin with the larger pupils ; the smaller ones never 
resist, when authority is established with those above 
them. Besides this, the very class who are thus 
indulged, are the very ones who soonest despise, and 
justly too, the authority of the teacher. 

He should make his government impartial in every 
respect. He should have no favorites — ^no preferences^ 
based upon the outward circumstances of the child, his 
family, or his personal attractions and the like. The 


-" ■ 

Views of the governed.— Reason.-- Affection.— ConBcience. 

rich and the poor should be alike to the teacher. He 
should remember that each child has a soul ; and it is 
with the soul, and not with the wealth of this world, 
that he has to do. He should remember that a gem, 
as bright as a sunbeam, is often concealed under a 
rough exterior. It should be his work, nay his delight 
— ^to bring out this gem from its hiding-place, and 
apply to it the polish of a ** workman that needeth not 
to be ashamed." 

IV. Just views of the Governed. Notwith 
standing the imperfection of human nature, as devel- 
oped in the young, they have some redeeming qualities. 
They are intelligent and reasonable beings. They 
have more or less love of approbation ; they have 
affection, and, above all, they have a moral sense. All 
these qualities are considerably developed before they 
enter the school. The teacher should remember this, 
and prepare himself to address, as far as may be, 
all these. Love of approbation, as we have before 
seen, is not an unworthy motive to be addressed, and 
it is well known that many children are very easily 
controlled by it. It is not the highest motive, to be 
sure, nor is it the lowest. The affection for a teacher, 
which many children will exercise, is one of the most 
powerful instrumentalities in governing them with 
ease. The conscience, early trained, is all-powerful. 
I allude to these principles of action once more, in 
order to say that the peculiar character of each should 
be well studied by the teacher. He should under- 
stand the human mind so well as to be able to find 


Decisioii.— FirmneflB.— The unjust judge. 

the avenues to these better parts of the child's nature, 
remembering that whenever several ways are presented 
of doing the same thing, it is always wise to choose 
the best. 

V. Decision and Firmness. By decision^ I mean 
a readiness to determine and to act in any event just 
as duty seems to dictate ; a willingness to take the 
responsibility just as soon as the way is plain. By 
firmnessy is meant that fixedness of purpose .which 
resolutely carries out a righteous decision. Both of 
these qualities are essential to good government in 
the teacher. Much time is often lost by a teacher's 
vacillating when action is more important. Besides, 
if the pupils discover that the teacher hesitates, and 
dreads to take any responsibility, they very soon lose 
their respect for him. I would not urge that a teacher 
should act Imstily, He never should decide till he is 
confident he decides right ; any delay is better than 
hasty error. But his delay, in all matters of govern- 
ment, should have reference to a true knowledge of 
his duty ; when that is clearly known, he should be 

Many teachers suffer in their government, for want 
of firmness. They act upon the principle of personal 
convenience, as did the unjust judge mentioned in the 
parable. " And he would not for a while ; but after- 
wards he said within himself. Though I fear not God 
nor regard man ; yet because this widow troubleth 
me, I will arise and avenge her, lest by her continual 
naming she weary me." How often we hear soma* 


^— i^— ■ I I ... — ■ ■ ■..■■■■■ ■■ ■ .— ^—M ^Mi^^— ^ 

A practical example.— Philaaophizixig.—CQiicli]iion. 

diing like this in the schoolroom. '^ May I go and 
drink ?" — says James, in a peculiarly imploring tone. 
" No," says the teacher, promptly, and eyidently with- 
out any reflection as to the decision he has made. 
James very composedly sits down, eyeing the counte-* 
nance of the teacher expressiyely, as much as to say, 
" I'll try you again soon." Before long he observes 
the teacher quite busy with a class, and he again pops 
the question : ^' May I go and drink ?" Stung at the 
moment with impatience at the interruption, the teacher 
answers instantly and emphatically, '* No, no, James, 
sit down." James still watches his teacher^s expres- 
sion,- and cannot discover there any signs of a mind 
seeking the path of duty, and he silently thinks to 
hiniself, " the third time never fails." So, after a 
minute or two, when the teacher is somewhat puzzled 
with a knotty question, and is on the point of nibbing 
a pen besides, — " May I go and drinky sir ?" again 
rings upon the teacher's ear. " Yes, yes, yes ! do 
go along ; / suppose youHl keep asking till you 
get it:' 

Now James goes to drink, and then returns to 
philosophize upon this matter, perhaps as follows : 
— " I don't believe he stopped to think whether f 
needed drink or not ; therefore hereafter I shall never 
believe he really means no, when he says it. He 
acts without thought. I have also found that if I 
will but ask several times, I shall get it. So I shall 
know how to proceed next time." — I do not know 
that any child would express this thought in so many 


A better way.— Moral and religious ixrinciple. 

words ; but the impression upon his mind is none the 
less distinct. 

Now the teacher should carefully consider the ques 
ion addressed to him. How long since this child had 
water ? Can it be necessary for him to drink so often ? 
Then let the answer be given mildly, but decidedly — 
"No, James." The very manner, quite likely, will 
settle the question, so that James will not ask again. 
The answer once . given should be firmly adhered to. 
It would even be better that James should suffer for 
the want of water than for the want of confidence in 
his teacher's firmness. In this way the teacher would 
establish his word with the school in a very few days ; 
and his pupils would soon learn that with him "no 
means no," and " yes means yes" — a matter of no small 
importance to the teacher of a school. 

VI. Deep Moral Principle. The teacher should 
ever be a conscientious man ; and in nothing is this 
more necessary than in the. exercise of good government 
In this matter the teacher can never respect himself 
when he acts from caprice or selfishness. His inquiry 
should be, What is right? What is justice — justice \ 

to my pupils — to myself? And if he could add to moral | 

obligation the high sanctions of religious principle, and 
could habitually and sincerely turn his thoughts to his 
Maker, with the heartfelt inquiry — What wilt thou 
have me to do ? — then he would seldom err in the dis- 
charge of this trust. His pupils, seeing that he acted 
from fixed and deep principle, would respect his hon 
esty, even if he should cross their desires. 


Firat impreBBioiu.— Respect precedes attaciiment. 

Having now dwelt at some length upon the requisites 
in the teacher for good government^ I shall next pro- 
ceed to present some of the 


MAKE. It is an old proverb, that '^ what is well be- 
gun is half done." This holds true in school-keeping, 
and particularly in school-government. The young 
study character very speedily and very accurately. Per- 
haps no one pupil could express in words an exact 
estimate of a teacher's character after a week's ac- 
quaintance ; but yet the whole school has received 
an impression which is not far from the truth. A 
teacher, then, is very unwise who attempts to' assume 
to be any thing which he is not. He should ever be 
frank ; and in commencing a school he should begin as 
he can hold out. Any assumption of an authoritative 
tone is especially ill-judged. The pupils at once put 
themselves in an attitude of resistance, when this is 
perceived by them. 

A teacher should ever remember that among children 
— ^however it may be among adults — respect always 
precedes attachment. If he would gain the love of the 
children, he must first be worthy of their respect He 
should therefore act deliberately, and always conscien- 
tiously He should be firm but never petulant. It is 
very important at the outset that he should be truly cour- 
teous and affable. It is much wiser to request than to 
command^ at least until the request has been disregarded. 


The rough and the gentle way.— Avoid the suspicious spirit. 

There are usually two ways of doing a thing, — a gentle 
and a rough way. '* John, go and shut that door," in 
a gruff tone, is one way to have a door closed. John 
will undoubtedly go and shut the door — perhaps with 
a slam, — but he will not thank the teacher for the rough 
tones used in commanding it. Now it costs no more 
time or breath to say, " John, I'll thank you if you will 
shut that door." Most cheerfully will John comply 
with the request, and he is grateful that he has heard 
these tones of kindness. If he could but know the 
teacher's wishes afterward, he would gladly perform 
them unasked. I would by no means recommend the 
adoption of the fawning tone of the sycophant, by the 
teacher. He should be manly and dignified ; but the 
language of that courtesy which springs from real kind- 
ness, and which ever becomes the gentleman, is always 
the most suitable as well as most expedient for him. 

II. Avoid exhibiting or entertaining a suspi- 
cious SPIRIT. It is a maxim of law, that one charged 
with crime is always to be presumed innocent until 
proved guilty. This should be a maxim with the teachei 
who would govern well. There is no more direct waj 
of making a school vicious, than by showing them that 
you suspect they are so. A good reputation is dear to 
all ; and even a bad boy will be restrained from wicked 
acts as long as he thinks you give him credit for good 
intentions. But if he finds that he has lost your good 
opinion, he feels that he has nothing further to lose by 
being as bad as you suspect him to be. A teacher is 
wise, therefore, if he tries to see something good even id 



A bad boy eayed.— Token of ooiilideBce.~Eniployment. 

a vicious pupil. It may be, as it often has been, the 
means of saving such a pupil. I have known a very 
depraved boy entirely reformed in school, by bis teach- 
er's letting him know that he had noticed some good 
traits in his character. He afterwards told his teacher 
that '* he had been so often suspected to be a villain, 
that he had almost come to the conclusion that he would 
be one ; but that, when he found one man who could 
do him the justice to give him credit for a few good 
feelings — (for he knew he had them) — he at once de- 
termined to show that man that his confidence had not 
been misplaced; and that he would sooner die than 
knowingly offend^the only person who ever had under- 
stood him." 

It is wise sometimes, not only to withhold the ex- 
pression of suspicion, but to give some token of your 
confidence to the pupil who is troublesome. Intrust 
him with some errand involving reponsibility, or assign 
to him some duty by way of assistance to yourself, and 
very likely you will gain his good-will ever after. This 
is founded upon the well-known principle in human 
nature acted upon by Dr. Franklin, who, when he would 
gain his enemy, asked him to do him a favor. 


EMPLOYMENT. It is an old |.roverb that *^ idleness is 
the mother of mischief." The nursery hymn also con- 
tains a living truth— 

** And Satan finds some mischief still 
For idle hands to do." 

[t is the law of a child's nature to be active ; and ai 



The teacher may enforce employ ment.— Few rules. 

the teacher is placed in the school to give direction to 
such minds, he can hardly complain of their going< 
upon forbidden objects unless he seasonably provides 
something better for them to do. 

Very early, then, the teacher should endeavor to 
classify his school and furnish constant and full em- 
ployment — either of study, recitation, or relaxation — 
for every hour in the day. The teacher should have a 
plan when he opens the school, and the sooner it is 
carried into full operation the better.* Besides, when 
a teacher has given employment, he has a right to insist 
upon the pupil's being engaged in study. Nobody will 
question this right; and it is far more profitable to 
require a positive duty than to enjoin a negative, — 
such as abstinence from whispering or from mischief 
in general. 

IV. Make but few rules. It is a very common 
thing for teachers to embarrass themselves by a long 
code of requirements and prohibitions. Some go so 
far as to write out a system of laws, and, annexing to 
each the penalty for its infringement, oost them up in a 
conspicuous place in the schoolroom. Others content 
themselves with a verbal announcement of them, and 
rely upon the memories of the pupils to retain the de- 
tails of them and to govern themselves accordingly. 
This, it seems to me, is a great mistake. The multi 
plicity of specific rules for the government of a school, 
will naturally lead to a multiplicity of offenses. Chil- 

• See Chap, z of this work. 


Tlie world has been goyemed too much. — Do right. 

dren will be confused by the varying and sometimes 
conflicting demands of a formidable code of regulations, 
and in endeavoring to avoid Scylla will be likely to fall 
into Charybdis. It is believed by some honest states- 
men that " the world has been governed too much ;** 
and it is often alleged in support of this belief that 
successful compliance with the laws requires far more 
wisdom than was displayed in making them ; that is, 
the science of obedience is far more abstruse than the 
science of legislation! Whether this be true in the 
civil world or not, I shall not attempt to decide ; I will 
only say ^hat such has too often been the fact in the 

It is in my opinion the part of wisdom, and I think 
also the teaching of experience, that it is best to make 
but few rules. The great rule of duty, quoted once 
before, " Do unto others as you would that they should 
do to you," comprises quite enough to begin with. 
The direction — Do right, is a very comprehensive one. 
There is in children an ability to distinguish between 
right and wrong, upon which the teacher may ever 
rely; and by insisting upon this as the standard, he 
daily brings into exercise the conscience of the child, 
who is called upon to decide, is this right ? Besides, 
if a school is to be governed by a code of laws, the 
pupils will act upon the principle that whatever is not 
proscribed is admissible. Consequently without in- 
quiring whether an act is right, their only inquiry will 
be, is it forbidden ? Now no teacher was ever yet so 
wise as to make laws for every case ; the consequence 


Embarrassment in executing laws.— No dincretion. 

is, he is daily perplexed with unforeseen troubles, or 
with some ingenious evasions of his inflexible code. 
In all this matter the worst feature is the fact, that the 
child judges of his acts by the law of the teacher rather 
than by the law of his conscience, and is thus in danger 
of perverting and blunting the moral sense. 

To this it may be added that the teacher will often 
find himself very much perplexed in attempting to 
judge the acts of his pupils by fixed laws, and in 
awarding to all violations of them a prescribed penalty. 
Cases will frequently occur in which two scholars will 
offend against a given prohibition, with altogether dif- 
ferent intentions, — the one having* a good motive and 
forgetting the law ; the other with the law in his mind 
and having a wicked design to violate it. Now the 
written code with its prescribed penalty allows the 
(eacher no discreiion. He must maintain his law and 
punish both offenders, and thus violate his own sense 
of justice ; or he must pass both by, and thus violate 
his word. He cannot excuse the one and punish the 
other, as justice would evidently demand, without set 
ting at naught his own laws. 

An example will illustrate this point. A teacher has 
made a rule that "any child who whispers without 
leave shall be feruledP Now two little boys sit side 
by side. William is an amiable, obedient, and ailigent 
little boy, who has never violated intentionally any wish 
of his teacher; while Charles is a sour-tempered, 
vicious, unprincipled fellow, who a dozen times within 
a week has sought to make his teacher trouble. Little 


IlIustration.~A dilemma. 

John, who sits near to William, drops his pencil, and it 
falls under William's desk. John looks for his pencil 
on the right and left of his seat, grows anxious and 
perplexed. William has noticed him, and he carefully 
picks up the pencil, while he perhaps is looking for 
it in another direction, — and with the kind intention 
of relieving his neighbor's anxiety and restoring his 
property, he touches his elbow, and softly whispers, 
"Here is your pencil, John," — ^then immediately re- 
sumes his own studies, and is probably entirely uncon- 
scious that he has violated any law. At the same 
instant the artful Charles, half concealing his face with 
his hand, with his wary eye turned to the teacher, wil- 
fully addresses another pupil on some point in no way 
connected with study or duty. The teacher sees both 
these cases, and calls the offenders to his desk. The 
one trembles, and wonders what he has done amiss, 
while the other perhaps prepares himself to deny his 
offense, and thus to add falsehood to his other sins. 
The rule awards to both the ferule. It is applied to 
Charles with energy, and with the conviction that he 
deserves it ; but I ask, can a man with any sense of 
justice raise his hand to punish William ? If so, I see 
not how he can ever again hold converse with his own 
conscience. Yet the rule allows him no discretion. He 
must violate either the rule or his conscience ; and too 
often in such cases he chooses the latter alternative. 

Now my advice is, make but few rules, and never 
multiply them till circumstances demand it. The rule 
of right will usually be sufficient without any special 


Hiiit for young teachera.— Threatenin g.— Wake up mind. 

legislation ; and it has this advantage, that it leaves the 
teacher the largest discretion. 

I have been thus full on this point, because so many 
fail here, and especially young teachers. It has cost 
many a young teacher much bitter experience to mako 
this discovery for himself, and I have, desired to save 
others who may hereafter engage in teaching, the pain 
and perplexity which they may so easily and so safely 

For similar reasons, I should also urge that the 
teacher should avoid the too common practice of ihreaU 
ening in his school. Threatening is usually resorted 
to as a means of frightening children into their duty, — 
and, too often, threats are made without any expectation 
of a speedy necessity either to execute or disregard 
them. The consequence is, they are usually more ex 
travagant than the reality, and the teacher's word soon 
passes at a discount; his threats are viewed as very 
much like the barking of a dog who has no intention to 
bite. As threatening is moreover the language of im- 
patience, it almost always leads to a loss of respect. 

V. Wake up mind in the school, and in the dis 
TRicT. There is usually but very little trouble in 
government where the scholars are deeply engaged in 
their studies or school exercises, and especially if at 
the same time the feelings of the parents are enlisted. 
To this end I would reconmiend that early attention 
should be given to some efforts to wake up mind, such 
as have been described in a former section of this work. 
It will be found, when skilfully conducted, one of the 


Varieties in school.— Vocal mudc— German proverb. 

most successful instrumentalities in aid of good order 
and good feeling in the school. 

An ingenious teacher, too, may introduce other varie- 
ties into the school exercises, and thus sometimes turn 
the attention of discontented pupils from some evil 
design to give him trouble. So long as the teacher 
keeps steadily the main object of his school in view, 
namely, progress in the studies, he is excusable if occa- 
sionally, to break up monotony and excite a deeper 
interest, he introduces a well-considered new plan of 
study, or of recitation. Indeed, much of his success 
will depend upon his power to do this, and in nothing 
will its advantages appear more obviously than in the 
government of the school. A great portion of the dis- 
order and insubordination in our schools, has its origin 
in a want of interest in the school exercises. He is 
the successful teacher, and the successful disciplina- 
rian who can excite and maintain the necessary interest. 

As one of these varieties, I may mention the^ exercise 
of vocal music in school. I have already alluded to it 
As a nyeans of keeping alive the interest in a school, it 
is very important. Music is the language of the heart, 
and though capable of being grossly perverted, (and 
what gift of God is not?) — its natural tendency is to 
elevate the affections, to sooth the passions, and to 
refine the taste. 

" The Germans have a proverb," says Bishop Potter, 
" which has come down from the days of Luther, thai 
where music is not, the devil enters. As David took 
his harp, when he would cause the evil spirit to depart 


Music in heaven.— Easily introduced in schools.— Visit parents. 

■ ■ 

from Saul, so the Germans employ it to expel the 
obduracy from the hearts of tKe depraved. In their 
schools for the reformation of juvenile offenders, (and 
the same remark might be applied to those of our own 
country,) music has been found one of the most effect- 
ual means of inducing docility among the stubborn and 
vicious. It would seem that so long as any remains of 
humanity linger in the heart, it retains its susceptibility 
to music. And as proof that music is more powerful 
for good than for evil, is it not worthy of profound con- 
sideration that, in all the intimations which the Bible 
gives us of a future world, music is associated only 
with the employments and happiness of Heaven ?'' 

Almost any teacher can introduce music into his 
school ; because if he cannot sing, he will always find 
that it will only require a little encouragement to induce 
the scholars to undertake to conduct it themselves. It 
will consume but very little time, and it is always that 
time which, if not employed in singing, would otherwise 
be unemployed or misemployed. It is the united testi- 
mony of all who have judiciously introduced singing 
into their schools, that it is among the best instrumen- 
talities for the promotion of good feeling and good order. 

VI. Visit the parents op your scholars. I shall 
more particularly enjoin this, when I speak of the 
teacher's relation to his patrons^ [chap. xi. :] but I 
cannot forbear in this place to urge it upon the teachei 
as one of. the means of securing good order in school. 
A great deal of the insubordination in our schools, 
arises from some misunderstanding, or some dislike 


Reasons why.— Registera of credits.— Wliy credits, 

entertained by the parent towards the teacher, ^nd 
spoken of in presence of the children. Whatever the 
pupils hear at home, they will be likely to exemplify 
in school. It should be the teacher's first object to 
become acquainted with the parent, and to let him un- 
dersti^nd, by a personal interview, all his plans and 
aims for the improvement of the school. This can be 
done best at the parent's own fireside. It has often 
happened, that by a friendly visit of an hour by the 
teacher, the parent's heart has been softened, his 
prejudices removed, his co-operation gained, and the 
cheerful and cordial obedience of his children in school 

These visits should of course be made in the true 
spirit of the teacher. They should be made in the 
honest desire of his heart to render his labors more 
successful. A visit made in such a spirit seldom fails 
to make the parents personal friends ever after ; and 
of course, in case of a collision afterwards between him 
and their children, this is a very important point. 

VII. Registers of Credits. Registersi of the 
standing of pupils in their schools and their classes, are 
very highly recommended by some, whose experience 
is entitled to confidence. 1 am inclined to place this 
among the means of securing good order. I would 
recomiTiend, however, that they should be registers of 
credits only. Some recommend the use of ^^ black 
marksy*^ that is, the record of prominent faults and per- 
haps of puniihrnents. My own experience teaches me 
that this is unwise. «The teacher should qot show a 


Govenunent not the bodnen of the teacher.— Mr. Howard's remaik. 

willingness to record and publish the faults of a pupil. 
He should, on the contrary, show a tender regard for 
his reputation. Besides, the child is less likely to be 
mindful of his duty, when his reputation is already 
blackened by his teacher. If Registers are to be kept 
at all, they should record the successes and virtues of 
the child rather than his failures and faults. And if, at 
the end of a week or a month, he is furnished with an 
abstract for the inspection of his parents, let it be so 
much of good character as he has earned for himself 
during the specified time. ^ 

I confess I am less sanguine than many others as to 
the utility of the register, either as an incentive to obe- 
dience or diligence ; but if used at all, I think the abo\e 
restriction is highly important. 

VIII. Avoid governing too much. By this I would 
be understood to urge upon the teacher the fact that 
his main business in school is instruction and not gov- 
emment. Government is a means and not the end of 
school-keeping. A very judicious and practical teacher 
— Mr. R. S. Howard — has well remarked : " The real 
object to be accomplished, the real end to be obtained 
in school, is to assist the pupil in acquiring knowledge, 
— to educate the mind and heart. To effect this, good 
order is very necessary. But when order is made to 
take the place of industry, and discipline the place of 
instruction, where the time of both teacher and pupils is 
mostly spent in watching each other, very little good 
will be accomplished." 

It is a mistake that many teachers fall into, that they 


An official viat.— " Order, there!"— A Bceue. 

^^^— ■■'■ " m ■■» ,.— .^^m. I,- ■■ - ■ ■ - — -— ■ I I !■ ■■■! ■ ■■■■■ ■^^^■^■^-^■^^i^— 

seem to :*egard government as their chief occupation ; 
and, as we should naturally expect in -such cases, it is 
often very poorly exercised. .That is not the best gov- 
ernment which is maintained as a matter of fox*i2idl 
business. The noiseless under-current is far more 
efficient. I have always noticed that men govern best 
when they do not seem to govern; and those who 
make most effort and bustle about it themselves, are 
pretty sure to have the most boisterous schools. 

I once in company with a friend officially visited a 
school where the teacher, a man of strong frame — six 
feet high, and with lungs in proporiton^ was laboring 
to keep order. Every word he uttered was in a stento- 
rian voice which would have been painful to the pupils 
in a quiet room ; hence, they took care to keep up a 
constant clattering of books, slates, and rulers, mingled 
with the constant hum of their own voices, as if for 
self-defense. It seemed to be a mighty eflfort of each 
party to rise if possible above the noise of the other. 
" Silence ! Order ! I say," was constantly ejaculated 
in a voice that was almost sufficient, as Shakspeare's 
Hamlet would say, to " split the ears of the ground- 

One of the most ludicrous scenes I ever witnessed, 
occurred in this school during an exercise in English 
grammar. The class occupied the back seats, while 
the teacher stood by the desk in front of the school. 
The children between the teacher and his class were 
variously employed, — some manufacturing paper fly- 
boxes, some whittling the benches — (it was in New 


Paiaiiig !— A dialogue.—" The Rule, sir. 


England); some \v ere. trying their skill at a spit-ball 
warfare ; others were making voyages of exploration 
beneath the seats. The school, consisting of some 
seventy pupils, were as busy as the occupants of an 
ant-hill. The sentence to be parsed was, ** A good boy 
loves study." No written description can present the 
scene as it was acted in real life. 

It should be borne in mind that every word spoken 
by the teacher, whether to the class or to the schoci, 
was in a tone of voice which might have been heard at 
leust an eighth of a mile, and that every exclamation 
was accompanied by several energetic thumps of a 
large oaken ' rulS upon the lid of his desk. The Ian 
guage of the teacher is in italics. " Mary, parse A." 
" A is an indefinite" — " Silence ! Order there /" — " ar- 
ticle, and is prefixed to" — ^^JohnT — "No sir, it is 
prefixed to" — " Martha, Martha ! sit up^'* — " it is pre- 
fixed to— boy."— " Right:'—'' Good, next:'—'' Good 
is an adjective," — " Order, Order, Order /" — thump, 
thump, thump ! — " Go on, go on, I hear you /" — 
thump, thump ! — *' and belongs to" — " Speak louder! 
Sit up there ! What are you doing ? And belongs 
tor— "hoy :'—" The Rule. Tlie Rule ! I say:'— 
Here several children looked earnestly at the pieco 
of limber he held in his hand. — " The Rule, sir, the 
Rnh " — thump, thump ! — " You've got it in your 
hand," vociferated a little harmless-looking fellow on 
tb? front seat, while the scholar proceeded to recite the 
.rule. — ** Adjectives belong to" — "Lazy, lazy fellow ! 
sit up there:' — Here the class smiled, and the scholar 


A Babel.— Who made it?— Another visit. 

completed his rule, asserting however that " adjectives 
belong to nouns," and not to " lazy fellowSy^ as the class 
seemed to understand the master to teach. Word after 
word was parsed in this way, (a way of teaching our 
language, which, if we could know it had been prac- 
tised at the erection of Babel, would sufficiently account 
for that memorable confusion of tongues without the 
intervention of a miracle,) till the teacher, nearly ex- 
hausted by this strange combination of mental, oral, 
and manual labors very much to the relief of all, vocif- 
erated " Thafll do r and the scene was changed. 

At the close of the afternoon, we were told that " it 
was a very hard school, that it was almost impossible 
to keep order, and that he should be discouraged were 
it not that he saw a manifest improvement within a few 
days past !" 

Now this teacher made the school virhat it was, by 
his own manner. He would have done the same in 
any school. He taught in the most effectual way the 
science and art of confusion ; and notwithstanding the 
hard name he gave his school, he was emphatically the 
most disorderly and noisy member of it. 

There was a change. On another day, accompanied 
by the same friend, we presented ourselves at the door 
of this same room for admittance. We heard no sound 
as we approached the entrance, and almost began to 
suspect we should find there was no school within. 
We knocked ;. and presently, without our hearing the 
footstep of the person who approached, the door opened, 
knd we passed in. The children looked up a moment 


A new teacher.— Good order.— The secret. 

as we entered, and then bent their eyes upon their 
lessons. The teacher softly handed us seats, and then 
proceeded with the recitation. His manner was quiet 
and deliberate, and the school was orderly ar.d busy. 
He had no rule in his hand, no heavy boots on his feet, 
(he had exchanged them for slippers on entering the 
school,) and no other means of giving emphasis to his 
words. He kindly requested, — never commanded, — 
and every thing seemed to present the strongest con- 
trast with the former scene. The hour of dismission 
arrived, and the scholars quietly laid by their books, 
and as quietly walked out of the house, and all was 

" How have you secured this good order ?" said we 
to the teacher. " I really do not know," said he with 
a smile, *' I have said nothing about order." " But 
have you had no difficulty from noisy scholars ?" " A 
little at first ; but in a day or two they seemed to be 
come quiet, and we have not been troubled since." 

Now the secret was, that this latter teacher had 
learned to govern himself. His own manner gave 
character to the school. So it will ever be. A man 
will govern more by his manner than in any other 

There is, too, such a thing as keeping a school too 
still by over-government. A man of firm nerve can, 
by keeping up a constant constraint both in himself and 
pupils, force a deathlike silence upon his school. You 
may hear a pin drop at any time, and the figure of 
everv child is as if moulded in cast iron. But, be it 


Excemive silence.— Recapitulation.— Force sometimes needfuL 

remembered, this is the stillness of constraint, not the 
stillness of activity. It is an unhealthy state both of 
body and mind, and when attained by the most vigilant 
care of the teacher, is a condition scarcely to be desired. 
There should be silence in school, a serene and sooth 
ing quiet; but it should if possible be the quiet of 
cheerfulness and agreeable devotion to study, rather 
than the " palsy of fear." 

Thus far I have confined myself to those qualifica 
tions in the teacher, and to those means which, under 
ordinary circumstances and in most districts, would in 
my opinion secure good order in our schools. With 
the qualifications I have described in the mental and 
moral condition of the teacher, and the means and sug- 
gestions above detailed — combined, I believe a very 
large majority of our schools could be most success- 
fully governed without any appeal Xofear or force. 

But as some schools are yet in a very bad state, 
requiring more than ordinary talents and skill to control 
them ; and as very many of those who must teach for a 
long time to come have not, and cannot be expected to 
have all the qualifications described, and much less the 
moral power insisted on, it is unreasonable to expect, 
taking human nature as it is, and our teachers as they 
are, that all can govern their schools without some 
appeals to the lower motives of children, and some 
resort to coercion as ar. instrumentality. I should 


Punishment defined.— C^omments on definition. 

leave this discussion very incomplete, therefore, were 
T not to present my views upon the subject of 


As a great deal has been written and spoken upon 
the subject of school punishments, I deem it important 
that the term, as I intend to use it, should be defined at 
the outset. I submit the following definition : 

Punishment is pain inflicted upon the mind or 
body of an individual by the authority to which 
he rs subject ,* with a view either to reform him, 
or to deter others from the commission of of- 
fenses, or both. 

It is deemed essential to the idea of punishment that 
the inflictor have legitimate authority over the subject 
of il, — otherwise the act is an act of usurpation. It is 
also essential that the inflictor should have a legitimate 
object in view, such as the reformation of the individ- 
ual or of the community in which his example has 
exerted an influence, — otherwise the act becomes an 
abuse of power. Infliction for the purpose of retalia- 
tion for an insult or injury, is not punishment ; it is 
revenge. Whenever, therefore, a teacher resorts to such 
infliction to gratify his temper, or to pay off, as it is 
expressed in common language, the bad conduct of a 
pupil, without any regard to his reformation or the pre- 
vention of similar offenses in the school, the pain he 
mflicts is not punishment ; it is cruelty. Very great 
mportance is to be attached to the motive in this ma- 


Whence authority is derived.— Dr. Webster.— A comoioii error. 

ter ; because the same infliction upon the same indi- 
victual and for the same offense, may either be just and 
proper punishment, or it may be the most unjustifiable 
and revengeful abuse, according to the motive of the 

The authority to inflict punishment in general, is 
either by the constitution of God or of civil society. 
'' The punishment of the faults anpl offenses of children 
by the parent," says Dr. Webster, " is by virtue of the 
right of government with which the parent is invested 
by God himself." The right to punish the offenses of 
children while at school, is by the common ]aw vested 
in the teacher, as the representative of the parent for 
the time being. It is the declaration of this law as in- 
terpreted from time immemorial, that the teacher is in 
loco parentis — ^in place of the parent. 

Some have alleged that fear and shame, the two 
principles addressed by punishment, are among the 
lowest in our nature ; and have hence endeavored to 
show that punishment is always inexpedient, if not in- 
deed always wrong. To this 1 answer, that both fear 
and shame are incorporated in our nature by God him- 
self; and hence I infer they are there for a wise pur- 
pose. I find, moreover, that God himself, in his word 
and in his providence, does appeal to both of these 
principles ; and hence I infer that punishment in the 
abstract is not wrong, and after the higher motives 
have been addressed, not altogether inexpedient. 

Living in a community as we do, where the right of 

punishment in general, is assumed by our government, 



The right aMnmed.— Flan of diflcunioii.— Two cIj 

and the right of teachers to punish is conceded by our 
laws, I do not feel called upon to establish the right by 
argument; I shall assume that the teacher has the 
right to punish in the sense in which I have defined 
punishment, — and shall therefore proceed to consider 
the various kinds of punishments used in our schools, 
and to distinguish those which are justifiable from those 
which are not ; and also to consider some of the con- 
ditions and limitations of their use. 

In preparing the way to do this, I may remark that 
punishments consist of two classes. 1. Those which 
address themselves directly to the mind ; as privation 
from privileges, loss of liberty, degradation, some act 
of humiliation, reproof, and the like. 2. Those which 
address the mind through the body ; as the imposition 
of a task— labor, for instance, — requiring the pupil to 
take some painful attitude, inflicting bodily chastise- 
ment, &c. 

I have mentioned theaj two classes for the purpose 
of calling attention to the fact, that there are those who 
approve of the first class, and at the same time denounce 
the second, scouting the idea of reaching the mind 
through the senses of the body. This seems to me, 
however, to indicate a want of attention to the laws of 
our being ; for in the economy of nature we are made 
at every point sensitive to pain as a means of guarding 
against injury. Why has the Creator studded the en- 
tire surface of our bodies with the extremities of nerves, 
whose function is to carry to the brain with lightning 
speed the intelligence of the approach of danger ? And 


Mind may be reached throagh the body.— Improper pmushmenti. 

why should this intelligence be transmitted, if its object 
is not to influence the will, either to withdraw the suf- 
fering part from immediate danger, or to avoid those 
objects which cause the pain ? The mind, then, by the 
economy of nature, or rather by the arrangement of 
God, is capable of being influenced through the bodily 
sensations ; and those who deny this, either do not ob- 
serve attentively, or, observing, do not reason fairly as 
to the laws of our being. With these preliminary 
observations, I now proceed to consider, 

I. Improper Punishments Some punishments are 
always wrong, or at least always inexpedient. The 
infliction of them either implies a wrong feeling on the 
part of the teacher, or it promises no wholesome result 
on the part of the pupil. I shall mention in detail, 
1. Those that from their nature excite the feeling in 
the pupil, that an indignity has been committed against 
his person. No man is ready to forgive another for 
wringing his nose. There is almost a universal senti- 
ment that this organ is specially exempted from such 
insult. Nearly the same feeling exists as to pinching 
or pulling the ear, or twisting the hair, or snapping 
the forehead. Each child feels that these parts of his 
person are not to be trifled with, and the feeling is 
natural and proper. Now, though it is not common for 
leacliers to wring the noses of their pupils, it is very 
common for them to do each of the other things enu- 
merated. I have often seen such punishments, but 1 
think I never saw any good come of them. The pupil 
always looked as if the teacher hid done despite towaitl 


Head to be exempted from infliction.— Scolding. 

his person. Whenever I have seen the teacher twist 
the locks of a child's hair about his finger till the tears 
would start in the eye, I have supposed the feelings 
called forth were any thing but desirable, — ^any thing 
but favorable to reformation. A pupil must love his 
teacher very strongly, to be able to keep his temper 
from rising under such circumstances; and there is 
great doubt whether either of these punishments does 
any thing to secure cheerful obedience in the child one 
time in a hundred ; probably in ninety-nine cases in the 
hundred the evil passions are very much strengthened 
by them. Besides, these are undignified modes of 
punishment. They savor so much of a weak and 
childish impatience, that the pupils find it hard to 
respect a man, much more to love him, who will stoop 
to so small a way of giving vent to his angry feelings. 
Snapping the forehead is subject to strong physiological 
objections ; and, as a general rule, the head and its ap 
purtenances should be exempted from penal violence. 

In this place I may very properly allude to another 
mode of assailing the ears of children, quite as undig- 
nified in itself and quite as unprofitable in its results as 
pulHng them, — and until they are hardened to it by 
familiarity, probably more painful. I refer, I need not 
say, to scolding. This is a punishment altogether 
too common. There is a physiological law, that the 
exercise of any organ will give it greater strength and 
generally greater celerity. From this fact, and the ad- 
ditional one, that the more a child is scolded the harder 
is heart becomes, so Xhi t here, as in the Rule of ThreOi 


Poor investment.— Cockney blackgnanluim.— Examples. 

' more requires more," — it follows that those who once 
begin to scold, are fortunate if they stop short of high 
attainments in the art. 

There is no enterprise in which the investment yields 
so small a profit as in the business of scolding. It is 
really pitiable to witness the teacher given to this prac 
tice, making himself and aU around him unhappy, 
without the hope of alleviation. The command of the 
tongue is a great virtue in a teacher ; and it is to be 
feared that very many children still suffer in their moral 
feelings* as well as their ears, because so many teachers 
do not seasonably learn the right control of the ^* unruly 

While upon this subject, I may allude to another 
very objectionable mode of address practised by some 
teachers toward their schools. I refer to a mixture of 
scolding with a species of low wit or cockney black* 
guardism, that should ever be banished from the school- 
room. Such expressions as, ** Sit down, John, or I'll 
shiver your top-timbers,^^ — " Attend to your studies, or 
some of you will be a head shorter,*^ — " Keep quiet, or 
you'll hear thunder," — ^and the like. To these I might 
add those empty and debasing threats which are too 
often and too thoughtlessly uttered ; as, " I'll skin you 
alive," or " I'll shake you to pieces," or " I'll use you 

* A UacksmJth, it is said, who had been accustomed to scold his family, 
jnite too freely, was one day attempting to hanlen a piece of steel ; but 
failing after two or three attempts, his little son, who had been an observer 
of this as well as other operations of his fatlier, is said to have exclaimed, 
'* Scold ittfather^ aeold it if that won't harden it, nothing eUi wiUJ* 


Beg paidon.~Mi9take aboat it— Goldsmith. 

up," — ^with Others of the same character. I perhaps 
ought to beg pardon for placing these vulgarisms before 
the general reader ; but they are so frequently employed 
in our schools, in some of our schools of good repute 
too, that I thought it to be my duty to qtcote them, (for 
they are all literal quotations,) in order if possible to aid 
those who have fallen into such a low habit to see 
themselves as others see them. 

It is so very easy for a teacher to raise a laugh among 
his pupils, that he is in danger of being seduced into 
the use of coarse and quaint expressions by the suppo- 
sition that they are witty. But the mirth of schoolboys 
is not a more reliable criterion of wit in the modem 
teacher than it was in the case of the schoolmaster de- 
scribed by Goldsmith ; and possibly the exercise of a 
little discernment on his p^rt would convince him that 
children sometimes laugh, as they did of old, because 
they think it prudent to do so. 

" A man severe he was and stem to view, 
I knew him well, and every truant knew ; 
Well had the boding tremblers learned to trace 
Tlie day's disasters in his morning face ; 
Full well they laughed, with counterfeited giee. 
At ail his jokes, for many a joke had he I" 

It is unquestionably true that there are schools and 
many such, now of high standing, the language of whose 
teachers, could it be noted down and printed for the 
parents, would perfectly astonish them ; and such is 
the force of habit, it would very likely astonish the 
teachers the;nselves. Let all who mean to respect 
themselves, or who desire to be long respected by 



Prolonged tortures.— The Bible at aim's length. 

Others, most carefully avoid the first approach to the 
use of such kind of language. Its influence in school 
is " only evil, and that continually.'* 

2. Those punishments that from their nature imply 
in the inflictor a love of prolonged torture. These are 
|uite numerous, and are resorted to often for the purpose 
jf avoiding what is usually deemed severer punishment, 
^ome of them also have very serious physiological ob- 
,*i"tions. As an instance, I may mention the holding of 
a weight at arm's length until the muscles of the arm 
become painful from over-exertion and fatigue, Some« 
times the Bible, being the largest book at hand, is 
chosen as ^he weight ; and thus that book, which should 
have no associations connected with it in the minds of 
the young but those of reverence and love, is made the 
. nstrument ef torture — the minister of cruelty ! 

Imagine that you see — ^what I have seen — an offend- 
ing boy called to the teacher's desk, and, after words 
of reproach, sentenced to hold the large Bible at arm's 
length for a specified time, or until the teacher is will- 
ing to release him. At first it is raised with a smile 
of triumph, almost a smile of contempt. Soon the 
muscles thus exerted at disadvantage begin to be weary 
and to relax " Hold it up !" exclaims the vigilant 
teacher ; and it is again brought to its position. Sooner 
than before the muscles are fatigued, and they almost 
refuse to obey the mandate of the will, which itself is 
half willing to rebel against authority so unreasonable. 
" Up with it !" — again brings it to its place, or perhaps 
a stroke of the ratan repeats the command with more 


PhyBiological effects.— Moral effects.— Hold a nail ! 

■ - 

urgency. At this moment every nerve sympathizes, 
and the muscles are urged on to their greatest effort. 
The limb is in agony, — and what agony can surpass 
that of an overstrained muscle ? — and the whole system 
reels and writhes with suflfering. Now look into that 
child's face, and tell me, what is the moral efiect of 
this sort of punishment ? Unless he is one of the most 
amiable of the sons of Adam, he inwardly curses the 
cruelty that he thinks is delighted with pangs like these, 
protracted yet intolerable. He almost curses the blessed 
book which was given to warm his soul into life and 
immortality. He cries with pain, but«ot with penitence. 
He may submit, indeed, and he may abstain from sim- 
ilar offenses in time to come ; but it is the submission 
of self-preservation, and the abstinence of an eye-ser- 
vant, — while the stain that has thus been inwrought ii: 
his moral sensibilities, may long remain unexpunged. 
Such a punishment I unhesitatingly pronounce to be 
improper^ whatever may be the circumstances. 

Akin to this are those other contrivances to give 
prolonged pain, which in different parts of the country 
have taken a variety of forms, and as great a variety 
of names. One of these has been termed " holding 
a nail into the floor,^^ It consists in requiring the 
pupil to bend forward, — and, placing the end of a single 
finger upon the head of a nail, to remain in that posi- 
tion till the whole system is agonized. Another has 
by some of its inflictors been termed *' silting on 
nothing." The pupil is required to place his back 
against a wall of the room, and his feet perhaps a foot 


Sitting on nothing.— Ou wor§e than nothing.— Ridicule. 

from its base, and then to slide his body down till the 
knees are bent at right angles, and his person is in a 
sitting posture without a seat ! The muscles, acting 
over the knee at the greatest disadvantage, are now 
made to support the body in that position during the 
pleasure of the teacher. I have seen another mode of 
punishment practised, and as I have heard no name 
for it, I shall give it the cognomen of "sitting on worse 
than nothing.'' The boy in this case was required to 
sit upon the floor, and then, placing the feet upon a 
bench or chair, to support the body in an erect position 
by reversed action of the muscles I 

But I gladly turn away from a description of the 
punishments I have witnessed in the common schools 
of New England within a quarter of a century, ex 
hibiting as they do so many characteristics of the 
dark ages. Some of these I have witnessed quite 
recently ; and to what extent s^ny or all of them are 
now in use, I am unable to say. I only desire 
to say, that they are all improper,— debasing to the 
morals of the pupils, and degrading to the profession 
of the teacher ; and the sooner such punishments are 
entirely banished from our school-rooms, the sooner 
will the profession of the teacher rise to its proper 

3. Ridicule. This is a weapon that should not 
be wielded as a school-punishment. It often cuts 
deeper than he who uses it imagines ; and it usually 
gives most pain where it is least merited. Some 
physical defect, or some mental incapacity, or eccen- 


Why objectionable.— Loss of love— of confidence 

tricity, is most frequently made the subject of it ; and 
yet nothing can be more unfeeling or more unjust than 
its use in such cases. If the designed failings of the 
indolent, or the premeditated mischief of the vicious^ 
could be subjected to its influence, its use would be 
more allowable, — but even then it would be question- 
able But the indolent and the vicious are usually 
undirected by ridicule. They sin upon calculation, 
and not without counting the cost ; and they are 
therefore very willing to risk their reputation, where 
they have so little to lose. It is the modest, the 
conscientious, the well-meaning child, that is most 
affected by ridicule ; yet it is such a one that, for 
various reasons, is oftenest made the subject of it, 
though of all others, his feelings should be most 
tenderly spared. 

A strong objection to the use of ridicule, is the 
feeling which it induces between the teacher and 
pupil. The teacher, conscious that he has injured 
the feelings of the child, will find it hard to love 
him afterwards ; for we seldom love those whom we 
have injured. The child, on the other hand, loses 
confidence in his teacher; he feels that his sensibilities 
have been outraged before his companions, and that 
the teacher, who should be his best friend in the 
school, has invited the heartless laugh of his fellow- 
pupils against him. With a want of love on the one 
hand, and of confidence on the other, what further 
usefulness can reasonably be expected ? 

But the strongest objection of all to the use of 


School-mates iiyured.— Hiss.— Little Mary.— A scene. 

ridicule, is. the fact that it calls forth the worst of 
feelings in the school. Those who participate in the 
laugh thus excited, are under the influence of no very 
amiable motives. And when this is carried so far as 
to invite, by direct words, some expression from the 
schoolmates, by pointing the finger of shame, and 
perhaps accompanying the act by a hiss of scorn, 
the most deplorable spirit of self-righteousness is 

Little Mary one day was detected in a wrong 
act by her teacher. " Mary, come here," said the 
teacher, sternly. Little thinking she had been seen, 
she obeyed promptly, and stood by the chair of her 
teacher, who, without giving Mary time to reflect, 
and thus allow the conscience opportunity to gain 
the mastery, immediately asked, ** What naughty 
thing did I see you do just now ?" " Nothing," 
said Mary, partly dispSsed to justify herself, and 
partly doubting whether indeed the teacher had seen 
her du any thing wrong. " Oh, Mary, Mary, who 
would think you would tell me a lie ! Did you 
ever hear of Ananias and Sapphira ?" Here a lecture 
followed on the sin and danger of lying, and particu- 
larly the danger of sudden death by llie vengeance 
of God. Mary began to tremble, and then to weep, 
probably from terror. Now came the second part. 
*' I should think you would be ashamed to be known 
to lie. All the children now know that you have lied. 
I should think they would feel ashamed of such a 
naughty Uttle girl in the school. I should not wonder ' 


Self-righteoufioeas.— Defiance—Freezing the affections. 

she continued, '' if all the little girls and boys should 
point their fingers at you and hiss^^ In an instant, 
all the children who were not too old to be disgusted 
with the management and tone of the teacher, pointed 
their fingers, and uttered a long succession of hisses, 
while their faces beamed with all the complacency 
of self-righteousness, triumphing over the fall of a 
companion, who perhaps was after all as good, and 
as truthful a child as any of them. The poor child 
at first turned her back upon them ; but soon, feeling 
that her reputation was gone, she turned, as woman 
ever will when her self-respect is blighted, with a look 
of indifference, almost a look of defiance. Fear was 
first swallowed up in shame, and shame gave place 
to reckless audacity. The whole scene was rendered 
still more ruinous to the child, from the fact that it took 
place in the presence of visitors ! 

When will our teachers learn the human heart 
well enough to be able to distinguish between a work 
of devastation and of true culture ; between a process 
of blighting the sensibilities, searing the conscience, 
freezing up the fountains of sympathy, and of mutual 
love and confidence, — and a course of training which 
warms the conscience into activity, inculcates the 
reverence and love of God, instead of a slavish fear 
of his power, and instils into the soul a desire to do 
right, rather than to do that which will avoid the 
reproach of an unfeeling multitude, more wicked than 
those they censure ? Goldsmith has shown that wo- 
man may ^' stoop to conquer ;" but the above narrative 


Let teachers think.— Proper puoishments.— Reproof in private. 

shows how she may stoop, not to conquer, but to lay 
waste the youthful heart. 

These punishments, and such as these, which 1 
hare classed under the list of improper punishments, 
■hould all be carefully considered by the tether. 
They should be considered before he enters his school. 
It, would be well always for him to determine before- 
hand what punishments he will not use. It may save 
him many a serious mistake. I have written what I 
have under this head, in order to put teachers upon 
thought ; believing that men seldom earnestly and 
honestly inquire, without arriving at the truth in the 

II. Proper punishments. Every teacher's mind 
should, if possible, be settled, as to what punishments 
are proper, so that when they are inflicted, it can 
be done in good faith, and with an honest conviction 
of the performance of duty. Among the proper 
punishments, I may mention, 

1. Kind Reproof. This will probably be conceded 
by all. I say kind reproof, because no other reproof 
can be useful. I would distinguish it from reproach. 
Reproof, judiciously administered, is one of the most 
effectual punishments that can be used. As a general 
rule, this is best administered privately. The child's 
spirit of obstinacy is very likely to exhibit itself in the 
presence of his fellows ; but in private, the conscience 
IS free to act, and the child very readily submits. It is 
al «vays perfectly safe to reprove privately ; that is, not 
in the presence of the school. The child has no 



Loss of privileges, consequent upon abu8e.--Confineroent. 

motive to misrepresent the teacher ; and if the teacher 
so far spares the reputation of the pupil, as to take 
him by himself, this very circumstance will often give ' 
the teacher access to his better feelings. 

2. Loss of Privileges. By abuse of privileges we 
forfeit them. This is a law of Providence. It is un- 
questionably proper that this should be a law of our 
schools. All those offenses, therefore, against propriety 
in the exercise of any privilege, may be attended with 
a temporary or permanent deprivation of such privilege. 
A pupil who is boisterous at the recess, disturbing the 
quiet of the school or impeding the enjoyment of his 
playfellows, may be deprived of the recess. A child, 
who disfigures his seat with his knife, may be deprived 
of his knife ; "and sg for any other similar offense. 
Some consider it proper to extend*this puniishment to 
other classes of offenses, as, for example, whispering 
or idleness. While I would not deny the right or the 
propriety of doing so, I should think it more expedient 
not thus to extend it. It is well, as far as it can be 
done, so to punish the child, that he shall see that his 
conduct naturally leads to its punishment as a conse- 
quence. And it is moreover very probable that in most 
schools there will be demand enough for this punish- 
ment, in its natural application, without extending it to 
other cases. 

3. Restraint, or confinement. When liberty is 
abused, a scholar may be put under restraint. When 
duty is violated, and the rights of others are wantonly 
disregarded, confinement will afford time for reflection, 


II * 

,Not in a dark room.— Why not 1— Humiliation.— Seldom. 

and at the same time relieve others from the annoyance 
and detriment of evil example. Such restraint is often 
a wkolesome discipline ; and confinement, if it be not too 
far protracted, is always safe. It should be remarked, 
however, that confinement in a dark apartment should 
never be resorted to by any teacher. There are insu- 
perable objections to it, growing out of the fears which 
many children early entertain of being alone in the dark, 
as also the fact that light as well as air is necessary to 
the vigorous action of the nervous system during the 
waking hours, especially in the daytime. It is well 
known that a child shut up in a dark room even in the 
warmth of summer, speedily undergoes a depression 
of temperature ; and if the confinement is unduly pro- 
tracted, cold chills come over the system. For these 
reasons, and others, if confinement is ever used as a 
punishment, it should be in a room properly lighted and 
heated. Our prisoners enjoy, as far as may be, both 
of these favors. 

4. Humiliation, This should be resorted to with 
great caution. When a fault has been openly commit- 
ted, and attended with circumstances of peculiar obsti- 
nacy, it may sometimes very properly be required of 
the offender that he should confess the fault in a man- 
ner as public as its commission. This may be due to 
the school. Sometimes when an offensive act is very 
strongly marked, a confession and a request for the for- 
giveness of the teacher or the individual injured may 
be made a condition of restoration to favor. This is 
usually considered a very proper punishment. I would 


A task.— When and how. 

however suggest, that it be used with great care, and 
never unless the circumstances imperatively demand 
it. It may be the means of cultivating the grossest 
hypocrisy, or of inducing open rebellion ; and it some- 
tirnes gives the other pupils an advantage over the 
culprit, which may do him personally much harm. 
The teacher should be convinced that this is the best 
thing he can do, before he resorts to it. 

5. TTie imposition of a task. In every school there 
is more or less work to be done ; such as sweeping 
the floors, washing the benches, preparing the fuel, 
and making the fires. Unless objection should be made 
by parents, this is one of the most effectual punish- 
ments, especially in cities and large villages, where 
work is a burden, and the attractions of play are most 
powerful. Some difficult schools have been governed 
for months with no other punishment than labor thus 
imposed. The plan is, that if two boys neglect their 
studies so as to attract the attention of the teacher, they 
shall be nominated as members of the committee on 
sweeping, — a duty to be performed after school hours. 
If one or two more are decidedly disorderly, they shall 
be required to make fires, bring up wood, or perhaps 
wash a certain portion of the room. This is always 
assigned pleasantly by the teacher, with the under 
standing, however, that any failure to do the allotted 
work thoroughly and faitiifuUy, will be attended with a 
reappointment till the object is secured. 

K parents should object to this, it is not absolutely 
essential to the teacher's success ; but where no objec- 


An objection.— Answer.'Not strongly urged.— The rod. 

tion is made, if judiciously managed, it may do very 
much in many of our schools towards producing that 
quiet order, which otherwise it might require more 
cogent and less agreeable means to secure. 

It has sometimes been urged as an objection to this 
iQode of punishment, that it would tend to attach the 
dea of disgrace to useful labor. It is conceived that 
his is by no means the necessary consequence. On 
he other hand, it would serve to teach the difference 
Sere always is between a duty imposed and one vol- 
*«^ntarily undertaken. The same objection would apply 
tr* our prison discipline, where a man by a wilful dis- 
regard of law and the rights of others, very justly for- 
feits his services for a time to the state. 

I would not lay very much stress upon this mode ot 
punishment, though I have known it resorted to under 
favorable circumstances with very good effect. It would 
of ccurs^** be more effectual in a large town or city than 
in the country, where boys are in the habit of laboring 
at home, ard vould be quite as willing to labor after 
regular hours u school. 

6. Actual chascr$,*ment with the rod of correction. I 
have no hesitation (though others have) in placing this 
among thp class of proper punishments. As this in- 
volves a great question on the subject of school govern- 
ment, and one that is debated with great zeal and 
warmth in almost every educational meeting that is 
held, I shall feel justified in giving a little more space 
o the consideration of it. 


Caiporal puniBhment.*-View8 of others.— Nothing to coj¥«al. 


I am aware that when I enter this field I am tread* 
ing on ground every inch of which has been disputed. 
I come to the task of writing on this subject, however, 
I think, without prejudice or asperity. Having noth- 
ing to conceal, I shall express my own views honestly 
and frankly, — ^views which I entertain after iiligently 
seeking the truth for some twenty years, during which 
time I have listened to a great deal of discussion, and have 
read carefully and candidly whatever has been written 
by others. Nor do I expect to give universal satisfac- 
tion. There are strong men, and I believe honest men, 
who run to the opposite extremes in their doctrine and 
practice, and who defend the one course or the other 
as if the existence of the world depended upon the 
issue. There are those, who not only claim the right 
to chastise, but who insist that whipping should be the 
first resort of the teacher in establishing his authority ; 
and to show that this is not a dormant article of their 
faith, they daily and almost hourly demonstrate their 
eiSciency in the use of the rod, so that their pupils 
may be living witnesses that they act in accordance 
with their creed. Again, there are others who as ear 
nestly deny the right of the teacher to resort to the rod 
at all, and who urge with all their power the efficacy 
of moral suasion to subdue and control the vicious and 
the stubborn in our schools ; and who are ready to 
assert unequivocally that no man is fit to be employed 


Men see differently.— A privilege claimed. — Authority at any rate. 

to teach the young, who has not the ability to govern 
all the various dispositions he may meet in any school, 
without the use of corporal punishment. 

I have no disposition to question the ^ sincerity and 
honesty of each of these classes, knowing as I do, that 
different men see with different eyes, even when the 
circumstances are the same ; much more when their 
circumstances are widely diverse. I have no bitterness 
of language to apply to those who go to the extreme of 
severity ; nor any sneer to bestow upon the name of 
*' moral-suasionist." But while I accord to other men 
the right of expressing their own opinions, I claim the 
8am& privilege for myself, — ^yet without wishing to 
obtrude my opinions upon other men any further than 
they will bear the test of reason and experience. 

It is agreed on all hands that the teacher must estab- 
lish authority in some way^ before he can pursue sue- 
cessfully the objects of his school. I have described 
the qualifications which the teacher should possess in 
order to govern well, and I have also given some of 
the means of securing good order without a resort to 
severity. Probably in a large majority of our schools, 
the teacher with these qualifications and the employ- 
ment of these means, could succeed in establishing 
and maintaining good order without any such resort. 
This should in my opinion always be done, if possible, 
— and no one will rejoice more than myself to see the 
day, should that day ever come, when teachers shall 
be so much improved as to be able to do this univer- 
•aUy* But in writing oa this subject, it is the dictate 



We mart take the world as it is.— Mr. Mann quoted. 

of common sense to take human nature as it is, and 
human teachers as they are, and as many of them must 
be, for some time to come, — and adapt our directions to 
the circumstances. Human nature, as it is exhibited 
in our children, is far from being perfect ; and I am 
sorry to say that the parents of our children often ex- 
hibit it in a still less flattering light. Perhaps no lan- 
guage of mine can so well represent the concurrence 
of circumstances making corporal punishment neces- 
^ sary in our schools as it has been done by the Hon. 
Horace Mann in his lecture on " School Punishments.** 
" The first point," says he, " which I shall consider, is, 
whether corporal punishment is ever necessary in oui 
schools. As preliminary to a decision of this question, 
let us take a brief survey of facts. We have in this 
Commonwealth, [Massachusetts,] above one hundred 
and ninety-two thousand children between the ages of 
four and sixteen years. All these children are not only 
legally entitled to attend our public schools, but it is 
our great desire to increase that attendance, and he 
who increases it is regarded a reformer. All that 
portion of these children who attend school, enter it 
from that vast variety of homes which exist in the state. 
From different households, where the widest diversity 
of parental and domestic influences prevails, the chil- 
\ dren enter the schoolroom, where there must be com- 

\ parative uniformity. At home some of these children 

/ have been indulged in every wish, flattered and smiled 
upon for the energies of their low propensities, and 
even their freaks and whims enacted into household 


Di/ficulties to be met,— in children,— in parents. 

laws. Some have been so rigorously debarred from 
every innocent amusement and indulgence, that ^ey 
have opened for themselves a way to gratification! 
through artifice and treachery and falsehood. Others, 
from vicious parental example, and the corrupting in- 
fluences of vile associates, have been trained to bad 
habits and contaminated with vicious principles, ever 
since they were born ; — some being taught that honor 
consists in whipping a boy larger than themselves ; 
others that the chief end of man is to own a box that 
cannot be opened, and to get money enough to fill it ; 
and others again have been taught, upon their father's 
knees, to shape their young lips to the utterance of 
oaths and blasphemy. Now all these dispositions, 
which ^o not conflict with right more than they do with 
each other, as soon as they cross the threshold of the 
schoolroom, from the diflerent worlds, as it were, of 
homes, must be made to obey the same general regula- 
tions, to pursue the same studies, and to aim at the 
same results. In addition to these artificial varieties, 
there are natural diflerences of temperament and dispo- 

"Again ; there are about three thousand public schools 
in the state, in which are employed, in the course of 
the year, about five thousand diflerent persons, as 
teachers, including both males and females. Except- 
ing a very few cases, these five thousand persons have 
had no special preparation or training for their employ- 
ment, and many of them are young and without expe- 
rience. These five thousand teachers, then, so many 


A dilemma.— Neither hom to be chosen. 

of whom are unprepared, are to be placed in authority ' 
over the one hundred and ninety-two thousand children, 
so many of whom have been perverted. Without 
passing through any transition state for improvement, 
these parties meet each other in the schoolroom, 
where mutiny and msubordinalion and disobedience 
lire to be repressed, order maintained, knowledge ac- 
quired. He, therefore, who denies the necessity of 
resorting to punishment, in our schools, — and to cor- 
poral punishment, too, — virtually affirms two things : — 
first, that this great number of children, scooped up 
from all places, taken at all ages and in all conditions, 
ran be deterred from the wrong and attracted to the 
tight without punishment; and secondly, he asserts 
^hat the five thousand persons whom the towns and 
distncts employ to keep their respective schools, are 
now, and in the present condition of things, able to 
accomplish so glorious a work. Neither of these prop- 
ositions am T at present prepared to admit. If there 
are extraordinary individuals — and we know there are 
such — so singularly gifted with talent and resources, 
and with the divine quality of love, that they can win 
the affection, and, by controlling the heart, can control 
the conduct of children, who, for years, have been 
addicted to lie, U> cheat, to swear, to steal, to fight, still 
I do not believe there are now five thousand such indi- 
viduals in the state, whose heavenly services can be 
obtained for this transforming work. And it is useless, 
or worse than useless to say, that such or such a thing 
can be done, and done immediately, without pointing 


A miracle.— Divisions in district.— East end.— West end. 

out the agents by whom it can be done. One who 
affirms that a thing can be done, without any reference 
lo the persons who can do it, must be thinking of 
miracles. If the position were, that children may be 
so educated from their birth, and teachers may be so 
trained for their calling, as to supersede the necessity 
of corporal punishment, except in cases decidedly 
monstrous, then I should have no doubt of its truth ; 
but such a position must have reference to some future 
period, which we should strive to hasten, but ought not 
to anticipate." 

Aside from the causes demanding punishment, so 
ably portrayed in the passage just quoted, there is still 
another, growing out of divisions and quarrels in the 


district. It is by no means uncommon, in our districts, 
owing to some local matter, or to some disunion in 
politics or religion, for the people to be arrayed, the 
one part against the other. The inhabitants of the 
upper road are jealous of the dwellers on the lower 
road ; the hill portion of the district is aggrieved by the 
influence of the valley portion ; the ** east end" com- 
plains of the selfishness of the " west end," and so of 
the north and south. Whenever a school-house is to 
be built these different interests are aroused, and a 
protracted and baleful quarrel is the result. One party 
"carries the day" by the force of numbers, but the 
prosperity of the school is impaired for years. At 
every district meeting there will be the same strife for 
the mastery. If one division gains the power, the other 
bends its energies to cripple the school, and to annoy 



We will see.'*— Diflobedience eiicouraged.~The teacher's coime. 

the teacher who may be employed by the dominant 
party, however excellent or deserving he may be. " We 
will see," say those who find themselves in the minority, 
" we will see whether this man can keep our school as 
well as it was done last year by <mr master.'' This is 
uttered in presence of their children — perhaps their 
half-grown sons, who will be very ready to meet theii 
new teacher with prejudice and to act out the mis 
givings of their parents as to his success. When 
the teacher first enters the school, he is met by oppo 
sition, even before he has time to make an impression 
for good ; opposition, which he can scarcely hope to 
surmount as long as it is thus encouraged at home. 
Now what shall he do ? Shall he yield the point, 
abandon the idea of authority, and endeavor to live 
along from day to day, in the hope of a more comforta 
ble state of things by-and-by ? He may be sure that 
matters will daily grow worse. Shall he give up in 
despair, and leave the school to some successor ? This 
will only strengthen the opposition and make it more 
violent when the successor shall be appointed. It is 
but putting the difficulty one step farther off. Besides, 
if the teacher does thus give up, and leave the school, 
he loses his own reputation as a man of energy, and, in 
the eyes of the world, who perhaps may not know — or 
care to know — all the circumstances, he is held ever 
after as incompetent for the office. 

Now it would be very gratifying if the teacher un 
der any or all of these difficulties, could possess th^ 
moral power to quell them all by a look or by the exei 


-■ - ■! ■ I ■!!■ <JWL ■ l_IJiXJii-l-ii_— M.W L^ 

Sliall he yield ? No, no.~EBtabliah anthority. 

cise of his ingenuity in interesting his pupils in their 
studies. Undoubtedly there are some men who could 
do it, and do it most triumphantly, so as to make their 
most zealous enemies in a few days their warmest 
friends. But there are not many who can work thus 
at disadvantage. What then shall be done? Shall 
the school be injured by being disbanded, and the 
teacher be stigmatized for a failure, when he has been 
employed in good faith ? I say no. He has the right 
to establish authority by corporal infliction; and thus 
to save the schbol and also save himself. And more 
than this ; — if there is reasonable ground to believe that 
by such infliction he can establish order, and thus make 
aimself useful, and save the time and the character of 
the school, he not only has the right, but he is bound 
by duty to use it The lovers of order in the district 
have a right to expect him to use it, unless by express 
stipulation beforehand, they have exempted him from it. 
I repeat, then, that it is the teacher's duty to establish 
authority; "peaceably, indeed, if he may, — forcibly 
if he must." 

I ought in fairness here to add, as I have before 
hinted, that not unfrequenlly the necessity for corporal 
infliction exists in the teacher himself. This is often 
proved by a transfer of teachers. One man takes a 
school, and can only survive his term by the exercise 
of whipping. He is followed by another who secures 
good order and the love of the school without any resort 
to the rod. The first declared that whipping was ne- 
cessary in his case to secure good order, and truly ; but ^ 


DaUy flogging oondemned.-~Say nothing aboat it. 

the necessity resided in him and not in the school. So 
it often does, — ^and while teachers are zealously defend- 
ing the rod, they should also feel the necessity of im- 
proving themselves as the most effectual way to obviate 
its frequent use. 

When authority is once established in a school, it is 
comparatively easy to maintain it. There will of course 
be less necessity for resortiqg to the rod after the teacher 
has obtained the ascendency, unless it be in the event 
of taking some new pupil into the school who is dis- 
posed to be refractory. I have but little respect for the 
teacher who is daily obliged to fortify his authority by 
corporal infliction. Something must be fundamentally 
wrong in the teacher whose machinery of government, 
when once well in motion, needs to be so often forcibly 
wound up. 

From what has already been said, it will be seen 
•hat I do not belong to the number who affirm that the 
rod of correction should never be used in schools. 
Nor am I prepared to advise any teacher to publish 
beforehand that he will not punish with the. rod. It 
would always be wiser for the teacher to say nothing 
about it. Very little good ever comes of threatening 
the use of it. Threatening of any sort avails but little. 
A teacher may enter a school with the determination to 
govern it if possible without force. Indeed I should 
advise one always to make this determination in his 
own mind. But whenever such a determination is 
published, the probability of success is very much 


There is an aim of power.— Proposed substitutes.— Solitary confiueraent. 

The true way and the safe way, in my opinion, is to 
rely mainly on moral means for the government of the 
school, — to use the rod without much threatening, if 
driven to it hy the force of circumstances, aiid as soon 
as authority is established, to allow it again to slumber 
with the tacit understanding that it can be again awa- 
kened from its repose if found necessary. The knowl 
edge in the school that there is an arm of power, may 
prevent any necessity of an appeal to it ; and such a 
knowledge can do no possible harm in itself. But if 
the teacher has once pledged himself to the school that 
he will never use the rod, the necessity may soon come 
for him to abandon his position or lose his influence 
over the pupils. 

As much has been said against the use of the rod 
in any case in school government, it may be proper to 
consider briefly some of the substitutes for it, which 
have been suggested by its opposers. 

Some have urged solitary confinement. This might 
do in some cases. Undoubtedly an opportunity for 
reflection is of great use to a vicious boy. But then 
how inadequate are the means for this kind of discipline 
in our schools. Most of our school-houses have but 
one room. In such cases solitary confinement is out 
of the question. In other instances there may be (as 
there always should be) a room, not constantly devoted 
to the purposes of the school. Here a pupil could be 
confined; and I have no objection whatever to this 
course, provided the room is not a dark one, and its 
lemperature can be comfortable. But even witl^ 


Its futility.— Parental foUy.—Elrpulflioii. 

facility, confinement cannot be relied on as the only 
punishment, because if offenses should multiply, and 
the offenders should all be sent to the same place, then' 
confinement would soon cease to be solitary! And 
suppose some philanthropist should devise a plan of a 
school-house with several cells for the accommodation 
of offenders; still this punishment would fail of its 
purpose. The teacher has no power to confine a pupil 
much beyond the limit of school hours. This the 
obstinate child would understand, and he would there- 
fore resolve to hold out till he must be dismissed, and 
then he would be the triumphant party. He could 
boast to his fellows that he had borne the punishment, 
and that without submission or promise for the future 
he had been excused because his time had expired. 

This substitute is often urged by parents, who have 
tried it successfully in case of their own children in 
their own houses, where it was known that it could 
of course be protracted to any necessary length. Be- 
sides, if the confinement alone was not sufficient, the 
daily allowance of food could be withheld. Under 
such circumstances it may be very effectual, as un* 
doubtedly it often has been ; but he is a very shallow 
parent who, having tried this experiment upon a single 
child, with all the facilities of a parent, prescribes it 
with the expectation of equal success in the govern* 
ment of a large school. 

Others fiave urged the expulsion of such scholars as 
are disobedient. To this it may be replied that it is 
not quite certain, under existing laws, whether the 


Not expedient—Why t— Mr. Mann quoted. 

teacher has the right to expel a scholar firom the 
common schools ; and some deny even the right of the 

^ school officers to do it. Whether the right exists or 
not, it is very questionable whether it is ever expedient 
to expel a scholar for vicious conduct ; and especially 
in cases where there is physical power to control him. 
The vicious and ignorant scholar is the very one who 
most needs the reforming influence of a good educa- 
tion. Sent away from the fountain of knowledge and 
virtue at this — the very time of need — ^and what may 
we expect for him but utter ruin ? Such a pupil most 
of all needs the restraint and the instruction of a 
teacher who is capable of exercising the one and 
affording the other. 

But suppose he is dismissed, is there any reason to 
hope that this step will improve the culprit himself, or 
better the condition of the school? Will he not go on 
to establish himself in vice, unrestrained by any good 
influence, and at last become a suitable subject for the 
severity of the laws, an inmate of our prisons, and 
perhaps a miserable expiator of his own crimes upon 
the gallows ? How many youth — and youth worth 

' saving, too — have been thus cast out perversely to 
procure their own ruin, at tlie very time when they 
might have been saved by suflicient energy and benev* 
olence, no mortal tongue can tell ! Nor is the school 
itself usually benefited by this measure. '* For all 
purposes of evil," Mr. Mann justly remarks, " he con- 
tinues in the midst of the very children from among 
whom he was cast out ; and when he associates with 


" Free trade."'-A creed, and ito baaa.— The Scriptaw. 

them out of school, there is no one present to abate 
or neutralize his vicious influences. If the expelled 
pupil be driven from the district where he belongs into 
another, in order to prevent his contamination at home, 
what better can be expected of the place to which he 
is sent, than a reciprocation of the deed, by thei^ 
sending one of their outcasts to supply his place ; and 
thus opening a commerce of evil upon free-trade prin- 
ciples. Nothing is gained while the evil purpose re- 
mains in the heart. Reformation is the great desi- 
deratum ; and can any lover of his country hesitate 
between the alternative of forcible subjugation and 
victorious contumacy ?" 

From all that has been said, it will be seen that I do 
not hesitate to teach that corporal infliction is one of 
the justifiable means of establishing authority in the 
schoolroom. To this conclusion I have come, after 
a careful consideration of the subject, modified by the 
varied experience oi nearly twenty years, and by a 
somewhat attentive observation of the workings of all 
the plans which have been devised to avoid its use or 
to supply its place. And although I do not understand 
the Scriptures, and particularly the writings of Solo- 
mon, to recommend a too frequent and ill-considered 
use of it, I do not find any thing in the letter or spirit 
of Christianity inconsistent with its proper application. 
It is the abase, and not the use of the rod, against which 
our better feeling, as well as the spirit of Christianity, 
revolts. It is the abuse of the rod« or rather the abuse 
of children under the infliction of, the rod, that first 


Limitatiops.— The ^t thing.— Never in anger. 

called forth the discussion referred to, and av^akened 
the general opposition to its use. I am free to admit 
there has been an egregious abuse in this matter, and 
that to this day it is unabated in many of our schools. 
I admit, too, that abuse very naturally accompanies the 
use of the rod, and that very great caution is necessary 
in those who resort to it, lest they pervert it. I feel 
called upon therefore before leaving this subject to 
throw out for the consideration of the young Teacher 
particularly, a few hints to regulate the infliction of 
chastisement, under the head of 


1. The teacher should be thoroughly convinced 
that the rod is the best thing for the specific case, be 
fore he determines to use it. Nor should he hastily or 
capriciously come to this conviction. He should care- 
fully and patiently try other means first. He should 
study the disposition of the offender and learn the ten- 
dencies of his mind ; and only after careful delibera- 
tion, should he suffer himself to decide to use this 
mode of punishment. In order that the punishment 
should be salutary, the scholar should plainly see that 
the teacher resorts to it from deep principle, from the 
full belief that under all the circumstances it is the best 
thing that can be done, 

2. The teacher should never be under the excitement 
of angry passion when rnflicting the punishment. 
This is of the utmost importance. Most of the abuses 


The young Shaker.— Public opinion.— In presence of the school. 

before spoken of, grow out of a violation of this fun- 
damental rule. A teacher should never strike for 
punishment till he is perfectly self-possessed, and en- 
tirely free from the bitterness which perhaps tinctured 
his mind when he discovered the offense. It was a 
wise remark of a young Shaker teacher, that " no 
teacher should strike a child till he could hold his atTnJ" 
So long as the child discovers that the teacher is undei 
the influence of passion, and that his lip trembles with 
pent-up rage, and his blood flows into his face as if 
driven by inward fires of wrath, he looks upon him, not 
as his friend seeking his welfare, but as his enemy 
indulging in persecution. This will call forth the evil 
passions of the child, and while he bears the pain, he 
feels no real penitence ; and very likely in the midst 
of his suffering he resolves to go and do the same 
again, out of mere spite. 

It is moreover of great consequence in the infliction 
of a punishment, that the teacher should be fully sus- 
tained by the pubhc opinion of the school. He can 
never expect this when he loses his self-control. If the 
pupils see that he is angry, they almost instinctively 
sympathize with the weaker party, and they associate 
the idea of injustice with the action of the stronger. 
A punishment can scarcely be of any good tendency, 
inflicted under such circumstances. 

3. Corporal punishment, as a general rule, should 
be inflicted in presence of the school. I have be- 
fore advised that reproof should be given in private, 
and assigned reasons for it, which were perhaps 


Reaaooa for it— Pimishment delayed. 

satisfactory to the reader. But in case of corporal pun 
ishment, the offense is of a more public and probably 
of a more serious nature. If inflicted in private, it will 
still be known to the school, and therefore the reputatioil 
of the scholar is not saved. If inflicted in the proper 
spirit by the teacher and for proper cause, it always 
produces a salutary effect upon the school. But a still 
stronger reason for making the infliction public is, that 
it puts it beyond the power of the pupil to misrepresent 
the teacher^ as he is strongly tempted to do if he is 
alone. He may misstate the degree of severity, and 
misrepresent the manner of the teacher ; and, without 
witnesses, the teacher is at the mercy of his reports. 
Sometimes he may ridicule the punishment to his 
comrades, and lead them to believe that a private in- 
fliction is but a small matter; again, he may exag« 
gerate it to his parents, and charge the teacher most 
unjustly with unprincipled cruelty. Under these cir* 
cumstances, I am of the opinion that the safest and 
most effectual way, is to do this work in presence of 
the school. An honest teacher needs not fear the light 
of day ; and if he has the right spirit, he needs not fear 
the effect upon his other pupils. It is only the violent, 
angry punishment that needs to be concealed from the 
general eye, and that we have condemned as improper 
at any rate. 

4. Funishment may sometimes be delayed; and al* 
ways delayed till all anger lias subsided in the teacher. 
It is often best for all concerned to defer an infliction 
for a day or more. This gives the teacher an opportu 



Reason for delay.— Tlie inatrament.— Punishment effectual 

nity in his cooler moments to determine more justly the 
degree of severity to be used. It will also give the 
culprit time to reflect upon the nature of his ofiense 
and the degree of punishment he deserves. I may say 
that it is generally wise for the teacher after promising 
a punishment to take some time to consider what it 
shall hsy whether a corporal infliction or some milder 
treatment. If after due and careful reflection he comes 
conscientiously to the conclusion, that bodily pain is the 
best thingy — while he will be better prepared to inflict, 
the pupil by similar reflection will be better prepared 
to recdve it and profit by it. 

5. A proper instrument should be used and a proper 
mode of infliction adopted. No heavy and hurtful 
weapon should be employed. A light rule for the 
hand, or a rod for the back or lower extremities, may 
be preferred. Great care should be exercised to avoid 
mjuring any of the joints in the infliction ; and on no 
account should a blow be given upon the head. 

6. If possible^ the punishment should be made effec 
tual, A punishment that does not produce thorough 
submission and penitence in the subject of it, can hardly 
be said to answer its main design. To be sure, in 
cases of general insubordination in the school, I have 
said that punishment may be applied to one, having in 
view the deterring of others from similar offenses. But 
such exemplary punishment belongs to extreme cases, 
whil« disciplinary punishment, which has mainly for 
Us object the reformation of the individual upon whom ' 
it is inflicted, should be most relied on. Taking either 


Deliberation, and thorough work.—** Little whippings." 


view of the case, it should if possible answer its design, 
or it would be better not to attempt it. The teacher's 
judgment, therefore, should be very carefully exercised 
in the matter, and all hi$ knowledge of human nature 
should be called into requisition. If after careful and 
conscientious deliberation he comes to the conclusion 
that the infliction of pain is the best thing, and to the 
belief that he can so inflict it as to show himself to the 
school and to the child, in this act as in all others, a 
true and kind friend to the child, — then he is justified 
in making the attempt ; and having considerately un- 
dertaken the case, it should be so thorough as not soon 
to need repetition. 

I would here take the opportunity to censure the 
practice of those teachers who punish every little de- 
parture from duty with some trifling appliance of the 
rod, which the scholar forgets almost as soon as the 
smarting ceases. Some instructors carry about with 
them a ratan or stick, in order to have it ready for 
appliance as soon as they see any departure from their 
commands. The consequence is, they soon come to 
a frequent and inconsiderate use of it, and the pupils 
by habit become familiar with it,, and of course cease 
to respect their teacher or to dread his punishments. 
I have seen so much of this, that whenever I see a 
teacher thus " armed and equipped,*' I infer at once 
that his school is a disorderly one, an inference almost 
invariably confirmed by a few minutes' observation. 
My earnest advice to all young teaclers would be, 


How to diflcusB this sut^^ect— Experience of very young men. 

next to the habit of scolding incessantly, 4ivoid the 
habit of resorting to the rod on every slight occasion. 
When that instrument is not demanded for some special 
exigency, some great occasion and some high purpose 
allow it to slumber in a private corner of your desk 
not again to be called into activity till some moral con 
Yulsion shall disturb its quiet repose. 

I have a single caution to give in regard to the dis 
cussion of this subject, which in all our educational 
gatherings occupies so much time and talent. It is 
this : — Do not adopt a general principle from too few 
inductions. There is an old proverb that declares, 
''one swallow does not make a summer." Young 
teachers are very prone to rely on the experience of a 
single term. If they have kept one term without cor- 
poral punishment, they are very likelj^ to instruct theit 
seniors with their experience; and if they have happened 
to be so situated as to be compelled to save themselves 
by the rod, why then too their experience forever settles 
the question. It requires the experience of more than 
one, or two, or th?'ee schools, to enable a man to speak 
dogmatically on this subject ; and I always smile when 
I hear men, and sometimes very young men, who have 
never kept school in their lives, perhaps, or at most but 
a single term, speaking as with the voice of authority 
Experience is indeed one of our safest guides in this as 
in every other matter ; but they who tell their expe 
rience should at least wait till they have tliat which is 
worthy to be told. 

There is another pointi^ It is quite fashionable at iho 



Reflolutions -A filae p08ition.->French resolatton. 

present day, whenever this subject is to be discussed, 
to propose the matter in the form of a resolution ; as, 
'* Resolved, that no person is fit to be employed as a 
teacher, who cannot govern his scholars by holier means 
than bodily chastisement ;" or, '^ Resolved, that no limit 
should be set to the teacher's right to use the ' rod of 
correction,' and that they who denounce the teachers 
for resorting to it are unworthy of our confidence in 
matters of education." Now whoever presents the 
question in this form, assumes that he has drawn a line 
through the very core of the truth ; and he undertakes 
to censure all those who are unwilling to- square their 
opinions b^ the line thus drawn. In the discussion a 
man must take one side or the other of the question as 
it is proposed, and consequently he may take a false 
position. The better way would be to present the 
whole subject as matter of free remark, and thus leave 
every one to present his own views honestly as the^ 
lie in his own mind. In this way no one is pledged to 
this or that party, but is left unprejudiced to discover 
and embrace the truth wherever it is found. 

It should moreover be remembered, that resolving 
by the vote of a meeting in order to force public opinion^ 
can never afiect the truth. A few impious, heaven- 
daring men in France, at one of their revels, once 
resolved, " there is no God !" — but did this blasphe- 
mous breath efface the impress of Deity on all this fair 
creation of his power ? And when they rose from their 
vile debauch and sought with tottering step to leave the 
scene of madness and to court the dim forgetfulness of 


A mare excellent way.— Higher moUyes finrt. 

sleep, — ^rolled not the shining orbs in heaven's high arch 
above them as much in duty to His virill, as when they 
sang together to usher in creation's morning? So it 
will ever be. Men may declare, and resolve as they 
please ; but truth is eternal and unchangeable ; ai)d 
they are the wisest men who modestly seek to find her 
as she is, and not as their perverted imaginations would 
presume to paint her. 

Yet after all, in the government of schools, there is 
a more excellent way. There are usually easier avenues 
to the heart, than that which is found through the in- 
teguments of the body. Happy is that teacher who is 
so skillful as to find them ; and gladly would I welcome 
the day when the number of such skillful and devoted 
teachers should render any further defence of the rod 
superfluous. Although I believe that day has not yet 
arrived, still, in the mean time, I most earnestly urge 
all teachers to strive to reach the higher motives and 
the finer feelings of the young, and to rely mainly for 
success, not upon appeals to fear and force, but upon 
the power of conscience and the law of reciprocal 

As I have placed the higher motives and the more 
desirable means first in order in these remarks on 
government, so I would always have them first, and 
perseveringly employed by the teacher ; and if by ear- 
nestness in his work, by unfeigned love for the young, 
by diligence in the study of their natures, and the adapt- 
ation of means to ends which true benevolence is sure 


Minixnum the maxiinum 1 

to suggest, he can govern successfully without corporal 
punishment — as in a large proportion of cases I believe 
it can be done — none will rejoice more than I at such a 
desirable result; — and I most cordially subscribe to 
the principle so happily stated by another, that in the 
government of schools, if thorough obedience be but 
secured and order maintained, other things being equal, 
''the minimum of punishment js the maximum of 
excellence " 


A plan.— Forethought.— An eveatfal moment 



Ev^Ei^Y teacher before opening a school should have 
some general plan in his mind, of what he intends to 
accomplish. In every enterprise there is great advan- 
tage to be derived from forethought, — ^and perhaps no- 
where is the advantage greater than in the business of 
teaching. The day of opening a school is an eventful 
day to the young teacher. A thousand things crowd 
upon him at the same time, and each demands a prompt 
and judicious action on his part. The children to the 
number of half a hundred all turn their inquiring eyes 
to him for occupation and direction. They have come 
full of interest in the prospects of the new school, ready 
to engage cheerfully in whatever plans the teacher may 
have to propose ; and, I was about to say, just as ready 
to arrange and carry into effect their own plans of dis- 
order and misrule, if they, unhappily for him and for 
themselves, find he has no system to introduce. 

What a critical — what an eventful moment is this 
first day of the term to all concerned ! The teacher's 
success and usefulness, — nay, his reputation as an 
efficient instructor, — now " hang upon the decision ot 
an hour.'' An hour, too, may almost foretell whether 


Angelic solicitude. — Low qualifications. 

he precious season of childhood and youth now before 
these immortals, is to be a season of profit and health- 
ful culture under a judicious hand, or a season of 
wasted — perhaps worse than wasted- — existenccy under 
the imbecility or misguidance of one who " knows not 
what he does or what he deals with." 

If angels ever visit our earth and hover unseen 
around the gatherings of mortals to survey their ac- 
tions and contemplate their destiny as affected by 
human instrumentality, it seems to me there can be no 
spectacle so calculated to awaken their interest and 
enkindle their sympathy as when they see the young 
gathering together from their scattered homes in som«» 
rural district, to receive an impress, for weal or wo, 
from the hand of him who has undertaken to guide 
them. And, supposing them to have the power to ap- 
preciate to the full extent the consequences of human 
agency, how must they be touched with emotions of 
joy and gratitude, or shudder with those of horror and 
dread, as they witness the alternations of wisdom and 
folly, seriousness and indifference, sincerity and dupli- 
city, purity and defilement, exhibited by him who has 
assumed to be at once the director and exemplar in the 
formation of human character, at such an important 
period. How deplorable is the thought that all the fond 
hopes of the parents, all the worthy aspirings of the 
children, and all the thrilling interests of higher beings, 
are so often to be answered by qualifications so scanty, 
and by a spirit so indifferent in the teacher of the young. 
How saA the thought that up to this very moment so 


The fint day.^A anggestion.— Iti adTantages. 

pregnant with consequences to all concerned, there has 
been too often so little of preparation for the responsi- 

I fain would impress the young teacher with the 
importance of having a plan for even the fiurst day of the 
school. It will raise him surprisingly in the estimation 
of the pupils and also of the parents, if he can make an 
expeditious' and efficient beginning of the school. While 
the dull teacher is slowly devising the plans he will bm 
and by present for the employment and improvement 
of his school, the children taking advantage of their own 
exemption from labor, very pronTptly introduce their 
own plans for amusing themselves or for annoying 
him ; — whereas if he could but have his own plans al- 
ready made, and could promptly and efficiently carrjf 
them into execution, he would forestall their mis* 
chievous designs, and make co-operators out of his 

In order to be sure of a successful commencement^ 
I would recommend that the teacher should go into the 
district a few days before the school is to begin. By 
careful inquiry of the trustees or the school committee, 
he can ascertain what is the character of the district 
and the wants of the school. This will afford him con- 
siderable aid. But he should do more than this. He 
would do well to call on several of the families of the 
district whose children are to become members of his 
school. This he can do without any ceremony, simply 
saying to them that, as he has been appointed their 
teacher, he is desirous as far as he may to ascertain 


Importimt inquiries.— Caution against meanneai. 


their wants, in order to be as prompt as possible in the 
organization of his school. He will of course see the 
children themselves. From them he can learn what 
was the organization of the school under his prede* 
cessor ; how many studied geography, how many arith- 
metic, grammar, &c. ; and he can also learn whether 
the former organization was satisfactory to the district 
or not. The modes of government, and the methods 
of interesting the pupils practised by the former 
teacher, would be hkely to be detailed to him; and 
from the manner of both parents and children, he could 
judge whether similar methods would still be desirable 
in the district. By calling on several of the largest 
families in this way, he would learn beforehand very 
accurately the state of the school and the state of the 

I will take this occasion to insist that the teacher, 
m these visits, should heartily discourage any for- 
wardness, so common among children, to disparage 
a former teacher. It should be his sole object to gain 
useful information. He should give no signs of pleas- 
ure in listening to any unfavorable statements as to his 
predecessor ; and I may add that during the progress 
of the school, he should ever frown upon any attempt 
on the part of. the pupils to make comparisons deroga- 
tory to a former teacher. This is a practice altogether 
too prevalent in our schools ; and I am sorry to say 
there are still too many teachers who are mean enough 
to countenance it. Such a course is unfair, because 
the absent party may be grossly misrepresented ; it ia 


Making personal friends.— A common error.— Mr. Abbot 

dangerous, because it tends to cultivate a spirit of 
detraction in the young ; and it is mean, because the 
party is absent and haai no opportunity of defending 

Another important advantage of the visits proposed 
would be, that he would make the acquaintance of many 
of the children beforehand, and very hkely, too, if he 
should go in the right spirit and with agreeable manners, 
he would make a favorable impression upon them, and 
thus he would have personal friends on his side to 
begin with. The parents too would see that he took 
an interest in his employment; that he had come 
among them in the spirit of his vocation — in the spirit 
of earnestness, and they would become interested in 
his success, — a point of no small importance. 

I might here caution the teacher against a very com- 
mon error. He should not confine his visits to the 
more wealthy and influential families. The poor and 
the humble should receive his attentions as soon as the 
rich. From the latter class very likely a large portion 
of his school will come ; and it is wrong in principle as 
well as policy to neglect those who ^have not been as 
successful as others in the one item of accumulating 

On the day of opening the school he should be early 
at the school-bouse. Mr. Abbot, in his Teacher, has 
some valuable suggestions on this point. *^ It is desi- 
rable," he says, " that the young teacher should meet 
his scholars at first in an unofficial capacity. For this 
purpose^ he should repair to the schoolroom, on the first 


Early at the achool.— Why ?— It should be habitual 


day, at an early hour, so as to see, and become ac« 
quainted with the scholars as they come in, one by one. 
He may take an interest with them in all the little ar- 
rangements connected with the opening of the schooL 
The building of the fire, the paths through the snow, the 
arrangement of seats, caUing upon them for information 
or aid, asking their names, and, in a word, entering fuUy 
and freely into conversation with them, just as a parent, 
under similar circumstances, would do with his children. 
All the children thus addressed will be pleased with the 
gentleness and affability of the teacher. E?en a rough 
and ill-natured boy, who has perhaps come to the school 
with the express determination of attempting to make 
mischief, will be completely disarmed by being asked 
pleasantly to help the teacher fix the fire, or alter the 
position of a desk. Thus by means of the half hour 
during which the scholars are coming together, the 
teacher will find, when he calls upon the children to 
take their seats, that he has made a large number of 
them his personal friends. Many of these will have 
communicated their first impressions to others, so that 
be will find himself possessed, at the outset, of that 
which is of vital ^consequence in opening any adminis* 
tration — a strong party in his favor," 

It will be well for the teacher, for several days, both 
in the morning and afternoon, to be early at the school- 
room. He can thus continue his friendly intercourse 
with the pupils, and effectually prevent any concerted 
action among them at that hour to embarrass his gov- 
ernment. Many a school has been seriously ujuredi if 


_^_^^_ji_^ J. ■ ■ -I ■ ■ - 1 1 ■ I I - - I ~ 

Roguery promoted.— A day's work.—** What shall I doT* 

not broken up, by the scholars' being allowed to 
assemble early at the school with nothing to occupy 
them and no one to restrain them. Having so con- 
venient an opportunity for mischief, their .youthful 
activity will be very likely to find egress in an evil 
dixection. Many a tale of roguery could be told 
foinded upon the incidents of the schoolroom before 
school hours, if those who have good memories would 
but reveal their own experience ; — ^roguery that never 
would have occurred, had the teacher adopted the 
course here suggested. 


It will be remembered by many of the readers of 
tliis volume, that' in former times numerous teachers 
were accustomed to work without a plan, attempting to 
do their work just as it happened to demand attention, 
but never taking the precaution to have this demand 
under their own control. If one scholar or class was 
not ready to recite, another would be called ; and there 
being no particular time for the various exercises, the 
school would become a scene of mere listlessness ; and 
the teacher would hardly know how to find employment 
for himself in the school. 

I shall make this point clearer by an example. 
Having occasion, in an official capacity, to visit a school 
which had been kept by a young teacher some two 
weeks, she veiy naturally asked — " What shall I da 
first, this afternoon ^" 


" Yes, m*m."--Veto.— A haid time.— A Iiint given. 

" Do precisely as you would if I had not come in," 
was the reply. 

She looked a little perplexed. At length she 
doubtingly tasked, — " Is the geography lesson ready ^ 

*' Yes, m'm"— " No, m'm"— " Yes, m'm,"— was the 
ambiguous reply from the class. There was so much 
of veto in the looks of the young geographers, that it 
amounted to prohibition. 

"Well, are the scholars in Colbum's arithmetic 
ready ?" 

This was said with more of hope ; but the same 
equivocal answer was vociferated from all parts of the 
room. The teacher, placing her finger upon her lip, 
looked despairingly ; but recollecting one more resort, 
she said, — " Is the grammar class ready ?" 

Again came the changes on "Yes, m'm," and " No, 
m m. 

The teacher gave up, and asked what she should do. 
She was again told to go on as tisual for that afternoon. 
It was a tedious afternoon to her as it was to her 
visitor. She at length called one of the classes, unpre- 
pared as many of them said they were, and the exercise , 
showed that none but those who said " Yes, m'm", were 
mistaken. The whole afternoon seemed to be one> of 
pain and mortification to all concerned ; and I fancied 
I could almost read in the knitted brow of the teacher 
a declaration that that should be her last school. 

At the close of the afternoon, a single hint was sug- 
gested to her, — viz., that she should make out a list of 
her scholars' duties, and the times when they should be 


Improvement. — A case sapposed.— ClasBiAcation. 

expected to recite their several lessons. She was told 
that it would be well to explain this plan of her day's 
work to her school in the morning, and then never 
again ask wJiether a class was ready. The hint was 
taken ; and on subsequent visitations the several 
classes were ever ready to respond to the call of theii 

Now this matter is no unimportant one to the teacher. 
Indeed 1 judge of a teacher's ability very much by the 
wisdom and tact with which he apportions his time for 
his own duties, and divides the time of his scholars 
between their studies and recitations. 

In order to aid the young teacher in forming a plan 
for himself, I subjoin a scheme of a day^s duties^ 
adapted to a school of the simplest grade. Suppose a 
school to consist of thirty scholars, and that the teacher 
finds by inquiry and by examination that there may be 
four grand divisions ; the first, which he designates [A,] 
ma^ unite in pursuing Reading, Grammar, Mental 
Arithmetic, Written Arithmetic, and Writing. The 
second, [B,] can pursue Reading, Spelling, Writing, 
^Geography, Mental and Written Arithmetic. The 
third, [C,] attend to Reading, Spelling, Mental Arith- 
metic, Writing, and Geography. The fourth, [D,] 
consisting of the small pupils, attend to Reading, Spell- 
ing, Tables, and sundry slate exercises. 

Now it is very desirable that as much time should 
be devoted to recitation as can be afforded to each 
class. It may be seen at once, that in certain studies, as 
geography, mental arithmetic, and spelling — the teacher 


PieUminary ooodderaUoos.— A seheine. 

can as niell attend to fifteen at once as to seven. !» 
these studies, unless the disparity in age and attain 
ment is very great, two divisions can very properly 
be united. All can be taught writing at once, thus 
receiving the teacher's undivided attention for the time. 
Besides, it is necessary to reserve some little time for 
change of exercises, and also for the interruptions 
which must necessarily occur. The recesses are to 
be provided for, and some time may be needed fur* 
investigation of violations of duty, and for the punish- 
ment of offenders. All this variety of work will occui 
in every school, even the smallest. Now, if the teacher 
does not arrange this in accordance with some plan, he 
will be very much perplexed, even in a small school ; 
and how much more in a large one ! He will do well 
very carefully to consider the relative importance of 
each exercise to be attended to, and* then to write out 
his scheme somewhat after the following model. *It 
must not be forgotten that studying is also to be 
provided for, and that it is just as important that 
the pupils should be regular in this as in recitation. 
Indeed, without such regularity he carnot expect ac 
ceptable recit^ttions. 

' 16 




For ih« aboT« supposed eireomstances. 



Reettatioru, 4rc 


9 to 9.15 


Reading Scrift., & Prater. 

9.15 to 9.40 


' D. ReadiDg, Spelling, or I 

A. Readifig; B. Aritli.; 
C. Geography. 

9.40 to 9.43 


Rest, Change opCla8be8, &c. 

9.43 to 10 


A. Reading. 

S B. Arith. ; C. Geog. ; 
j D. Slates. 

10 to 10.5 


Restt, Singing, or An- 
swering Questions. 

10.5 to 10.35 


B. Arithmetic. 

A. Gram. ; C. Geog. ; 
D. Books or Cards. 

10.35 to 10.38 




10.38 to 10.48 


B. <& C. Geography. 

A. Gram. ; D. Recess, 

10.48 to 11 



U to 11.15 
11.15 to 11.35 
11.35 to 11.50 



P. Reading, &e. 

A. Grammar. 

B. & C. Spelling, 


S A.Gram.:B.M.Arith.; 
{ C. Spelling. 
$B. Speding: C. Spell- 
I ing; D. Slates. 
I A. M. AriUi. ; D. BookB 
or Cards. 

11.50 to 13 

General EIzercibe. 


8 to 3.15 

8.15 to 3.45 
8.45 to 3.10 

3.10 to 3.30 




D. Reading, Spelling, Tables. 

A.B.&C. Writing. 

A. & B. Mental Arithmetic. 

C. Reading. 

5 A.Arith.:B.Readiag: 
C. Reading. 

D. Slates. 

CM. Arith. ;D. Recess. 

S A. Arith. ; B. Arith. ; 
\ D. Boobs, &G. 

3.30 to 3.40 



3.40 to 4 


B. Reading. 

J A.Arith.4C.M.Arith.; 
( D. Drawing. 

4 to 4.5 


Rest, or Singing. 


4.5 to 4.35 
4.35 to 4.55 


C. Mental Arithmetic. 
A. Arithmetic. 

S A. Read. ; B. Arith. or 
1 Draw. ; D. Slates. 
i B Arith. or Draw. ; C. 
I Draw.; D. Dismissed. 

4.55 to 5 5 

Gen. Ezbe. and DflDnanoN. 


A dock.—^ody provided for.-*Drawiiic« 


In the foregoing Program, the first column shows 
the division of time, and the portion allowed to each 
exercise. I need not say the teacher should be strictly 
punctual. To this end a clock is a very desirable 
article in the school. Both teacher and pupils would 
be benefited by it. The second column shows the 
recitations, admitting perhaps some yariety, especially 
in case of the younger children ; while the third shows 
the occupation of those classes which are not engaged 
in recitation. 

It will be seen that the classes are studying those 
lessons which they are soon to recite ; and, as in this 
case it is supposed that all the lessons will be learned 
in school, each one has been provitied for. It would 
be well, however, in practice to require one of the 
studies to be learned out of school, in which case no 
time should be allowed to the study of that branch in 
the program. 

It will be perceived that drtxwing is placed as the 
occupation of the younger classes near the close of 
the afternoon.' This is based upon the supposition, 
that the teacher during recess has placed an example 
on the blackboard, to be c6pied by the children upon 
their slates. This is perhaps the most effectual way 
to teach drawing to children. Those more advanced, 
however, may use paper and pencil, and draw from 
an engraved copy, or from a more finished specimen 


f An asBiBtaiit.— A large school.— Alternation.— Thorough wait« 

furnished from the teac!\^r*s portfolio. It is essentia' 
that the teacher should, if possible, give some sped 
mens of his own in this branch. I have seldon 
known a teacher to excite an interest in drawing 
who relied altogether upon engravings as models fo^ 

It should be remarked further concerning such 9 
program, that in case of an assistant in the school, 
two columns under the head of Recitations should be 
formed — one for the principal's classes, and one for the 
assistant's. If there are a few talented scholars, who 
are able to do more than their class, they can be 
allowed to join some of the classes out of their divi* 
sion, or they may be provided with an extra study, 
which will not need daily recitation. 

In case the school is much larger than the one sup 
posed above, and the classes necessarily so numerous 
as to make the time allowed to each study very short, 
then the principle of alternation may be introduced ; 
that is,* some studies may be recited Mondays, Wednes- 
days, and Fridays, — and some other studies, with other 
classes, take their places on the alternate days. It is 
decidedly better for the teacher to meet a class, in 
arithmetic for instance, especially of older pupils, but 
twice o: three times a w^ek, having time enough at 
each meeting to make thoiough work, than to meet 
them daily, but for a time so short as to accomplish 
but little. The same remark may be applied to read- 
ing, and indeed almost any other branch. The idea is 
A mischtevous one, that every class in reading, or in 



Nibbling.— Difficulty of clausifyiiig.— Way to correct a Bcheme. 

any other branch, must be called out four times a day, 
or even twice a day, — except in the case of very young 
children. It may be compared to nibbling at a cracker 
as many times in a day, without once taking a hearty 
meal, — a process which would emaciate any child in 
the course of three months. These scanty nibblings 
at the table of knowledge, so often and so tenaciously 
practised, may perhaps account for the mental emacia 
tion so often discoverable in many of our schools. 

The difficulty of classifying and arranging the ezer 
cises of a school, becomes greater as the number of 
teachers to be employed increases ; and there is much 
greater inconvenience in allowing any pupils to study 
out of their own division, when the number of teachers 
is more than one or two. Few are aware of the diffi 
culty of arranging the exercises of a large school, but 
tliose who have experienced it. It can be done, how- 
ever ; and it should always be done as soon as possible 
after commencing the school. 

If at any time the arrangement when made is not 
found to be perfect, it is not wise to change it at once. 
Let it go on a few days, and watch its defects with 
great care ; and in the mean time study, out of school, 
to devise a better. When this has been accomplished, 
and committed to paper, and perfectly comprehended 
by the teacher, it may be posted up in the schoolroom, 
and the day announced when it will go into operation. 
It will soon be understood by the pupils, and the change 
can thus be made without the loss of time. 

Time for reviews of the various lessons could be 


Fiognm of a large school.— Next page. 

found by setting aside the regular lessons for some 
particular day, once a week, or once in two weeks ; 
and for composition, declamation, &c., a half day 
should be occasionally or periodically assigned. 

In order to give the reader a more complete idea of 
arrangement under yaried circumstances, I subjoin the 
program of the New York State Normal School, as 
copied by the Executive Committee in their Annual 
Report, made January, 1846. 

It should be borne in mind that this was the pro- 
gram for only a part of one term ; and also that in this 
Institution, the studying is done out of school hours, 
the time of regular session, with very few exceptions, 
being entirely devoted to recitations or general instruc- 
tioa See next page. 



Program of New -York State Normal School. 

October 20, 1845, and onward. 





Chapel Exercises, &c. in Lecture Room. 

A. ClaflB. Trigonometry and Surveying .... 

B. CJuiflB, Alffebra 

Prof. PerkinsL 
Mr. Clark. 

C. Class. Hieher Arithinetic 

Mr. Webb. 

0.30 to 10.15 

D. Class. Algebra 

Mr. Eaton. 


E. Class. Grammar 

Mr. Bo wen. 

F. Class, GreoKraohy 

Miss Hauce. 

10.15 to 10.25 

Intermission or General Exercise. 

A. Class. Alisebra 

Prof. Perkins. 

10.35 to 11.10 

B. Class. Grammar— Tuesday and Friday . 

C. Class. Reading— Tuesday and Friday . . 

C. Claffl. Grammar-^Monday and Thund. 

D. Class. History and reading, alternately . 

E. Class. Geosranhy , 

Mr. Bowen. 
Mr. Bowen. 
Miss Hance. 
Mr. Webb. 

F. Class. OrthoffraDhy 

Mr. Eaton. 

11.10 to 11.15 


A. Class. Science of Grovernment 

Mr. Beaton* 

•B. Class. Rnadinflf 

Miss Hanoe. 

11.15 to 13 

C. Class. Algebra— Mond-.Tues. & Thuis. 

C. Class. Joins D. Class in Lecture, Natu- l 

ral Philosophy— Friday. ... $ 

D. Class. Natural Philosophy— daily 

E. Class. Elementary Aritlimetic 

Prof. Perkiuik 
Mr. Clark. 
Mr. Webb. 

F. Clw9P. Grammar 

Mr. Bowen. 

13 to 13.15 


A. Class. Geometry 

Mr. Bowen. 

B. Class. Hiffher Arithmetic 

Prof. Perkins. 

C, C)aiw. Natnml Philognphy ^ ,., t ....... . 

Mr. Clark. 

13.15 to 1 

P. Class. Arithmi^tic 

Mr. Webb. 

E. Class. Reading and Orthography 

F. Class. Reading 

Mr. Eaton. 
Miss Hance. 

1 to 1.5 


A. Class. Chemistry ...... ...... .......... 

Mr. Clark. ^ 

1.5 to 1.50 

B. and C. Classes. Human Physiology .... 
T>, ClasB. Grammar 

Mr. Bowen. 

E. Class. Mental Arithmetic 

Mifm Hanc6 

F. Class. Ellementary Arithmetic 

Mr. Webb. 

1.50 to 3 


Wednesday is devoted to Penmanship, Composition, Declamation, "Sub- 
Lectures," Lectures, and General Exerdses 

3 p. M. to 4.30 

vooAL mmic. 

A. Class. Mond. 

B. Class. Wed 

C. Oass. Friday 

ond. ) 
ed. [ 
iday. ) 

Mr. Bsley. 


A. Class. Tiiesd. 

B. Class. Thura 

C. OasB. Satur. 



Models not to be copied.— Teacher must think.— IntemiptioDi. 

If I have devoted considerable space to this subject, 
it is because I deem it of very great importance to the 
teacKer's success. With one other remark I dismiss 
it. These models are not given to be servilely copied. 
They are given to illustrate the great principle. The 
circumstances of schools will be found to vary so 
veidely, that no model, however perfect in itself, would 
answer for all. The teacher must exercise his own 
ingenuity and judgment to meet his own wants ; and 
in general it may be remarked that where a teacher has 
not the skill to adapt his own plans to his own circum 
stances, he can hardly be expected to succeed in carry 
ing out the plans of another. 


In every school consisting of pupils of different ages 
and circumstances, there will be more or less of inter- 
ruption to the general order and employment of the 
school. Some of the pupils have never been trained 
to system at home ; perhaps most of them may have 
been positively taught to disregard it at school. At 
any rate, " it must needs be,'' in this particular, " that 
offenses come." Nor should the teacher lose his pa- 
tience though he should be often disturbed by the 
thoughtlessness of his pupils. He should expect it as 
a matter of course, and exercise his ingenuity as far as 
possible to prevent it. It may well be one of his sources 
of enjoyment to witness an improvement in the habits 
of his pupils in regard to system. 


A aoene from nature.'— BrainesB aocumulates.— A criais. 

These interruptions proceed from various causes, — 
such as soliciting leave to speak, or to go out ; asking 
for some assistance in learning lessons, or for leave to 
drink, or to stand by the fire ; requesting the teacher 
to mend pens, or to set copies ; disorderly conduct in 
pupils, making it necessary, in his judgment, to admin- 
ister reproof or punishment in the midst of other duties, 
— and sometimes the vociferous and impatient making 
of complaints by one scholar against another. 

How many times I have seen a teacher involved in 
indescribable perplexity, while trying to perform the 
duty of instruction, and to '^ get through" in time 
While hearing a grammar lesson, a scholar brings 
up his atlas to have some place pointed out which 
he had upon one trial failed to find. The teacher 
turning to look for the place, is addressed with "Please 
mend my pen," from another quarter. Having the 
knife in hand, as if such things were to be expected, 
the obliging teacher takes the pen, and holding it be- 
tween his eyes and the atlas, endeavors to shape its nib 
and to discover the city at the same glance. *' Jane 
keeps a pinching me," — ^vociferates a little girl who is 
seated behind the class. " Jane, Jane," says the 
teacher, turning away from both the nib and the city, 
" Jane, come to me instantly." Jane with the guilty 
fingers thrust far into her mouth makes her way side 
ling towards the teacher. " May I go out ?" — says 
John, who is thinking only of his own convenience. 
" No, no" — answers the teacher, a little pettishly, as if 
conscious that in a crisis like this, a request simply to 


A pftil of water.— A juDCture aud a coiuuoction !— A trace. 

breathe more freely is scarcely justifiable. '* Please 
sir^ let me and Charl^ go out and get a pail of water 
This is said by a little shrewd-looking, round-faced 
light-haired boy, who has learned how to select his 
time, and to place the emphasis upon the ^^ please^ sir."* 
The teacher by this time being considerably fretted by 
such an accumtilation of business on his hands, very 
naturally thinks of the refreshment contained in a pail 
of cool water, and very good-naturedly answers the 
little urchin in the affirmative, who most likely is by 
this time more than half way out of the door, so confi- 
dent is he of success. Just at this juncture a consid- 
erate-looking miss in the class earnestly appeals to the 
teacher, to know if the word next but three to the last, 
was not a common nouriy though called a conjunction ! 
This reminds the teacher that several words have been 
parsed without his notiqe, and be asks the class to 
'< stop there." Glancing at his watch, he discovers that 
he has gone three minutes beyond the time for recess, 
and he relieves himself by saying, *^ boys may go out'* 
This grants a. truce to all parties. The pen goes back 
unmended ; the atlas with its sought city undiscovered ; 
Johu ''goes out" now by common law, taking to himself 
the credit of this happy release, as he asked only to 
remind the master that it was time for recess; Jane 
takes both thumb and finger from her precious little 
mouth, and smiling seats herself by the side of her late 
challenger, who is by this lime more than half repentant 
of her own impatience ; the shrewd-looking urchin and 
his companion return with the refreshing pail of water. 


Sunshine again.— Lancaster's motto.— System. 

—the boys and girls gather round to obtain the first 
draught, while the little chubby-faced lad comes for 
ward, clothed in smiles, with a cup filled with the 
cooling liquid on purpose for the master ; the T>oon is 
accepted, the perplexed brow becomes placid, and all 
is sunshine again. — ^This is not a very extravagant 
picture of the interruptions in a district school. Those 
who have been brought up in such a school, will 
recognise the fdelity of the likeness^ as it has been 
drawn from nature. 

Now whoever has any knowledge of human nature, 
and of school teaching, will at once see that this is all 
wrong. It is a law of our being, that we can do well 
but one thing at a time. He who attempts more, must 
do what he attempts but very imperfectly. There was 
a great deal of wisdom embodied in that motto which 
used to be placed in the old Lancasterian schools ; " A 


TIME." It should be one of the mottoes of every 
teacher. In the construction of the plan or program 
for the day's duties, great care should be taken to 
provide for all these little things. If whispering is 
to be allowed at all in school, let it come into one 
of the intervals between recitations. If assistance in 
getting lessons is to be asked and rendered, let it 
be done at a time assigned for the special purpose. 
As far as possible, except in extreme cases, let the 
discipline be attended to at the time of general ex- 
ercise, or some other period assigned to it, so that 
there shall not be a ludicrous mixture ot punish- 


Teaching delightful.— When?— ReTene.—RecesBeB.— How oflenf 

ments and instruction during the progress of a class 

It is pleasant to visit a school, where every thing is 
done and well done at its proper time. Teaching 
under such circumstances, becomes a delightful em 
ployment. But where all is confusion, and the teacher 
allows himself by the accumulation of irregularities to 
be oppressed and perplexed, it is one of the most 
wearing and undesirable vocations on earth. The 
teacher goes to his lodgings harassed with care, op- 
pressed with a consciousness of the imperfection of 
his labors, and exhausted by the unnatural and unwar- 
rantable tax imposed upon his mental faculties. He 
groans under the burden incident to his calling, and 
longs to escape from it, never once dreaming, perhaps, 
that he has the power of relieving himself by the intro 
duction of system, and thus changing his former babe* 
into a scene of quietness and order. 


In speaking of the arrangements of a school, the sub 
ject of recesses demands attention. It is the belief of 
many enlightened instructors, that the confinement in 
most of our schools is still too protracted, and that 
more time devoted to relaxation would be profitable 
both to the physical and the mental constitution of our 
youth. Some have urged a recess of a few minute^ 
every hour, in order to afford opportunity for a change 
of position and % change of air. This could better be 


Ono each sMsion. — ^Ten minutes to each 8ex.~Separate playgronnd. 

done in schools composed only of one sex, or where 
the accommodation of separate yards »nd play-grounds 
permits both sexes to take a recess at the same time. 
Where these accommodations are wanting, and one 
sex must wait while the other is out, the time re 
quired for two recesses, in half a day, for the whole 
school, could scarcely be afforded. I am of the 
opinion, as our schools are at present composed, that 
one recess in the half day for each sex is all that can 
be allowed. The question then is, how can that one 
recess be made most conducive to the purposes for 
which it is designed ? 

1 . As to its duration. Ten minutes is the least time 
that should be thought of, if the children are to be kept 
closely confined to study during the remainder of the 
three hours' session ; that is, ten minutes for each sex. 
It would be a very desirable thing if our school-houses 
could be so furnished with separate play-grounds and 
separate out-door accommodations, that both sexes 
could take recess at the same time. This would save 
much time to the district in the course of a term, and it 
would also give opportunity for thoroughly ventilating 
the room during recess, while it would afford the 
teacher opportunity to take the air, and overlook the 
sports of the children to some extent, — a matter of no 
small importance. 

Where these facilities are wanting, and the teacher 
must remain within to preside over the one half of the 
school while the others are out, he may still give ten 
minutes at least to t^i.L sex, contriving to employ 


Teacher's work at recesB.— Proper hoar. 

profitably the time within doors. He may reserve this 
time for settling such difficulties as may have arisen in 
the school ; he may administer reproofs, inflict his pun- 
ishments if any are necessary, or he may spend the 
time in giving assistance to the pupils, or in drawing 
upon the blackboard for the advantage of the younger 
pupils as they come in. In a large school, where a 
longer recess is the more necessary on account of the 
bad air of the schoolroom, he will find the more duty 
to be done at this time ; so that in any event the time 
need not be lost, even ii fifteen minutes be allowed to 
each sex. 

2. As to the proper hour for recess. It was an old 
rule to have recess when " school was half done^ In- 
deed, this expression was often used as synonymous 
with recess in many districts twenty-five years ago. It 
is now generally thought better to have the recess occur 
later, perhaps when the school session is two thirds 
past. It is foufid that children, accustomed to exercise 
all the morning, can better bear the confinement of the 
first two hours than they can that of the third, even 
though the recess immediately precedes the third. In a 
school the half-daily sessions of which are three hours, 
I should recommend that the recess be introduced so 
as to terminate at the close of the second hour. As 
far as possible, it would be well to have all the pupils 
leave the room at the time recess is given them ; and 
as a general thing they should not ask leave to go out 
at any other time. A little system in this matter is as 
desirable as in any other, and it is quite as feasible. " 


Young children.-- Teachers fail in assigning lessone.— Not too long.— Why 

In a school composed partly of very young children, 
there is no difficulty in giving such children two re- 
cesses each half day. Nor is there any objection to 
such a course. It is more irksome to young children 
to bear confinement, than to the adult ; especially as 
they cannot be expected to be constantly occupied. It 
will reheve the teacher very much to have the children 
go out of the room as soon as they become fatigued , 
and, as it will promote their own health and happiness 
to go, it is very justifiable to grant them the privilege 
This may properly and easily be provided for upon the 
Program>il ^ 


Many teachers fail in this department. Judging of 
the difficulty of the lesson by the ease with which they 
can acquire it, even in a text-book new to themselves, 
they not unfrequenlly assign more than can possibly be 
learned by the children. They forget that by long dis- 
cipline of mind, and by the aid of much previously ac- 
quired knowledge, the lesson becomes comparatively 
easy to them ; they forget, too, the toil a similar lesson 
cost them when they were children. Now the eifect 
of poorly learning a lesson is most ruinous to the mind 
of a child. He, by the habit of missing, comes to 
think it a small thing to fail at recitation. He loses his 
self-respect. He loses all regard for hi^ reputation as 
a scholar. It is truly deplorable to see a child fail in a 
lesson vrith indifference. Besides, the attempt to ao- 


Not how much, but how well,— Good habits of study. 

quire an unreasonable lesson, induces a superficial 
habit of study, — a skimming over the surface of things. 
The child studies, that he may live through the recita- 
tion ; not that he may learn and remember. He passes 
thus through a book, and thinks himself wise while 
he is yet a fool, — a mistake that is no less common 
than fatal. 

The motto of the wise teacher should be, " Not 
HOW MUCH, BUT HOW WELL." He should always ask, 
is it possible that the child can master tliis lesson, and 
probable that he will 1 It is better that a class should 
make but very slow progress for several weeks, if they 
but acquire the habit of careful study and a pride of 
good scholarship — a dread of failure, — than that they 
should ramble over a whole field, firing at random, 
missing oftener than they hit the mark, and acquiring 
a stupid indifference to their reputation as marksmen, 
and a prodigal disregard to their waste of ammunition, 
and their loss of the game. 

In assigning lessons, the importance of good habits 
of study should be considered, and the lessons given 
accordingly. At the commencement of a term, the les- 
sons should always be short,'till the ability of the pupils 
is well understood, and their habits as good students 
established. As the term progresses, they can be 
gradually lengthened as the capacity of the class will 
warrant, or their own desire will demand. It is fre- 
quently judicious to. consult the class about the length 
of the lessons, though to be sure their judgment can 
not always be relied on, for they are almost always 


A failure is a fault. — Reviews.— Frequent.— Why t 

ready to undertake more than they can well perform. 
Assigning, however, somewhat less than they propose, 
will take from them all excuse for failure. When the 
lesson is given, a failure should be looked upon as a 
culpable dereliction of duty, as incompatible with a 
good conscience as it is with good scholarship. This 
high ground cannot be taken, however, unless the 
teacher has been very judicious in the assignment of 
the lesson 


in the prosecution of study by any class of students, 
frequent reviews are necessary. This is so, because 
the memory is very much aided by repetition and by 
association. But further, the understanding is often 
very much improved by a review. Many of the sci- 
ences cannot be presented in independent parts, nor can 
all the terms employed be fully appreciated till these 
parts are again viewed as a whole. Many things which 
were but dimly seen the first time they were passed 
over, become perfectly clear to the mind when viewed 
afterwards in connection with what follows them. 

In conducting reviews, regard must be had to the 
age and character of the pupils, and to the branch pur- 
sued. In arithmetic, and indeed in mathematics gen- 
erallyj where so much depends upon every link in the 
great chain, very frequent reviews are necessary. In- 
deed, almost daily it is profitable to call up some prin- 
ciple before gone over. In several branches, where the 

* 16 







Application of principles to practical life.— A general review. 

parts have a less intimate connection, as in geography, 
natural philosophy, and some others, the reviews may 
be at greater intervals. It would be well, I think, in 
every common school, to have a review-day once a 
week. This, besides the advantages already indicated 
will lead the children to study for something beyond 
recitation. Nor is it enough, at the review, that the 
questions of the text-book be again proposed to the 
children. If this be all, they will only exercise their 
memories. As far as possible the subject should be 
called up, and the application of principles to practical 
life should be dwelt upon. If this course is expected 
by the learners, they will think during the week, in 
order to anticipate the examination of the teacher ; and 
this thinking is more profitable to them than the know- 
ledge itself. 

It is always well, besides the periodical reviews, to 
have a general review at the close of any particular 
study. This enables the teacher to detect any false 
conceptions which the pupil has entertained during the 
first course. He can now present the subject as a 
whole, and view one part by the light of another. 
In natural philosophy, how much better the law of 
reflected motion can be appreciated after the subject 
of optics has been studied, in which the doctrine 
of reflection in general has been fully discussed and 
illustrated. In physiology, what light is thrown upon 
the process of growth in the system, by the subse- 
quent chapters on absorption and secretion. How 
much clearer is the economy of respiration understood 



An exception.^Examinations not without ol^ections. 

-^11^^ ■ ■ I IT !■ I -- I T 1 • M-a 1 * 1 fW 

when viewed in connection with the circulation of 
the blood. A general review then is an enlightening 
process, and it is always profitable, with, perhaps, one 
exception. When it is instituted with reference to a 
public examination, it is very doubtful whether the 
evil is not greater than the good. It then degenerates 
into an effort to appear well at a particular time ; it 
is again studying in order to recite ; and I look upon 
it as no small evil, that the mind should have any 
object in view which comes in between it and the 
grand desire to knowy — to master the subject for its 
own sake, and not simply for the purpose of being 
able to talk about it on one great occasion. 


It le now the usage in all our schools to have 
public examinations, — generally at the close of a term, 
or a portion of a term, — in order to test, in some 
measure, the industry and skill of the teacher, and 
the proficiency of the pupils. I am hardly prepared 
to oppose this usage, because I am inclined to be-* 
lieve examinations are of some utility as a means of 
awakening an interest in the parents of the children : 
perhaps they do something to stimulate school-officers, 
and also to excite to greater effort during the term 
both the teacher and the pupils. Still, public exam- 
inations, as frequently conducted, are not without 
serious objections. 1. They certainly cannot be 
looked upon as criterions of the faithfulness or success 


Not to be taken as indices of j^ioficiency.— Encourage deception. 

of teachers. A man with tact, and without honesty, 
may make his school appear to far greater advantage 
than a better man can make a better school appear. 
This has often happened. It is not the most faithful 
and thorough teaching that makes the show and 
attracts the applause at a public exhibition. It is 
the superficial, mechanical, memoriter exercise that 
is most imposing. Who has not seen a class, that 
recited by rote and in concert at a celebration, win 
the largest approbation, when many of the individuals 
knew not the import of the words they uttered. 
Names in geography have been thus " said or sung," 
when the things signified were to the children as 
really terrce incognitce as the fairy lands of Sinbad 
the Sailor. 

2. Nor can such exhibitions be claimed justly to 
mdicate the proficiency of the pupils. Every expe- 
rienced teacher knows that the best scholars often fail 
at a public examination, and the most indolent and 
superficial often distinguish themselves. The spec 
tators, not unfrequently, in pointing out the talent of 
the school, make the teacher smile at their blunders. 

3. They present a strong temptation to dishonesty 
on the part of the teacher. Since so much stress 
is laid upon the examination, and particularly, in some 
regions, upon the Celebration^ where several schools 
are brought together to make a show for a few hours, 
it must be rather an uncommon man who will have 
sufficient principle to exhibit his school as it isy and 
refuse to make those efforts so very common to have 


Preparation to make a show.— Sometimes useful. — ^When? 

it appear what it is not. The wish, expressed or 
implied, of the parents, and the ambition of thd 
children, all conspire to make the teacher yield to 
a usage so common. Consequently, several weeks 
will be spent to prepare the children to appear in 
public. During this time, they study not for improve 
mept, npt for future usefulness, but simply to make 
a show at the public celebration. An unworthy and 
unwarrantable motive actuates them during all this 
process ; and, at last, unless strangely benighted, 
they are conscious of holding up a false appearance 
to the world. Now, under such circumstances, what- 
ever of good is effected, by way of enkindling a zeal 
in the parents, is dearly purchased. The sacrifice 
of principle in a teacher — much more in the children 
— is a large price to pay for the applause of a few 
visitors, or even for an increase of interest among 
them in the cause of popular education. 

Examinations, however, which are less showy, and 
which are of such a character as thoroughly to sift 
the teachings that have been given, and to thwart 
any ingenious efforts specially to prepare for them — 
examinations that look back to the general teaching 
of the term, or the year, and test the accuracy and 
thoroughness of the instructions — are unques'tionably 
very desirable and useful. To make them so in 
the highest sense, and to exempt them from an evil 
tendency upon the minds of the young themselves, 
the teacher should be strictly honest. Not a lesson 
should be given with sole reference to the exhibitioa 


Great motives.— Futtlier caution.~-Teacher should be honest 

iEit the close ; not an exercise should be omitted 
because the examination approaches. The good 
teacher should keep those great motives before the 
mind, which look to future usefulness, and to the 
discharge of duty. The child should be taught that 
he is accountable for what he acquires, and what 
he may acquire, and not for what he may appear 
to have acquired ; and that this accountability is not 
confined to a single day, soon to pass and be forgotten; 
but it runs through all time and all eternity. 

I know not but the expectation of an examination 
may stimulate some to greater exertion, and make 
them better scholars. If this be so, it may be well 
enough ; and yet I should be slow to present such 
a motive to the mind of a child, because a special or 
secondary accountability always detracts from the 
general and chief. 

A strong reason, in addition to those already*assigned, 
why special preparation should not be made for the 
examination, is, that where such preparation is ex 
pected, the pupils becopie careless in their ordinary 

While, .then, I think too much stress is at present 
placed upon showy exhibitions and celebrations, and 
that objections and dangers attend examinations ^ as 
frequently conducted, I would not recommend alto- 
gether their discontinuance. I would rather urge 
that the teacher, by his inflexible honesty, should 
make them fair representations of the actual condition 
of his school, without relying very much upon them 


Restrictions and limitations.— Profitable examinations. 

as a means of stimulating the pupils to exertion ; that 
the pupils should be made to feel that the -results 
of their exertion through the term, rather than a few 
special efforts near its close, would be brought into 
review ; that no hypocrisy or management should ever 
be tolerated, in order to win the applause of the multi- 
tude; that no particular lessons should ever be assigned 
for the occasion ; that it should be remembered, that 
the moral effect of an occasional failure at examination, 
will be more salutary upon the school than unbroken 
success ; and that the children are irreparably injured, 
when they are made in any way the wiUing instruments 
of false pretension. 

Under such circumstances, examinations may be 
profitable to all concerned. If teacher and pupils have 
done well, they have the opportunity of showing it 
without violence to their own consciences. The em- 
ployers, and patrons too, have some means of forming 
'a correct estimate of the value of their school ; and 
all parties may be encouraged and stimulated. But 
above all things, let the teacher be honest. 


Talents in a clergyman.~PiiTate character. 




In the choice of a clergyman, after estimating his 
moral and religious character, and ascertaining the order 
of his pulpit talents, a third question remains to be an- 
swered, viz : — What are his qualifications as ^pastor? 
How is he adapted to fulfil the various relations of pri- 
vate friend and counsellor ; and in the family circle, in 
his intercourse v^rith the aged and the young, how is he 
fitted to 

** AUine to brighter woilds and lead the way" t 

In that sacred profession every one knows that nearly 
as much good is to be done by private intercourse as in 
the public ministration. Many a heart can be reached 
by a friendly and informal conversation, that would re- 
main unmoved by the most powerful eloquence from the 
pulpit. Besides, many are prepared to be profited in 
the public exercises oy thai intercourse \u private which 
has opened their hearts, removed prejudice, and engen- 
dered a feeling of friendly interest in the preacher. The 
admonitions of the gospel thus have the double power 
of being truth, and truth uttered by tlie lips of a valued 


^i^— ^w— ^^— — ■ ■ ■ 11 ^»^— ■ ■ ■ ■ — ■ I ■■■■ ■ I ■ ■ ■ 1— —i^— — ^^^^^ 

l^ial qualities in a teacher.^He should call on the parents. 

— ~ ■ ■ ■ ■ - — 

It is, to some extent, thus with the school teacher. 
He may be very learned and very apt to teach, and yet 
fail of success in his district. Hence it is highly im-> 
portant that he should possess and carefully cultivate 
those social qualities, which will greatly increase his 
usefulness. The teacher should consider it a part of 
his duty, whenever he enters a district, to excite a deeper 
interest there among the patrons of the school than they 
have ever before felt. He should not be satisfied till 
he has reached every mind connected with his charge in 
such a way, that they will cheerfully co-operate with 
him and sustain his judicious efforts for good. Being 
imbued with a deep feeling of the importance of his 
work, he should let them see that he is alive to the in- 
terests of their children. To this end, — 

1. He sJwuld seek frequent opportunities of inter 
course with tJie parents. Though the advances toward 
this point, by the strict rules of etiquette, should be 
made by the parents themselves — (as by some it is ac- 
tually and seasonably done) — ^yet, as a general thing, 
taking the world as we find it, the teacher must lead the 
way. He must often introduce himself uninvited to the 
people among whom he dwells, calling at their homes 
in the spirit of his vocation, and conversing with them 
freely about his duty to their children and to themselves. 
Every parent of course will feel bound to be courteous 
and civil in his own house ; and, by such an interview, 
perhaps a difference of opinion, a prejudice, or a sus- 
picion may be removed, and the foundation of a mutual 
good understanding be laid, which many little troubles 

250 rnE teacher's relatiok 



Ottject of hjs calte.— He should explain his pli 

can never shake. It may be very useful to have an in* 
tenriew with such parents as have been disturbed by 
some administration of discipline upon members of their 
families. Let me not be understood, however, to recom- 
mend that the teacher should ever go to the parent in a 
cringing, unmanly spirit. It would probably be far 
better that the parties should ever remain entire stran- 
gers, than that their meeting should necessarily be an 
occasion of humiliating retraction on the part of the 
teacher. Neither should the parents ever be allowed 
to expect that the teacher always will as a matter of 
duty come to their confessional. But it is believed, 
if there could be a meeting of the parties as men, as 
gentlemen, as Christians, as coadjutors for the child's 
welfare, it would always be attended with good results. 
2. He should be willing to explain all his plans to 
the parents of his pupils. If they had implicit confi- 
dence in him, and would readily and fully give him 
every facility for carrying forward all his designs with- 
out explanation, then, perhaps, this direction might not 
be necessary. But as the world is, he cannot expect 
spontaneous confidence. They wish to know his de- 
signs, and it is best they should be informed of them by 
Jiimself. The best way for the teacher to interest them 
in the business of education, will be freely to converse 
with them concerning the measures he intends to adopt. 
If his plans are judicious, he of course can show good 
reasons why they should be carried into eflFect ; and 
parents are generally willing to listen to reason, espe- 
rially when it is directed to the benefit of their own 


Encourage inquinr.— No mystery.— Encourage parental vlaitation. 

children. Many a parent, upon the first announcement 
of a measure in school, has stoutly opposed it, who upon 
a little explanatory conversation with the teacher, would 
entertain a very different opinion, and oyer after would 
be most ready to countenance and support it. 

It seems to me a teacher may safely encourage in* 
futry into all his movements in school. There is an 
old sajring — ^in my opinion a mischievous one,— -which 
enjoins it as a duty upon all, to '* tell no tales out of 
school." I see no objection to the largest liberty in this 
matter. Why may not every thing be told, if told cor- 
rectly ? Parents frequently entertain a suspicious spirit 
as to the movements of the teacher. Would not very 
much of this be done away, if it was understood there 
was no mystery about the school ? The teacher who 
would thus invite inquiry, would be very careful never 
to do any thing which he would not be willing to have 
related to the parents, or even to be witnessed by them. 
I would have no objection, if it were possible, that the 
walls of our schoolrooms,, as you look inward, should 
be transparent, so that any individual unperceived 
might view witli his own eyes the movements within. 
The consciousness of such an oversight would work a 
healthy influence upon those who have too long de- 
lighted in mystery. 

3. The teacher should encourage parents frequently 
to visit his school. There is almost everywhere too 
great backwardness on the part of parents to do thia 
duty. The teacher should early invite them to come 
in. It is not enough that he do this in general terms. 

252 THE teacher's relation 

Begin with mothen.— Be honest.— No fake pretencei. 

He may fix the time, and arrange the party, so that those 
who would assimilate, should be brought together. It 
. will frequently be wise to begin with the mothers, where 
visitation has been unusual. They will soon bring in 
the fathers. As often as they come they will be bene- 
fited. When such visits are made, the teacher should 
not depart from his usual course of instruction on their 
account. Let all the recitations and explanations be 
attended to, all praises and reproofs, all rewards and pun- 
ishments be as faithfully and punctually dispensed as if 
no person were present. In other words, let the teacher 
faithfully exhibit the school just as it is, its lights and its 
shadows, so that they may see all its workings, and 
understand all its trials as well as its encouragements. 

Such visitations under such circumstances, it is be- 
lieved, would ever be highly beneficial. The teacher's 
difficulties and cares would be better understood, and 
his efforts to be useful appreciated. The hindrances, 
thus seen to impede his progress, would be promptly 
removed, and the teacher would receive more cordial 
sympathy and support. 

But if the teacher makes such visits the occasion for 
putting a false appearance upon the school ; if be takes 
to himself unusual airs, such as make him ridiculous in 
the eyes of his pupils, and even in his own estimation ; 
if he attempts to bring before the visitors his best 
classes, and to impiess them with his own skill by 
showing off his best scholars, they will, sooner or later, 
discover his hypocrisy, and very likely despise him for 
an attempt to deceive them. 


Be frank and trae with pareuta.— No evasioii. 

4. The teacher should be frank in all his represent 
tations to parents concerning their children. This is a 
point upon which many teachers most lamentably err. 
In this, as in every other case, " honesty is the best 
policy." If an instructor informs a parent during the 
term that his son is making rapid progress, or as the 
phrase is — " doing very well," he excites in him high 
expectations ; and if at the end of the term it turns out 
otherwise,. the parent with much justice may feel that 
he has been injured, and may be expected to load him 
with censure instead of praise. Let a particular an- 
swer, and a true one^ always be given to the inquiry — 
" How does my child get along ?" The parent has a 
right to know, and the teacher has no right to conceal 
the truth. Sometimes teachers, fearing the loss of a 
pupil, have used some indefinite expression, which, how- 
ever, the dossing parent is usually ready to interpret to 
his child's advantage. But sooner or later the truth will 
appear ; and when the teacher is once convicted of any 
misrepresentation in this particular, there is rarely any 
forgiveness for him. For this reason and for his own 
love of truth, for his own reputation and for the child's 
welfare, he should keep nothing back. He should tell 
the whole story plainly and frankly, — and the parent, if 
he is a gentleman, will thank him for his faithfulness to 
him ; and if he has any sense of justice, he will be ready 
to cooperate with him for his child's improvement. At 
any rate such a course will ensure the leward of a good 

The teacher, as I have before urged, should have 

£54 THB teacher's relation. 

study the art of convexBation.— Be modeBL~'* Outdoor WQik." 

the habits and manners of a gentleman. He should 
strive also to acquire the ability to converse in an 
easy and agreeable way, so that his society shall 
never be irksome. He, in other words, should be 
a man who does not require much entertaining 
Modesty, withal, is a great virtue in the teacher; 
especially in his intercourse with the people of his 
district. Teachers, from their almost constant inter- 
course with their pupils, are apt to think their own 
opinions infallible ; and they sometimes commit the 
ridiculous error, of treating others wiser than them* 
selves as children in knowledge. This infirmity, 
incident to the profession, should be carefully avoided ; 
and while the teacher should ever endeavor to make 
his conversation instructive, he should assume no 
airs of superior learning or infallible authority. He 
should remember the truth in human nature, that 
men are best pleased to learn without being ren^inded 
that they are learners. 

I have known some teachers, who have sneered 
at what they have termed, the ** out-door work*' 
here recommended. They have thrown themselves 
upon their dignity, and have declared that when they 
had done their duty within the schoolroom, Uiey had 
done all that could be expected, and that parents 
were bound to co-operate with them, and sustain 
them. But, after all, we must take the world as 
we find it; and since parents do not always feel 
interested as they should, I hold it to be a part of 
the teacher's duty to excite their interest, and to win 


Its result 

them to his aid by all the proper means m his power. 
In doing this, he will,* in the most effectual way, 
secure the progress of his school, and at the same 
time advance his own person^ improTement 

S56 teacher's care of his health. 

Many invalid teachon.— Reasons. 

teacher's care of his health. 

No employment is more vrearing to the constitation 
than the business of teaching. So many men falter 
in this employment from ill health, and so many are 
deterred from entering it, because they have witnessed 
the early decay and premature old age of those who 
have before pursued it ; so many are still engaged in 
it who almost literally "drag their slow length along, ' 
groaning under complicated forms of disease and loss 
of spirits, which they know not how to tolerate or 
cure, — that it has become a serious inquiry among the 
more intelligent of the profession, " Cannot something 
be known and practised on this subject, which shall 
remove the evils complained of?" Is it absolutely 
necessary that teachers shall be dyspeptics and inva- 
lids ? Must devotion to a calling so useful, be attended 
with a penalty so dreadful ? 

A careful survey of the facts, by more than one 
philanthropist, has led to the conclusion, that the loss 
of health is not a necessary attendant upon the teacher 
of the young. It is believed, indeed, that the confine 
ment from the air and sunlight, and the engrossing 


Laws of health shouhl be Btixdied.— Effect of a change of employment. 

nature of his pursuits, have a strong tendency to bring 
on an irritability of the nervous system, a depression 
of spirits, and a prostration of the digestive functions ; 
but it is also believed, that, by following strictly and 
systematically the known laws of health, this tendency 
may be successfully resisted, and the teacher's life 
and usefulness very much prolonged. The importance 
of the subject, and a desire to render this volume as 
useful as possible, has induced me to ask leave to 
transfer to its pages, with slight abbreviation, the very 
judicious and carefully written chapter on " Health — 
Exercise — Diet,'' contained in the " School and the 
Schoolmaster," from the gifted pen of George B. 
Emerson, Esq., of Boston,— one of the most enlight- 
ened educators of the present age. 


^' The teacher should have perfect health. It may 

seem almost superfluous to dwell here upon what is 

admitted to be so essential to all persons ; but it 

becomes necessary, from the fact that nearly all those 

who engage in teaching, leave other and more active 

employments to enter upon their new calling. By this 

change, and by the substitution of a more sedentary 

life within-doors, for a life of activity abroad, the 

whole habit of the body is changed, and the health 

will inevitably suffer, unless precautions be taken 

which have never before been necessary. To all 


258 tracher's care of his health. 

Exercise.— Teacher qiecially needs it.— Walking.— Howl 

9uch persons — to all, especially, who are enteriug 
upon the work of teaching with a view of making it 
their occupation through life, a knowledge of the laws 
of health is of the utmost, importance, and to such 
this chapter is addressed. I shall speak of these 
laws briefly, under the heads of Exercise, Air, Sleep, 
Food, and Dress. 

'* Exercise. So intimate is the connection between 
the various parts of our compound nature, that the 
faculties of the mind cannot be naturally, fully, and 
effectually exercised, without the health of the body. 
And the first law of health is, that which imposes 
the necessity of exercise, 

" The teacher cannot be well without exercise, 
and usually a great deal of it. No other pursuit 
requires so much, — ^no other is so exhausting to the 
nerves ; and exercise, air, cheerfulness, and sunshine, 
are necessary to keep them in health. Most other 
pursuits give exercise of body, sunshine, and air, 
in the very performance of the duties that belong to 
them. This shuts us up from all. 

'' One of the best, as one of the most natural 
modes of exercise, is walking. To give all the 
good effects of which it is susceptible, a walk must 
be taken either in pleasant company, or, if alone, 
with pleasant thoughts ; or, still better, with some 
agreeable end in view, such as gathering plants, or 
minerals, or observing other natural objects. Many 
a broken constitution has been built up, and many 
A valuable life saved and prolonged, by such a love 

teacher's care of his health. 259 

President Hitchcock.— Hiding on honeback.— Garden. 

of some branch of natural history as has led to snatch 
every opportunity for a walk, with the interest of a 
delightful study, 

' Where living tilings, and things inanimato 
Do speak, at Heaven's command, to eye and ear.' 

The distinguished geologist of Massachusetts, Presi 
dent Hitchcock, was once, when teacher of a school, 
reduced to so low a state by disease of the nerves, 
which took the ugly shape of dyspepsy, that he 
seemed to be hurrying rapidly towards the grave. 
Fortunately, he became interested in mineralogy, and 
this gave him a strong motive to spend all his 
leisure time in the open air, and to take long 
circuits in every direction. He forgot that he was 
pursuing health, in the deeper interest of science ; 
and thus, aided by some other changes in his 
habits, but not in his pursuits, he gradually recov- 
ered the perfect health which has enabled him to 
do so much for science, and for the honor of his 
native State. 

'' Riding on horseback is one of the best modes 
of exercise possible for a sedentary person. It leads 
to an erect posture, throws open the chest, gives a 
fuller breathing, and exercises the muscles of the 
arms and upper part of the frame. * * • In 
weakness of the digestive organs its efficacy is 
remarkable. • • • 

"A garden furnishes many excellent forms of 
exercise, and the numerous labors of a farm woaU 

260 teacher's care of his health. 

Farm labor.— Rowing.— Sawing and splitting wood.— WfurenCoIbmii. 

give every variety, if the teacher could be in a situ 
ation to avail himself of them. This is not often 
the case. When accessible, the rake, the pitchfork, 
moderately used, cannot be too highly reconunended. 
A garden is within the reach of most teachers in 
the country. It has the advantage of supplying 
exercise suited to every degree of strength, and of 
being filled with objects gratifying to the eye and the 
taste. • • • The flower-garden and shrubbery 
commend themselves to the female teacher. To 
derive every advantage from them, she must be 
willing to follow the example often set by the 
ladies of England, and use the hoe, the rake, the 
pruning-hook, and the grafting knife, with her own 

" Rowings when practicable, is a most healthful 
exercise. It gives play to every muscle and bone 
in the frame. • • • When the river is frozen, 
skating may take the place of rowing ; and it is an 
excellent substitute. • • • Driving a chaise or a 
sleigh, is a healthful exercise, if sufficient precaution 
be used to guard against the current which is always 
felt, as it is produced by the motion of the vehicle, 
even in still air. 

" Sawing and splitting wood form a valuable 
exercise, particularly important for those who have 
left an active life for the occupation of teaching. 

" Exercise should be taken in the early part of the 
day. Warren Colburn, the author of the Arithmetic, 
whose sagacity in common things was as remarkable 

teacher's care of his health. 261 

In the morning;.— In open air.— In the light 

as his genius for numbers, used to say, that half an 
hour's walk before breakfast did him as much good as 
an hour's after. Be an early riser. The air of mom* 
ing is more bracing and invigorating ; the sights, and 
sounds, and odors of morning are more refreshing. A 
life's experience in teaching declares the morning 
best. • • • 

" Exercise must always be taken, if possible, in the 
open air. Air is as essential as exercise, and often, in 
warm weather particularly, more so. They belong to- 
gether. The blood flows not as it should, it fails to 
give fresh life to the brain, if we breathe hot fresh air 
enough. The spirits cannot enjoy the serene cheer- 
fulness which the teacher needs, if be breathe not fresh 
air enough. The brain cannot perform its functions ; 
thought cannot be quick, vigorous, and healthy, with- 
out ample supplies of air. Much of the right moral 
tone, of habitual kindliness and thankful reverence, de- 
pends on the air of heaven. 

'^ Exercise must be taken in the light ; and if it may 
be, in the sunshine. Who has not felt tlie benignant 
influence of sunshine ? The sun's light seems almost 
as essential to our well-being as his heat, or the air we 
breathe. It has a great effect on the nerves. A dis- 
tinguished physician of great experience. Dr. J. C. 
Warren of Boston, tells me that he almost uniformly 
finds diseases that affect the nerves exasperated by the 
darkness of night, and mitigated by the coming on of 
day. All plants growing in the air lose their strength 
and color when excluded from light. So in a gi eat 

262 teacher's care of his health. 

ClcanlineaB.— Water.— Sleep.— Six or eight houn.— Diet 

degree does man. They lose their fine and delicate 
qualities, and the preciousness of their juices Man 
loses the glow of his spirits, and the warmth and natu- 
ral play of his finer feelings. • • • 

'' Next to air and light, water is the most abundant 
element in nature. It can hardly be requisite to enjoin 
upon the teacher the freest use of it. The most scru« 
pulous cleanliness is necessary, not only on his own 
account, but that he may be able always to insist upon 
it, with authority, in his pupils. The healthy state of 
the nerves, and of the functions of digestion, depends 
in so great a degree on the cleanliness of the skin, that 
its importance can hardly be overstated. • • • 

" Sleep. No more fatal mistake in regard to his 
constitution can be made by a young person given to 
study than that of supposing that Nature can be cheat 
ed of the sleep necessary to restore its exhausted, or 
strengthen its weakened powers. From six to eight 
hours of sleep are indispensable ; and with young per- 
sons, oftener eight or more, than six. It is essential to 
the health of the body, and still more to that of the 
mind. It acts directly on the nervous system ; and 
irritability, or what is called nervousness^ is the conse 
quence of its loss. This, bad in any person, is worse 
in the teacher than in any one else. It is an unfailing 
source of unhappiness to himself and to all his school. 
He would be unwise to subject himself to the conse- 
quences of the loss of sleep ; he has no right to sub- 
ject others. • • • 

*^ Diet. To no person is an attention to diet more 

teacher's care (MP HIS HEALTH. 263 

Simple food.— -Extremes in kind and qoantity.— True medium. 

important than to the teacher. For his own guidance^ 
and that he may be able to give proper instructions in 
regard to this subject to his pupils, the conclusions of 
experience, or what we may consider the laws of diet, 
should be familiar to him. Some of these are the fol 
lowing : 

" 1. Food should be simple ; not of too little nor too 
great variety. The structure of the teeth, resembling 
at once those of animals that naturally subsist on flesh, 
and of animals that take only vegetable food, and the 
character and length of the digestive organs, holding a 
medium between the average of these two classes, 
indicate that a variety of food, animal and vegetable, is 
natural to man, and in most cases probably necessary. 
The tendency m most parts of this country, from the 
great abundance of the necessaries of life, is to go to 
excess in the consumption of food, particularly of ani- 
mal food. The striking evils of this course have led 
many to the opposite extreme — to' renounce meats en- 
tirely. Experience of the evils of this course also has 
in most places brought men back to the safe medium. 
No person needs to be more careful in regard to the 
quality and nature of his food than the teacher, as his 
exclusion from air for a great part of the day leaves 
him in an unfit condition to digest unwholesome food, 
while the constant use of his lungs renders his appetite 
unnaturally great, or destroys it altogether. Animal 
food seems to be necessary, but not in great quantities, 
nor oftener, usually, than once a day. * * * In 
winter, the food should be nourishing, and may be morq 


Tftken at intenrals.— Moderate quantity .—Avoid fat, 

abundant ; in summer, less nutritious, les& of animal 
origin, and in more moderate quantity. 

" 2. Food should be taken at sufficiently distant 
intervals. • • • The operation of digestion 
is not completed, ordinarily, in less than four hours. 
Food should not be taken at shorter intervals than this, 
and intervals of five or six hours are better, as they 
leave the stomach some time to rest. 

'* 3. It should be taken in moderate quantity. In 
the activity of common life, excess is less to be dreaded 
than with the sedentary habits and wearying pursuits 
of the teacher. • • • The exhaustion of 
teaching is that of the nervous power, and would seem 
to call for hours of quiet, and freedom from care, with 
cheerful conversation and the refreshment of air and 
gentle exercise. Probably all the kinds of food in 
general use are wholesome when partaken of moder- 
ately. Those who, from choice or compulsion, pass 
from an active to a sedentary life, should at the same 
time restrict themselves to one half their accustomed 
quantity of food. 

"4. As a general rxjXefat should be avoided. * * 
None but a person who uses a great deal of most active 
exercise, or is much exposed to cold, can long bear its 
use with impunity. If taken, fat in a solid form is less 
injurious than liquid fat. 

" 5. Fruit may be eaten with the recollection of the 
proverb of fruit-producing countries : ' It is gold in the 
morning, silver at noon, and lead at night.' Ripe fruit 
in its season is wholesome, and preferable, for a persov 

teacher's care of his health. 265 

Fruit.— Drink water.— At meaJs.— Dress. 

of sedentary habits, to more nourishing and exciting 
food. But it should be a substitute for other food, not 
an addition. A bad practice, common in some places, 
of eating fruit, especially the indigestible dried fruits, 
raisins, and nuts, in the evening, should be Avoided by 
the teacher. He must have quiet and unintemipted 
sleep, and early hours^^ to be patient, gentle, and cheer 
ful in school. 

"6. The Srink of a sedentary person should be 
chiefly virater, and that in small quantities, and only at 
meals. The intelUgent Arab of the desert drinks not 
dunng the heat of the day. He sees that watering a 
plant in the sunshine makes it wither ; and he feels ip 
himself an analogoui| eflfect from the use of water. 
There are few lessons in regard to diet so important 
to be inculcated as this : * Drink not between meals.' 

" 7. The last rule to be observed is, that no unne- 
cessary exertion of mind or body should be used imme- 
diately after a meal. If a walk must be taken it should 
rather be a leisurely stroll than a hurried walk. 

'^ Dress. The teacher should be no sloven. He 
should dress well, not over nicely, not extravagantly ; 
neatly, for neatness he must teach by example as well 
as by precept ; and warmly, for so many hours of the 
day shut in a warm room will make him unusually 
sensitive to cold. The golden rule of health should 
never be forgotten: 'Keep the head cool, the feet 
warm, and the body free.' The dress of the feet is 
particularly important. Coldness or dampness of the 
&et causes headache, weakness and inflanamation of 

266 teacher's care of his health. 

CheeiAiInesB.— Cause of low spirits.— A home. 

the eyes, coughs, consumptions, and sometimes feveni 
A headache is often cured by sitting with the feet long 
near a fire. Keeping the feet warm and dry alleviates 
the common affections of the eyes, repels a coming 
fever, prevents or quiets coughs, and serves as one of 
the surest safeguards against consumption. Many of 
our most sensible physicians trace the prevalence of 
consumption in northern states, not to our climate, but 
to the almost universal custom of wearing insufficient 
clothing, eispecially on the feet. 

" There is another subject intimately connected with 
health, which has been alluded to, but which ought, 
from its importance, to receive more than a passing 
remark. It is cheerfulness. This should be one of the 
ends and measures of health. It ought to he consid- 
ered the natural condition of a healthy mind ; he who 
is not cheerful is not in health. If he has not some 
manifest moral cause of melancholy, there must be 
something wrong in the body, or in the action of the 
powers of the mind. 

" A common cause of low spirits in a teacher; is 
anxiety in regard to the well-doing of his pupils. This 
he must feel ; but he must endeavor, as far as possible, 
to banish it from his hours of relaxation. He must 
leave it behind him when he turns from the school- 
house door. To prevent its haunting him, he must seek 
pleasant society. He must forget it among the endear- 
ments of home, the cheerful faces and kind voices of 
friends. This is the best of all resources, and happy 
is the man who has a pleasant home, in the bosom of 

teacher's caee of his health. 267 

Sociality.— Marie— A pernicious habit 

which he may rest from labor and from care. If he 
be among strangers, he must endeavor to find or make 
friends to supply the place of home. He must seek 
the company of the parents and friends of his pupils, 
not only that he may not be oppressed by the loneliness 
of his situation, but that he may better understand the 
character of his pupils, and the influences to which 
they are subjected. The exercise of the social affec- 
tions is essential to the healthy condition of a well-con- 
stituted mind. Often he will find good friends and 
pleasant companions among his pupils. Difference of 
years disappears before kindliness of feehng, and sym- 
pathy may exi^t between those most remote in age, and 
pursuit, and cultivation. 

*' A delightful, but somewhat dangerous recreation is 
offered by music ; delightful, as always soothing to the 
wearied mind ; but dangerous, because liable to take 
to itself too much time. It would be desirable if every 
instructor could himself sing or play. If he cannot, let 
him listen to songs or cheerful music from voice or 
instrument, or to the notes of birds. 

" ' Pm sick of noise and care, and now mine ear 
Longs for some air of peace ' " 

To the foregoing excellent remarks, I could scarcely 
wish to add any thing, save to call attention to that 
pernicious habit among both clergymen and teachers, of 
dressing the neck too warmly whenever they go into the 

268 tsachbr's care of his hbaitTH. 

'* Comforter."— Bronchitia. 

Open air. There seems to have obtained an impressioa 
that those who have occasion to speak often, should be 
peculiarly careful to guard their throats from the cold. 
Hence many are seen in a winter's day with a collar 
of fur, or a woollen ''comforter," or at least a silk 
handkerchief of extraordinary dimensions, around their 
necks, and often extending above their mouths and 
nostrils. If they have occasion to step out but for 
a moment, they are still subject to the slavery of put- 
ting on this unnatural encumbrance. 

Now I beUeve that this extra covering for the neck, 
instead of preventing disease of the throat and lungs, 
is one of the most fruitful sources of such disease. 
These parts being thus thickly covered during exercise, 
become very warm, and an excessive local perspiration 
is excited ; and the dampness of the throat is much 
increased if the covering extends above the mouth and 
nose, thus precluding the escape -of the exhalations 
from the lungs. When, therefore, this covering is 
removed, even within-doors, a very rapid evaporation 
takes place, and a severe cold is the consequence. In 
this way a cold is renewed every day, and hoarseness 
of the throat and irritation of the lungs is the necessary 
result. Very soon the clergyman or teacher breaks 
down with the bronchitis, or the ** lung complaint," 
and is obliged for a season at least to suspend his 
labors. This difficulty is very much enhanced, if th« 
ordinary neck-dress is a stiff stock, which, standing ofi 
from the neck, allows the ingress of the cold air af 
oon as the outer covering is removed. 

TEACHBR's care of HI8 HEALTH. 269 

Experieuce. — Stoaddling the neck. 

Having suffered myself very severely from this cause 
and having seen hundreds of cases in others, I was de 
sirous to bear the testimony of my experience against 
the practice, — and to suggest to all v^ho have occasion 
to speak long and often that the simplest covering for 
the neck is the best. A very light cravat is all that is 
necessary. If the ordinary cravat be too thick and too 
warm, as the large-sized white cravats, so fashionable 
with the clergy, usually are, during the exercise of 
speaking, an unnatural flow of blood to the parts will 
be induced, which, after the exercise ceases, will be fol 
lowed by debility and prostration. A cold is then very 
readily taken and disease follows. I am confident, from 
my own experience and immediate observation, that this 
unnatural swaddling of the neck is one of the most 
fruitful causes of disease of the lungs and throat that 
can be mentioned 

270 teacher's relation 

Teaching a profeasion.— Low pay.— Its consequencet. 


teacher's relation to his profession. 

It has long been the opinion of the best minds in our 
country as well as in the most enlightened countries of 
Europe, that teaching should be a profession. It has 
been alleged, and with much justice, that this calling, 
which demands for its successful exercise the best of 
talents, the most persevering energy, and the largest 
share of self-denial, has never attained an appreciation 
in the public mind at all commensurate with its impor- 
Vajice. It has by no means received the emolument, 
either of money or honor, which strict justice would 
award in any other department to the talents and exer- 
tions required for this. This having been so long the 
condition of things, much of the best talent has been 
attracted at once to the other professions ; or if exer- 
cised awhile in this, the temptation of more lucrative 
reward, or of more speedy, if not more lasting honor, 
has soon diverted it from teaching, where so little of 
either can be realized, to engage in some other depart- 
ment of higher promise. So true is this, that scarcely 
a man can be found, having attained to any considerable 
eminence as a teacher, who has not been several times 
solicited — and perhaps strongly tempted — ^to engage ir 


Some noble souls.— Some small men.— Two evils. 

some more lucrative employment ; and while there have 
always been some strong men, who have preferrea 
leaching to any other calling, — men who would do honor 
to any profession, and who, while exercising this, have 
found that highest of all rewards, the consciousness of 
being useful to others, — still it must be confessed that 
teachers have too often been of just that class which a 
knowledge of the circumstances might lead us to pre- 
dict would engage in teaching ; men of capacity too 
limited for the other professions, of a temperament too 
sluggish to engage in the labors of active employment, 
» of manners too rude to be tolerated except in the society 
of children (!), and sometimes of a morality so perni- 
cious as to make them the unfailing contaminators of 
the young whenever permitted — not to teach — but to 
" keep school." Thus two great evils have been mu- 
tually strengthening each other. The indifference of 
the employers to the importance of good teachers, and 
their parsimony in meting out the rewards of teaching, 
have called into the field large numbers, in the strictest 
sense, unworthy of all reward ; while this very unwor- 
thiness of the teachers has been made the excuse for 
further indifference, and if possible for greater meanness 
on the part of employers. Such has been the state of 
the case for many years past, and such is, to a great 
extent, the fact at present. 

It has been the ardent wish of many philanthropists 
that this deplorable state of affairs should be exchanged 
for a better. Hence they have urged that teaching 
should be constituted a profession ; that none should 

272 teacher's relation 

Educational millennium. — How ushered inT— Difierent views. 

enter this profession but those who ard thoroughly quali- 
fied to discharge the high trust ; and, as a consequence, 
that the people should more liberally reward and honor 
those who are thus qualified and employed. This would 
indeed be a very desirable change ; it would be the 
educational millennium of the world. For such a period 
we all may well devoutly pray. 

But how shall this glorious age — not yet arrived — ^be 
ushered in 1 By whose agency, and by what h^ppy 
instrumentality must its approach be hastened? Here, 
as in all great enterprises, there is some difierence oi 
opinion. Some have urged that the establishment of 
normal schools and other seminaries for the bettei 
education of teachers, and the institution of a more vigi 
lani system of supervision, by which our schools should 
be effectually guarded against the intrusion of the igno- 
rant and inefficient teacher, is all that is necessary to 
bring in this brighter day. Others have zealously urged 
that such preparation and such supervision are entirely 
superfluous and premature in the present state of the 
public mind. TJiey say that the public must first be- 
come more liberal in its appropriations for schools ; it 
must at once double the amount it has been accustomed 
to pay to teachers, and thus secure, without further 
trouble, the best talent to this vocation. To this the 
former class reply, that the public has seldom been 
known to raise its price, so long as its wants could be 
supplied at the present rates. They say that the last 
century has afforded ample opportunity for the exhibi- 
tion of this voluntary generosity of the public, and yet 


TO His PROFE88IOK. 273 

Truth between the extremes.— A mutual evil, and a molaal remedy* 

we Still wait to see this anomaly in human prudence, of 
offering in advance to pay double the price for the same 
thing ; for until better teachers are raised up, it must 
be an advance upon the present stock. So there is a 
division among them, << for some cry one thing and some 

Now, I believe, in this case as in most others, the 
truth lies between the extremes. As the evil com 
plained of is a mutual oile, as has already been shown, 
— ^that is, an illiberal public has tolerated incompetent 
teachers, and the incompetence of teachers has enhanced 
in turn the parsimony of the public, — so the remedy 
must be a mutual one ; the public must be enlightened 
and teachers must be improved ; the pay of teachers 
must be raised, but there must be also something to 
warrant the higher rate. Nor is it easy to determine 
which shall begin first. We can hardly expect the 
people to pay more till they find an article worth 
more ; nor, on the other hand, can we expect the 
teachers Ito incur any considerable outlay to improve 
themselves, until better encouragement shall be held 
out to them by their employers. The two must gen- 
erally proceed together. Just as m the descending 
scale, there was a mutual downward tendency, so 
here, better service will command better pay, and in 
turn, the liberality of employers will stimulate the 
employed to still higher attainments in knowledge and 
greater exertions in their labors. 

In this condition of things, the question recurs. What 

is the duty of teachers in relation to their calling ? I 


274 teacher's relation 

Teacher'B doty.— The enooungements.— ^If-improvement 

answer, they are bound to do what they can to elevate 
it. Lord Bacon said, '^ Every man owes a debt to his 
profession." Teachers being supposed to be more intel- 
ligent than the mass of the community, may justly take 
the lead in the work of progress. They should, as a 
matter of duty, take hold of this work, — a work of sac- 
rifice and self-denial as it will be, at least for some time, 
— and heartily do what they can to magnify their oflBice 
and make it honorable. In the mean time they may do 
what they can to arouse the people to a sense of their 
duty. The more enlightened are to some extent with 
them already. The press, the pulpit, the legislative 
assemblies, all proclaim that something must be done. 
All admit the faithful teacher has not been duly re- 
warded, and some are found who are willing to do some- 
thing for the improvement both of the mind and condi- 
tion of the teacher. This is encouraging ; and while 
we rejoice at the few gleams of light that betoken our 
dawning, let us inquire, for a little space, how we can 
hasten the " coming in of the perfect day." 


T%e teacher should labor diligently to improve him 
self. This is a duty incumbent on all persons, but 
particularly upon the teacher. The very nature of his 
employment demands that his mind should be frequently 
replenished from the storehouses of knowledge. To 
interest children in their studies, how necessary is it 
that the teacher's mind should be thoroughly furnished 


Why important.— Example.— Temptations to self-neglect. 

with the richest thoughts of the wise ; to inspire them 
with a desire to learn, how important that he should be 
a living example of the advantage and enjoyment which 
learning alone can bestow ; to strew the path of know- 
ledge with flowers, and thus make it the path of pleas- 
antness, how desirable that he should abound with the 
aptest illustrations drawn from all that is wonderful and 
curious in nature and art ; to awaken the young mind to 
a consciousness of its capacities, its wants, its respon 
sibilities, how thoroughly should he know all the work 
ings of the human soul, — how wisely and carefully 
should he touch the springs of action, — ^how judiciously 
should he call to his aid the conscience and the religious 
feelings I 

Besides, let it be remembered that in this as in other 
things, the teacher's example is of great importance. 
The young will be very likely to judge of the impor- 
tance of their own improvement by the estimate the 
teacher practically places upon his ; nor can he with 
any good grace press his pupils to exertion, while they 
see that he makes none whatever himself. 

There is great danger, in the midst of the confine- 
ment and fatigue of the schoolroom, and the pressure 
of anxiety and care out of school, that the teacher will 
yield to the temptations of his position, and fall into 
habits of indolence as to his own improvement. Com- 
pelled, as he often is, to labor at great disadvantage, 
by reason of a small and poorly furnished schoolroom ; 
confined through the day from the sunshine and the 
fresh breeze ; subjected to a constant pressure of duty 


Stagnation accounted for.— The teacher has tune.— Ulustraled. 

amid untold trials of his patience, arising from the law 
that impels children to be active as well as inconsider 
ate ; required to concentrate his powers upon the double 
duty of governing and teaching at the same instant, and 
all through the session, — it is not strange, when the 
hour of release comes, that he should seek rest oi 
recreation at the nearest point, even' to the neglect of 
his own mental or moral culture. I am of the opinion 
that this accounts for the fact that so many persons 
enter the work of instruction, and continue in it for a 
longer or shorter period, without making the slightest 
progress either in the art of teaching or in their own 
intellectual growth. Their first school indeed is often 
their best. This tendency or temptation, incident to 
the calling, it is the teacher's duty constantly and man 
fully to resist. He can do it. 

1. He has the time to do it. He is usually required 
to spend but six hours in the day in the schoolroom 
Suppose he add two hours more for the purpose ot 
looking over his lessons and devising plans for improv 
ing his school, — he will still have sixteen hours foi 
sleep, exercise, recreation, and improvement. Eight 
hours are sufficient for sleep, especially for a seden- 
tary man, (some say less,) and four will provide for 
meals, exeroise, and recreation. Four still remain 
for improvement. Any teacher who is systematic 
and economical in the use of his time, can reserve 
for the purpose of his own improvement four houn 
in every twenty-four, and this without the slightest 



Punctuality in all things.— Immediate reward.— Proof. 

detriment to his school duties, or to his health. To be 
sure he must lead a regular life. He must have a 
plan, and systematically follow it. He must be puno' 
tual, at his school, at his meals, at his exercise or 
recreation, at his hour of retiring and rising, and at his 
studies. Nor should he ordinarily devote more time 
than I have mentioned directly to his school. He 
should labor with his whole soul while he does work, 
and he will the more heartily do this, if he has had 
time to think of something else during the season of 
respite from labor. It is a great mistake that teachers 
make when they think they shall be more successful by 
devoting all their thoughts to their schools. Very soon 
th6 school comes to occupy their sleeping as well as 
waking hours, and troublesome dreams disturb the 
repose of night. Such men must soon wear out. 

But according to the laws of our nature, by a change 
of occupation, the jaded faculties find rest. B.y taking 
up some new subject of inquiry, the intellect is relieved 
from the sense of fatigue which before oppressed it, the 
thoughts play freely again, the animation returns, the 
eye kindles, and the mind expands, 

2. Such labor finds immediate reward. The con- 
sciousness of growth is no small thing towards encour- 
aging the teacher. He feels that he is no longer 
violating his nature by allowing himself to stagnate. 
Then he will find every day that he can apply the 
newly-acquired truth to the illustration of some princi- 
ple he is attempting to teach. He has encouraging and 
immediate proof that he is a better teacher, and that he 

278 teacher's relation 

^■w-^^^^-^^Bw^-^v _ _ a^i^LJ jM 

How to improve.— A couise of profeasional reading.— The booki. 

has made himself so by timely exertion. He is thus 
again stimulated to rise above those temptations before 
described, — this immediate availability of his acquire- 
ments being vouchsafed to the teacher, as it is not to 
most men, in order to prompt him to stem the current 
which resists his progress. 

And now, if I have shown that a teacher is bound to 
improve himself, both from a regard to his own well 
being and the influence of his example upon others, — 
and if I have also shown that he can improve-himself, 
I may be indulged in making a few suggestions as to 
the manner of his doing it. 

1. He should have a course of professional reading » 
It will do much for his improvement to read the works 
of those who have written on the subject of education 
and the art of teaching. If possible he should collect 
and possess a small educational library. It will be of 
great service to him to be able to read more than once 
such suggestions as are abundantly contained in the 
" Teacher's Manual," by Palmer ; the " School and 
Schoolmaster," by Potter and Emerson ; the " Teach- 
er," by Abbott ; the " Teacher Taughtj" by Davis ; 
" Lectures on Schoolkeeping," by Hall ; " The Com- 
mon School Journal," "Secretary's Reports," and. 
" Lectures," by Horace Mann ; the " Connecticut 
Common School Journal," and " Journal of the Rhode 
Island Institute," by H. Barnard ; the " District School 
Journal" of New York, by Francis Dwight and others ; 
the " Lectures of the American Institute of Instruc- 
lioi* ;" the " Schoolmaster's Friend," by T. Dwight ; 


A course of general study.— One thing at a time. 

the "District School," by J. Orville Taylor; the 
'* Teacher's Advocate," by Cooper ; the writings, if 
they can be obtained, of Wyse, of Cousin, of Lalor, of 
Lord Brougham on Education, together with such 
other works as are known to contain sound and practi- 
cal views. It is not to be expected that every teacher 
will possess all these, or that he will read them all in 
a single term. But it is well to hold converse with 
other minds, and to have it in our power to review 
their best thoughts whenever our own need refreshing. 
I have given a somewhat extended list of books be- 
cause the inquiry is now so often made by teachers 
what they shall read. 

2. By pursuing systematically a course of general 
study. Many teachers who have a desire to improve 
themselves, still fritter away their time upon little misr 
cellaneous matters, without making real progress. It 
is well in this to have a plan. Let some one study, — 
it may be geology, or astronomy, or chemistry, or 
botany, or the pure mathematics, — ^let some one study 
receive constant attention till no mean attainments have 
been made in it. By taking one thing at a time and 
diligently pursuing it, at the end of a term the teacher 
feels that he has something to show for his labor, — and 
he is, by the advance already made, prepared to take 
the next and more difficult step. In a course of years 
while a neighbor who began teaching at the same timt, 
has been stagnating or even retrograding for the want 
of a plan and a purpose, a diligent man, by system and 
perseverance, may make himself at least equal to many 


A journal or common-place book. ~Why!— A demoDBtration. 

who have enjoyed better advantages in early life, and 
at the same time have the superadded enjoyment of 
feeling that he has been his own teacher. 

3. Keep a journal or common-place book. The habit 
of composing daily is very valuable to the teacher. In 
this book he may record whatever plans he has devised 
with their results in practice. He may enter remarka- 
ble cases of discipline, — in short, any thing which in 
the course of his practice he finds interesting. Those 
valuable suggestions which he receives from others, or 
hints that he may derive from books, may be epito- 
mized here, and thus be treasured up for future refer- 
ence. Sometimes one's best thoughts fade from his 
own mind, and he has no power to recall them. Such 
a book would preserve them, and would moreover 
show the character of one's thoughts at any particular 
period, and the progress of thought, from one period 
to another, belter than any other means.* 

To these means of self-culture I would add the prac- 
tice of carefully reading and writing on chosen subjects, 
more fully described in the chapter on Habits of the 

By all these means and such others as may come 
vrithin his reach, if a teacher succeeds in his attempts 
at progress, he does much for his profession' The very 
fact that he has given practical demonstration that a 
man may teach and still improve ; that the temptations 

* For furtlier remarks on the Common-place Book, bee chap. vii. p. 108^ 


ElncoQragement to othen.— Mutaal aid.— Selfishness. 

of his profession may be resisted and overcome ; that 
the life of the pedagogue which has required him to 
ieep the company of small minds, and to be occupied 
with minute objects, has never prevented his holding 
communion with the greatest men our earth has known, 
nor circumscribed in the least the sphere of his grasp- 
ing research, — I say the very fact that he has thus 
shown what a man may do under such circum 
stances, may do much to encourage others to like 

But there are other and direct duties which he owes 
to his profession, which I proceed to consider under 
the head of 


Every teacher should be willing to impart as well as 
to receive good. No one, whatever may be his per- 
sonal exertions, can monopolize all the wisdom of the 
world. The French have a proverb that " Everybody 
is wiser than anybody." Acting on this principle, the 
teacher should be willing to bring his attainments into 
the common stock, and to diffuse around him as far as 
he is able the light he possesses. I have no language 
with which to express my abhorrence of that selfish- 
ness, which prompts a man, after attaining to some 
eminence as a teacher by the free use of all the means 
within his reach, self-complacently to stand aloof from 
his fellow teachers, as if he would say, "Brethren, 
help yourselves — I have no need of you, and you have 
no claim upon me. I have toiled bard for my emi- 

282 teacher's relation 

An ezclosive q>iiit— without cxcuae.-— M utual Tiatatlon. 

nepce, and the secret is with me. I will enjoy it alone. 
When you have toiled as long, you may be as wise. 
Brethren, help yourselves." Such a spirit would per- 
haps be tolerated by the world in an avaricious man« 
who had labored to treasure up the shining dust of earth. 
But no man may innocently nienopolize knowledge. 
The light of the sun is shed in golden refulgence upon 
every man, and no one if he would, may separate a 
portion for his own exclusive use, by closing his shut 
ters about him, — for that moment his light becomes 
darkness, It is thus with the light of knowledge. 
Like the air we breathe, or like the rain from heaven, 
it should be free to all. The man who would lock up 
the treasures of learning from the gaze of the whole 
world, whether in the tomes of some dusty library, as 
of old it was done, or in the recesses of his narrower 
soul, is unworthy of the name of man ; he certainly 
has not the spirit of the teacher. 

An exclusive spirit may be borne where meaner 
things, as houses, and lands, and gold, are at stake ; 
but in education and religion — ^light and love, — where 
giving doth not impoverish nor withholding make rich, 
there fs not even the shadow of an excuse for it. The 
man who is exclusive in these things, would be so, I 
fear, in heaven. 

How can teachers encourage each other ? 

1. By mutual visitation. Very much may be done 
by social intercourse. Two teachers can scarcely 
converse together an hour without benefiting each 
other. The advantages of intercourse with friends* 


Dr. Young.— Even one's faults may instruct us. 

as delineated by Dr. Young, may not be denied to 

'* Hast thou no friend to set thy mmd abroach f 
Good sense will stagnate. Thoughts shut up want air» 
And spoil like bales unopened to the sun. 
Had thought been all, sweet speech had been denied. 

• **«**« 
Thought, too, delivered, is the more posseased : 
Teaching, we learn ; and giving, we retain ^ 

The births of intellect ; when dumb, forgot 
Speech ventilates our intellectual fire ; 
Speech burnishes our mental magazine, 
Brightens for ornament, and whets for use." 

But not only should teachers visit one. another, — it rs 
profitable also for them to visit each other's schools. I 
have never spent an hour in the school of another with- 
out gaining some instruction. Sometimes a new way 
of illustrating a difficult point, sometimes an exhibition 
of tact in managing a difficult case in discipline, some 
times an improved method of keeping up the interest 
in a class, would suggest the means of making my own 
labors the more successful. And even should one's 
neighbor be a bad teacher, one may sometimes learn 
as much from witnessing glaring defects as great ex- 
cellencies. Some of the most profitable lessons I have 
ever received, have been drawn from the deficiencies 
of a fellow teacher. We seldom " see ourselves as 
others see us ;" and we are often insensible of our 
own faults till we have seen them strikingly exhibited 
by another ; and then by a comparison we correct our 

Besides, by a visitation of a friend's school we may 

284 tbaoher's relation 

Stated teachen' meetings.— Their use.— Employ the pen. 

not only receive good, but we may impart it. If there 
is mutual confidence, a few words may aid him to cor 
rect his faults, if he has any, — faults which but for 
such suggestion might grow into confirmed habits, to 
his permanent injury. 

So important is this mutual visitation among teach 
ers as a means of improvement, that I doubt not em- 
ployers would find it for their interest to encourage it 
by allowing the teachers to set apart an occasional half 
day for this purpose. 

It would, moreover, be very useful for the teachers 
of a town to hold stated meetings, as often as once a 
month, for the purpose of mutual improvement. It 
would cultivate a fellow-feeling among them, and it 
would afibrd them an opportunity to exchange thoughts 
on most of the difficulties which they meet in their 
schools, and the best methods of surmounting them. 
At these meetings, a mutual exchange of books on the 
subject of teaching, would extend the facilities of each 
for improving his own mind and his methods of in- 
struction and government. 

2. By the use of the pen. Every teacher should be 
a ready writer. Nearly every teacher could gain ac- 
cess to the columns of some paper, through which be 
could impart the results of his experience, or of his 
reflection. Such a course would benefit him specially, 
and at the same time it would awaken other minds to 
thought and action. In this way the attention, not only 
of teachers but parents, would be called to the great 
work of education. One mind in this way might move 


Teach&n' AsBociatious.— Institutes.— Tlieir utility.— Should be practicaL 

a thousand. If a teacher does not feel qualified to 
instruct^ let him inquire^ and thus call out the wisdom 
of others. This could be done in nearly every village. 
The press is almost always ready to promote the cause 
of education. By the use of it, teachers may profita- 
bly discuss all the great questions pertaining to their 
duty, and at the same time enlighten the community in 
which they live. This is an instrumentality as yet too 
little employed. 

3. By Teacher^ Associations or Institutes, These 
are pecuharly adapted to the diffusion of the best 
plans of instruction. Rightly conducted, they can 
never fail of being useful. Every man who lectures 
or teaches, is profited by the preparation. If he is 
a man ' of wisdom and experience, he will benefit his 
hearers. If otherwise, the discussion, which should 
ever follow a lecture, will expose its fallacies. It has 
often happened in such associations, that an honest 
and experienced man has, in a half-hour, given to 
the younger portion of the members, lessons of 
wisdom which it would take them years to learn by 
their own observation. Errors in principle and prac- 
tice have been exposed, into which many a young 
teacher was unconsciously falling, and hints have 
been given to the quicker minds, by which their own 
modes of teaching and governing have been speedily 

As far as possible, such meetings should be made 
strictly practical. The older teachers, who usually 
have the most to do with the management of them> 

286 teacher's relation 

A pezTenicii.— Talk.— Enoouragement by meeting friends. 

should bear in mind that they are mainly designed 
to diffuse practical ideas of teaching, particularly 
among the younger members. Too often, these 
meetings are made the arena of debate upon questions 
of very little practical importance to the teacher. I 
have seen a body of men spend an entire session 
of a half-day, in discussing a series of overwrought 
lesolutionSf upon some topic scarcely at all connected 
with any duty of the teacher, frequently leaving the 
main question to wrangle about some point of order, 
or of " parliamentary usage ;" and after the resolutions 
were passed or rejected, as the case might be, — (and 
it was of very little consequence whether " carried" or 
" lost,") — ^the ladies and younger teachers who had 
borne no part in the talk, would find it difficult to tell 
"wherefore they had come together." Nothing had 
been said or done by which they could be aided in 
their schools. Lecturers, too, have frequently mis- 
taken their aim. Ambitious to shine out as literary 
men, they have given orations instead of practical 
lessons. In these meetings, it seems to me, nothing 
ostentatious, nothing far-fetched is what we need ; 
but rather the modes and experience of practical 
men. We need to come down to the schoolroom, 
to the every-day business of the teacher, and thus 
prepare him to do his work more successfully on his 
return to his duties. 

Another, and no inconsiderable advantage of such 
associations, is, that the teacher gains encouragement 
and strength, by being thus brought in contact with 


Ulufltration.— A prqfemonal feeling.— Light breaks in. 

Others engaged in the same pursuit. Toiling on alone, 
in his isolated district, surrounded by obstacles and 
discouragements, weighed down by care, and finding 
none to sympathize with him, he is almost ready to 
faint in his course, and perhaps to abandon his calling. 
At this crisis, he reads the notice for the teachers' 
meeting, and he resolves to go up once more to the 
gathering of his friends. From the various parts of 
the county, from the populous and crowded city, and 
from the byways of the country-towns, a goodly 
number collect together and greet each other. Smile 
answers to smile, the blood courses more freely through 
the veins, the spirits, long depressed perhaps, partake 
of the general glow, and each feels that he is not 
toiling alone. He feels that a noble brotherhood of 
kindred spirits are laboring in the same field, under 
trials and discouragements similar to those which have 
oppressed him. He derives new strength from the 
sympathy of friends. 

A professional feeling is engendered, which will 
accompany him to his schoolroom ; and when he 
goes home, it is with renewed vigor and fresh aspirings 
to be a better man, and a better teacher. He labors 
with more confidence in himself; and, enlightened 
by what he has seen and heard, he is far more 
successful than before. His pupils, too, respond to 
the new life they see enkindling in him, and go to 
their work more cheerfully. One difficulty after 
another vanishes, and he begins to think teaching, 
after all, is not the worst employment in the world, 

fi88 tsacukr's relation - 

Cautioiis.— Be honest.— Danger of over-colonng. 

but that it has some flowers as well as thorns ; and 
he concludes to remain in the profession. This has 
been the history of at least one man. Long may 
many others have occasion to exercise gratitude like 
his, for tlie enjoyment of similar privileges.* 

I ought not to leave this subject without a word 
or two of caution. 

1. Be Jionest, In all your intercourse with your 
fellow-teachers, be careful to use the words of " truth 
and soberness." In stating your experience, never 
allow your fancy to embellish your facts. Of this 
there is great dangei^* ^^^ young are sometimes 
tempted to tell a good story ; but a deviation from 
the trgth — always perilous, and always wrong — may 
be peculiarly disastrous here. Experience overstated, 
may egregiously mislead the ^unwary inquirer after 
truth. Never over-color the picture ; it is better to err 
on the other side. 

So, likewise, in exhibiting your school to fellovi^ 

* The Essex Couimr Teacherb* Asbocution, in Massachusetts, was 
fliBt organized in 1829, and for seventeen years its meetings, of two days 
each, have been held semi-annually, and usually veiy fully attended. 
Tins association has wrought an untold amount of usefulness, by its 
improvement and encouragement of the teachers of that oounty,-"and 
at this time it continues to diffuse its wonted blessings. A more intelligent 
and devoted body of teachen* cannot be found in the United States, than 
tliQse who now compose that association. Long may it continue to iira 
diate its glorious light ; and long may its devoted members eqjoy tlie wafi- 
msrited confidence of the community in which they labor. 


Every-day practice,—" Nothing extraordinary,**— Avoid imitatioii. 

teachers, be strictly honest. They come to learn 
from your every-day practice, and not from a coun* 
terfeit ; and whenever you dress your school in a 
showy garb, to win the applause of a fellow-teacher, 
you do him a great injustice. You may not please 
your friend so much by your ordinary mode, as by 
something assumed for the occasion ; but you may 
profit him far more ; and in the end, you lose nothing 
by pursuing the line of duty. 

I well remember, that a somewhat distinguished 
teacher once visited my own school, who, on going 
away, expressed himself somewhat disappointed, be- - 
cause he did not see any thing *^ extraordinary,^* as 
he said, in my niode of procedure. The truth was, 
nothing extraordinary was attempted. He saw what 
I wished to show him, an ordinary day's work ; for 
I had before that time imbibed the opinion, that a 
man's reputation will be more firmly established, by 
sustaining every day a fair mediocrity, than it ever can 
be by an attempt to outdo himself on a few special 
occasions. As the value of biographical writing is 
often very much diminished, because the writer has 
endeavored to paint his character too petfect to be 
human, — so these visitations will lose their utility, 
whenever, by substituting hollow pretension for sober 
reality, the teacher endeavors to exhibit such a school 
as he does not daily keep. 

2. Avoid servile imitation of any model. It is 

often remarked, that every man's plan is the best 

for him ; and that many besides David can nem 


290 tbachbr's relation 

Adapt rather than adopt another's plaq8.~Avoid eelf-fnifficiencr. 

fight in Saul's armor. This is generally true. All 
experience, then, should be considered, in connection 
with the circumstances under which it was tried, 
never forgetting the character and genius of the 
person who relates it. What might succeed in his 
hand, may fail in yours; particularly, as you will 
lack the interest of an original inventor. 

The true secret lies in listening to the views of all, 
and then in making a judicious combination to meet 
your owii character, and your own circumstances 
It is often bettei to adjust and adapt the plan of 
another, than to adopt it. Servile imitation precludes 
thought in the teacher, and reduces him to a mer 
machine. The most successful teachers I have ever 
known, were those who would listen attentively to 
the plans and experience of others, and then strike 
out a course for themselves, attempting that, and that 
only, which they were confident they could success 
fully execute. 

3. Avoid undue self sufficiency. Men usually cease 
to learn when they think they are wise enough. The 
teacher is in danger of falling into this error. Moving 
for the most part among children, where his decisions 
are seldom questioned, he is very apt to attach undue 
importance ta his own opinions. Such a man meets 
his fellows with much self-complacency, and is but 
poorly prepared to be profited by the views of 
others. But the teacher should ne* er cease to be 
teachable. There are very few mer too old, or toe 
wise to learn something ; and the> are the wisest 

TO HIS PROFESSlull. !09l 

Babea and sucklings. 

if not the oldest, who are willing to welcome a rea] 
improvement, even though it should come from com 
parative " babes and sucklings,'' out of whose mouths 
God has sometimes perfected praise. 


MisoellAneouB hints.— Things to be avoided.~Prty odioe. 



On looking over the notes which I have at vanoua 
times made of my own experience and observation, 
during twenty years of practical teaching, I find there 
are several thoughts wliich may be of some service to 
the young teacher, and which have not been introduced 
under any of the general topics of this volume. I have 
therefore thought best to introduce a special chapter, 
with the above title, where I might lawfully bring 
together, without much regard to method, such varied 
hints as may convey to some reader a useful lesson. 
Some of these hints will refer to faults which should 
be carefully avoided, while others will point out some 
duties to be performed. 


1. Guard against prejudice on entering a school. 
It is not always safe to rely upon first impressions as 
to character. At the opening of a school, perhaps fifty 
individuals for the first time are brought before the 
teacher. Some of them are from humble life, and 
perhaps bear upon them the marks of parental neglect 


Danger of prejudice.— Its iiuiiBtice.~Why ? 

Their persons and their clothing may present nothing 
to attract and gratify the eye of a stranger. Little 
accustomed to society, they exhibit an awkward bash- 
fulness, or an impertinent forwardness, in their manner. 
Contrasted with these, others appear who have been 
the children of indulgence, and who have seen much 
more of the world. A more expensive garb attracts 
the eye ; a more easy and familiar address, conforming 
to the artificial modes of society, is very likely to 
win the heart. The teacher is very prone to find his 
feelings committed in favor of the latter class, and 
against the former. But this is all wrong. A judgment 
thus hastily formed is extremely hazardous, — as a few 
days' acquaintance will usually show. The child of 
blunt or shy demeanor often has the truest heart, — a 
heart whose sentiments go out by the shortest course, 
— a heart that has never learned the artificial forms of 
tlie world, because it has never felt the need of them. 
And how unjust to the child is a prejudice founded 
on the circumstance of dress ! Must the inability or 
neglect of his parent be doubly visited on him ? Is it 
not enough that he daily feels the inward mortification 
of a contrast with his more favored school-fellows? 
Must he be painfully reminded of it by discovering 
that his teacher repels him on that account, and be- 
stows his kindliest smiles upon those who are 'Uhe 
brightest and best clad" ? 

And yet such unjust prejudice is common; wrong 
and unfeeling as it is, it is too common. A fine 
dresSy and a :lean face, and a graceful manner^ T know 



Pupils not to direct their studiea.— This the teacher's proYince. 

ore attractive ; but the teacher has to do with the mind 
and the heart ; — and he shduld never be deterred by 
any thing exterior, from making a diligent and patient 
search for good qualities which have their home behind 
the surface, — and he should ever possess a smile as 
cordial and a tone as parental for the neglected child 
of poverty and ignorance, as for the more favored son 
of wealth and ease 

2. Do not allow ynur pupils to direct their own 
studies. Whatever their age may be, they are seldom 
'capable of doing this. It is the aim of the young to 
get over a long course of study. They are usually 
pleased to belong to higher classes before they have 
mastered the branches taught in the lower. If children 
are suffered to direct their own studies, they usually 
make themselves very poor scholars. This is the bane 
of many of bur select schools and academies, where 
the teacher yields this right in order to secure pupils 
and a salary. But no one, not even the parent, is as 
competent as the teacher ought to be, to direct in this 
matter. He has the best opportunity daily to fathom 
the pupil's attainments, and to understand his defi- 
ciencies. He may claim the right to direct. In case 
the pupil withstands his decision, the teacher should 
appeal to the parent, and endeavor there to sustain his 
point, a thing generally within his power, if indeed he is 
right. If the parent too is obstinate, and firmly insists . 
upon the wrong course, the teacher may perhaps sub 
mit, though he cannot submit without the consciousness 
thai his province has been invaded. 


A mistake.— An egregious evil in all schools.— Illustrated. 

^■■■■■'^■^^■" ■' ' ' -^""^^ ■ * -^1^^^^™^—! II ■■■■III ■ ■ ■ ■■■ ■ I ■■■■ ^P^B^^^^^B^BMMM^H^^HI^B^i^l^M^HW 

It is too frequently the case that the teacher at the 
first yields all this ground voluntarily, by asking the 
children what they wish to study. When he has once 
made them a party in this question, h^ need not wonder 
if they claim to be heard. This he should not do. 
He should first be sure that he is qualified to direct 
aright, and then, as a matter of course, proceed to do 
it, just as the physician would prescribe for the physical 
malady of such a child. The latter is not more the 
rightful duty of the physician, than the former is of the 
school teacher. Neither has the power to enforce his 
prescription against the parents' consent, — ^but that 
consent may be taken for granted by both, till informed 
that it is withheld. 

I may here remark that in all my intercourse with 
the young, whether in the common or the higher school, 
I have found no greater evil than that of proceeding 
to the more diificult branches before the elementary 
studies have been mastered. It is no uncommon thing 
to find those who have " attended" to the higher mathe- 
niatics — algebra, geometry, and the like — ^whose reading 
and writing are wretched in the extreme, and whose 
spelling is absolutely intolerable ! They have been 
pursuing quadratics, but are unable to explain why 
they " carry one for every ten ;" they have wandered 
among the stars in search of other worlds, by the 
science of astronomy, without knowing the most sim- 
ple points in the geography of our own ; they have 
studied logarithms and infinite series, but cannot be 
safely trusted to add a column of figures, or to com- 


The teacher— the remedy.— Do not attempt too mauy thingi. 

pute ihe simple interest upon a common note ! In 
short, they have studied evei'y things except what is 
most useful to be known in practical life, and have 
really learned — nothing ! 

Now if this evil — grievous and extensive as it is at 
present — is destined ever to be abated, it is to be 
accomplished by the instrumentality of the teacher, 
acting, in his appropriate sphere, in the capacity of a 
director as to the course of study for the young. He 
must not be a man who can merely teacK but one who 
understands the high import of a true education, and 
knows how to prescribe the order of its progress ; one, 
in short, who will never attempt to erect a showy 
superstructure upon an insufficient foundation. 

3. Do not attempt to teach too many things. There 
is a tendency at present to introduce too many things 
into all our schools. Nothing is more common than to 
hear our public lecturers declare, as they become a 
little enthusiastic in any given department, that " this 
branch should at once be made a study in our common 
schools.'' This is heard of almost the whole round 
of the natural sciences. But it seems to me to be 
dictated by over-wrought enthusiasm. Every thing 
cannot be well taught in our schools ; nor should too 
much be attempted. It is the province of our schools 
—particularly our common schools — to afford thorough 
instruction in a few things^ and to awaken a desirt 
for more extended attainment. The instruction given 
should, as far as possible, be complete in itself, — whil# 
it should afford the means of making further advance 


Make no ambiguous mark upon mind.—" Mind your buanesB."— Excuses. 

ment; but that instruction *which being merely super- 
ficial, neither itself informs the mind nor imparts the 
desire and the means of future self-improrement, is 
worse than useless ; it is positively injurious. A few 
branches thoroughly po^^e^^cd are worth more than a 
thousand merely glanced at, — and the idea of changing 
our common schools to universities, where our children, 
before they pass from the years of their babyhood, are 
to grasp the whole range of the sciences, is one of the 
most preposterous that has grown up even in this age 
of follies. The teacher, then, should not undertake too 
much ; he should be sure that he can accomplish what 
he undertakes. The mark he makes upon the young 
should be no uncertain sign. 

4. Never attend to extraneous business in school 
hours. This is a common fault. Many teachers neg- 
lect their duties in school to write letters, or transact 
such other business as should be done at home. This 
is always wrong. , There is no time for it in any school ; 
for a diligent teacher can always find full employment 
even with a small number. Besides, he has engaged 
to devote himself to the school ; and any departure from 
this is a violation of his contract. The children will so 
view it, and thus lose much of their respect for the 
teacher. Moreover, if they see him neglect his business 
for some other, they will be very likely to neglect theirs, 
and thus disorder will be introduced. I hold that the 
teacher is bound to devote every moment of school hours 
to act've labor for the school, 

6. Avoid making excuses to visitors for the defects 


Dr. Franklin's remari[.~An illustration. 

of your school. Franklin, I think, said that '' a man 
who is good for making excuses is good for nothing 
else." I have often thought of this as I have visited 
the schools of persons given to this failing. It is 
sometimes quite amusing to hear such a teacher keep 
up a sort of running apology for the various pupils. 
A. class is called to read. The teacher remarks, " This 
class have but just commenced reading in this book." 
Stephen finishes the first paragraph, and the teacher 
adds, " Stephen has not attended school very regularly 
lately." William reads the second. " This boy," says 
the teacher, " was very backward when I came here — 
he has but just joined this class." Charles executes the 
third. " That boy has an impediment in his speech." 
Reuben follows. '' It is almost impossible to make a 
good reader of Reuben ; he never seems to pay the 
least attention. I have bestowed unwearied pains 
upon him." Mary takes her turn. " This girl has lost 
her book, and her father refuses to buy her another." 
Mary here blushes to the eyes,-^for though she could 
bear his reproof, she still has some sense of family 
pride; she bursts into tears, while Martha reads the 
next paragraph. "I have tried all along," says the 
teacher, " to make this girl raise her voice, but still she 
will almost stifle her words." Martha looks dejected, 
and the next in order makes an attempt. 

Now the teacher in all this has no malicious design 
to wound the feelings of every child in the class,— 
and yet he as effectually accomplishes that result 
as if he had premeditated it. Every scholar is inter- 


Pity excited.—** When tcame Aerc."— Meanneas.—** How old are youP* 

ested to read as well as possible in the presence of 
strangers ; every one makes the effort to do so ; yet 
every one is practically pronounced to have failed. 
The visitors pity the poor pupils for the pain they are 
made thus needlessly to suflfer, and they pity also the 
weakness of the poor teacher, whose love of approba- 
tion has so blinded his own perception that he is regard- 
less of the feelings of others, and thinks of nothing but 
his own. 

This over-anxiety for the good opinion of others 
shows itself in a still less amiable light, when the 
teacher frequently makes unfavorable allusions to his 
predecessor, " When / came here,^^ says the teacher 
significantly, " I found them all poor readers." Or, if 
a little disorder occurs in school, he takes care to 
add, " I found the school in perfect confusion,"— or, 
" the former teacher, as near as I can learn, used to 
allow the children to talk and play as much as they 
pleased." Now, whatever view we take of such a 
course, it is impossible to pronounce it any thing better 
than despicable meanness. For if the charge is true, it 
is by no means magnanimous to publish the faults of 
another ; and if it is untrue in whole or in part, as most 
likely it is, none but a contemptible person would mag* 
nify another's failings to mitigate his own. 

There is still another way in which this love of per- 
sonal applause exhibits itself. I have seen teachers 
call upon their brightest scholars to recite, and then 
ask them to tell their age, in order to remind the 
visitor that they were very yoimg to do so well ; and 


Such aits recoil.— OompBrifloos are odious.— TeudemesB to a dull chikL 

then insinuate that their older pupils could of course 
dp much better. 

All these arts, however, recoil upon the teacher who 
uses them. A visitor of any discernment sees through 
them at once, and immediately suspects the teacher of 
conscious incompetency or wilful deception. The 
pupils lose their respect for a man whom they all per 
ceive to be acting a dishonorable part. I repeat, then^ 
never attempt to cover the defects of your schools by 
nuiking ridiculous excuses, 

6. Never compare one child with another. It is a 
poor way of stimulating a dull pupil to compare him 
with a better scholar. It is the direct way to engender 
hatred in the mind of the one, and the most consum- 
mate self-complacency in the other.*' Not one child in 
a thousand can be publicly held up to the school as a 
pattern of excellence, without becoming excessively 
vain ; at the same time, all the other scholars will be 
more or less excited to envy. Such a course is always 
unsafe ; almost always injurious. 

7. Avoid wounding the sensibilities of a dull child. 
There will always be those in every school who are 
slow to comprehend. After their classmates have 
grasped an idea during the teacher's explanation, they 
still have the vacant stare, the unintelligent expression. 
This may be so after a second or a third explanation. 
The teacher is now strongly templed to indulge in 
expressions of impatience, if not of opprobrium. This 
temptation he should resist. Such cliildren are to be 
pitied for tlieir dullness, but never to be censured for 


Never get out of temper with parents.— Why t— An incidentT 

it. It is an unfeeling thing to sting the soul that is 
already benighted. He should cheer and encourage 
such a slow mind to greater effort, by the sunshine of 
kind looks, and the warm breath of sympathy, rather 
tlian freeze up the feeble current of vivacity which 
yet remains there by a forbidding frown or a blast of 
reproach. A dull child is almost always affectionate ; 
and it is through the medium of kindness and patience 
that such a one is most effectually stimulated. 

8. Never lose your patience when parents unreason 
ably interfere with your plans. It must be expected 
that some of the parents will wish to dictate to the 
teacher what course he shall pursue, at least in rela- 
tion to their own children. This will sometimes bring 
them to the schoolroom, perhaps in a tone of compla'int, 
to set the teacher right. Whenever a parent thus steps 
beyond the bciunds of propriety, the teacher should 
never lose his self-possession. He should always speak 
the language of courtesy, in frankness, but in firmness. 
He should reason with the parent, and if possible con 
vince him, — but he should never insult or abuse him 
It may be well to propose to see him at his own house, 
in order to talk over the matter more at his leisure. I 
recollect once a parent sent a hasty refusal to purchase 
a necessary book for his son, — a refusal clothed in no 
very respectful language. I gave the lad a courteous 
note directed to his father, in which I intimated my 
desire to have an interview with him at his house at 
such time as he might appoint. In half an hour the 
boy came bounding back witli the desired book, inform- 


The study of the Bible.~Rk.e no hobbies in teaching. 

ing me that his father said, '^ he guessed he might as 
well get the book, and done with it." My intercourse 
with that parent was ever afterwards of liie most 
pleasant kind. A supercilious parent can never gain 
an advantage over a teacher, unless he can first provoke 
him to impatience or anger. As long as the teacher is 
perfectly self-possessed he is impregnable. 

9. Never make the study of the Bible a punishment. 
I have known a teacher to assign sundry passages of 
the Bible, condemnatory of a particular sin, to be 
committed to memory as a punishment. I have also 
known the idle scholar to be detained after school to 
study passages of scripture, because he had failed to 
learn his other lessons in due time. I believe this 
to be bad policy, as well as doubtful religion. The 
lessons that a child thus learns, are always connected 
in his mind with unpleasant associations. His heart 
is not made better by truths thus learned. The Bible 
indeed should be studied by the young, but they should 
be .attracted to it by the spirit of love, rather than 
driven to it by the spirit of vindictiveness. They who 
suppose that children can be made to love the Bible by 
being thus driven to the study of it, have sadly mis- 
taken the human heart. 

1 0. Ride no " hobbies^^ in teaching. Almost every 
man, in whatever vocation, has some hobbt/, some '^ one 
idea,^\ which he pushes forward on all occasions, no 
matter what may be the consequences. It is not 
strange that it is often thus with the teacher. If the 
teacher has any independence of mind, any originality, 


A discovery becomes a hobby.— On\. instructioii. 

he will at some period in his life naturally incline to 
try some experiments in teaching. Partly on account 
of the novelty of the plan, and partly on account of the 
teacher's interest in the success of his own measure, he 
finds it works well in the class where it was first tried ; 
and he rejoices that he has made a discovery. Teach- 
ing now possesses a new interest for him, and he very 
likely becomes enthusiastic. He applies his new 
measure to other classes, and loudly recommends it to 
other teachers. For a time it succeeds, and it becomes 
his hobby. Whenever a stranger visits his school, he 
shows off his new measure. Whenever he attends a 
teachers' meeting, he describes it, and perhaps presents 
a class of his pupils to verify its excellency. He 
abandons his old and long-tried plans, and persists in 
the new one. By and by the novelty has worn away 
and his pupils become dull under its operation, and 
reason suggests that a return to the former methods 
would be advisable. Still, because it is. his invention^ 
he persists. Others try the experiment. Some suc- 
ceed ; some fail. Some of them by a public speech 
commit themselves to ii, and then persist in it to pre- 
serve their consistency. In this way a great many 
objectionable modes of teaching have gained cur- 
rency and still hold their sway in many cf our 

Among these I might mention concert recitation, 
and oral instruction when made a substitute for study. 
Of the origin and tendency of the former I have spoken 
more at length in the chapter on " Conducting Recjta- 


Origin of tlie o ral mgnta.--Baby-talk !— Great learning 1 

tions." Of the latter a word or two maybe said in 
this place. 

It was found years ago, in the earlier attempts to 
teach the blind, that they made very rapid strides in 
acquiring knowledge through the sole medium of oral 
instruction. As might have been foreseen, they became 
intensely interested in hearing about things which had 
surrounded them all their days, but which they had 
never seen. Shut in as they were from the privilege 
of sight, there was nothing to distract their attention 
from whatever was communicated to them through the 
sense of hearing; and as they had been blind from 
their birth, this discipline of attention had been going 
on from infancy. Under these circumstances their 
progress in knowledge by mere oral teaching was 
astonishing. This was all well. But soon some one 
conceived the idea of substituting oral instruction for 
study among seeing children. Immediately there was 
an oral mania. Infant schools grew up in every vil- 
lage, — infant school manuals were prepared, filled with 
scientific baby-talk, for the use of the worthy dames 
who were to drive the hobby, and the nineteenth cen- 
tury bade fair to do more towards lighting up the fire^ 
of science than all time before had accomplished ! It 
was truly wonderful for a time to listen to the learned 
volubility of these same infant schools. The wonders 
of astronomy, chemistry, botany, and zoology with the 
terms of Cuvier's classification, and a thousand othei 
things, were all detailed with astonishing familiarity by 
pupils under five years of age ! Some eminent teach 


Eiteoded to higher clasBes.— A royal road !~£yes are uselesB orha ! 

ers sagely took the hint, and adopted the oral system 
\vith their older classes. The sciences were taught by 
lectures. The pupils of this happy day had nothing to 
do but to sit and receive. To be sure sometimes they 
would become inattentive, and it would be discovered 
by their teachers that they did not retain quite all that 
was told to them. This, however, was no fault of the 
system, it was urged ; the system was well enough, 
but unfortunately the pupils had eyes, and their atten- 
tion was frequently diverted by the unlucky use of 
these worthless organs. A royal road, sure enough, 
was found to the temple of science, too long beyond 
mortal reach by reason of the rugged footpath over 
which the student was compelled to climb. Happy, 
glorious day ! No more must toil and thought be the 
price of success ! No more must the midnight oil bo 
consumed, and the brain be puzzled, in search of the 
wisdom of ages ! No more must the eyes be pained— 
(they are hereafter to be considered encumbrances) — in 
searching the classic page ; the ear is to be tlie easT 
inlet to the soul [ * • • 

Such was the hobby of 1829 to 1831 in our own 
country. During sixteen years past, those babes of 
the infant schools have grown into '^ young men and 
maidens," in no way distinguished, after all, unless they 
have since achieved distinction by actual study. The 
pupils of those higher schools have obtained whatever 
they now value in their education, mainly by the Jiae of 



God wiser than men.*-Other hobbie0.—Patent methods. 

ai^— — ^— ■■■■■■■■» ■ II ■■ ^■^■^^^p^i^— ^^'^m^^m^m.^^i^^m^mm 

their eyes, notwithstanding at one time their worthy 
guides would have almost deemed it a blessing to have 
had their eyes put out. It has been found that God 
was indeed wise in the beslowment of sight, — and 
some at least have acknowledged that a method that is 
well suited to the instruction of those who are blind, 
because it is the only possible one for them, may not 
be the best for those' who can see. At the present 
time the sentiment begins to prevail, that oral instruction 
can never supply the place of study ; that the lecturing 
or "pouring-in process," cannot long secure the atten- 
tion; that the mind by merely receivingy gains no 
vigor of its own ; and that scholars must be made, if 
made at all, mainly by their own exertions in the use 
of books. 

It would be easy to mention other examples ot 
Jiobbies which have been ridden by teachers very much 
to the injury of their schools. Those already given 
may, however, suffice for the purpose of illustration. 
Let it be remembered, then, that no one method of 
instruction comprises all the excellencies and avoids 
all the defects of good teaching ; and that he is the 
wisest teacher who introduces a judicious variety into 
his modes of instruction, profiting by the suggestions 
of others, but relying mainly upon his own careful 
observation, eschewing all "patent methods," and 
never losing his common sense. 

Under the head of hobbies, I may add one other 
remark. Many teachers have some favorite branch of 
itudy^ in which, because they excel, they take special 


Higher branches.— ITiings to be done. — The Bcholan' friend. 

delight. One mj^n is a good mathematician, another 
an expert accountant, a third a skillful grammarian. 
Now the danger is, that the favorite branch of study 
may become the hobby ^ — and that the other branches 
will be neglected. This is indeed not unfrequently 
die case. 

Again, some teachers are more interested in the 
higher branches generally, because they were the last 
pursued in their college course, or for some other 
reason. They therefore neglect the lower studies, to 
the great detriment of the youth under their charge. 
Against all such partial views the teacher should take 
great pains to guard himself. He may fall uncon- 
sciously and almost imperceptibly into some of these 
errors. Let me add the caution, then, — never allow 
your partiality for one study ^ or a class of studies, to 
divert your attention from all those other branches 
which are necessary to constitute a g-^od education. 


I. Convince your scholars by your conduct that you 
are their friend. It is all-important that you should 
gain complete ascendency over the minds of your 
pupils. In no way is this point so successfully gained 
as by leading them to feel that you are their true 
friend. When they feel this, all their sentiments of 
generosity, gratitude, and love, conspire to lead them 
to render cheerful obedience to your wishes. Govern- 
ment then becomes easy; instruction is no longei 


Delightful task.— Love for scholaxs,— for teaching,— to be felU 

irksome ; and you can most cordially respond to the 
poet, m that beautiful sentiment too seldom fully 
realized : — 

'* Delightful task I to rear the tender thought. 
And teach the young idea how to shoot. 
To pour the fresh instruction o*er the mind, 
To breathe the enlivening spirit, and to fix 
The generous purpose in the glowing breast" 

But effectually to convince them that you are thus 
their friend, is not the work of a moment. Words 
alone can never do it. You may make professions of 
interest in them, but it is all to no purpose. Your 
actions, your looks, your whole spirit must show it. 
In order thus to exhibit it, you must feel a deep, an 
all-pervading interest in the welfare of every child. 
You must love your profession, and you must love — 
sincerely love — ^those whom you are called to leach. 
If you do not love the work of teaching, and cannot 
bring yourself to love the children of your charge, 
you may not expect success. It was long ago de 
clared that 

" Love only is the loan for love,"— 

and this is specially true with the love of children 
Their souls spontaneously go out after those who love 
them. Strive, then, to gain this point with them, not 
by empty pretensions, always quickly read and as 
quickly despised by the young; but by that full, frank, 
cordial expression of kindness in your manner towards 
ihem, which, being based upon deep principle in youf« 


Cim of rehool-house.— Resist the beginningB.— Care of books, desks, dee. 

self, is sure at once to win their affection, and their ready 
compliance with all your reasonable requisitions. 

II. Take special care that the schooUhouse and its 
appendages are kept in good order. This is a part of 
every teacher's duty. He should have an eye that is 
constantly on the alert to perceive the smallest be- 
ginnings of injury to any part of the premises. It is 
often painful to see a new schoolhouse, that has with^ 
much care and expense, been put in perfect order, very 
soon cut and otherwise disfigured by* the pupils, — the 
glass broken, the ceiling soiled, the desks and floors 
stained with ink, and every thing bearing the marks of 
youthful destructiveness. The teacher should be held 
accountable for such results, for he can by proper 
vigilance prevent them. 

Some of his first lessons to his pupils should be 
upon the subject of practical neatness, in regard to 
every thing that pertains to the school. They should 
be impressed with the belief that he holds neatness as 
% cardinal virtue. Daily should he watch to discover 
the first violation of propriety upon the premises. 
This first violation should be promptly met. There is 
great wisdom in the adage which enjoins us to " resist 
the beginnings^* 

So, too, he should exercise an oversight of the books 
belonging to *the pupils. Many books are speedily 
destroyed by children for the want of a little care of 
the teacher, — ^probably more than are worn out by 
use. He should also occasionally inspect the desks, 
with a view to promote a commendable neatneti 


Rights of {iroperty.— American destructivenesB.— Whittling. 

there. The teacher has an undoubted right to inspect 
any part of the premises, — but by a little adroitdess 
lie can interest the children in a reform of this kind, 
and then they will desire that he should witness their 

I may add further, that the children should not 
only be taught to respect the school-house and its 
appendages, but they should be taught to regard the 
sacredness of all property either public or private. 
The neighboring* garden or orchard should be held to 
be inviolable. The teacher may not have the authority 
to compel compliance with his direction or advice 
beyond school-hours, but he should endeavor to ex- 
ercise a moral influence in the school which will be 
more powerful even than compulsion. So in regard 
to public buildings, such as churches and court- 
houses ; and all public grounds, as parks, commons, 
and cemeteries, — the teacher should inculcate not only 
the duty to abstain from injuring them, but a com- 
mendable desire to see them improved and beautified. 
In America, it is remarked by foreigners, there is a 
strange tendency to destructiveness. In our public 
buildings, the walls are usually disfigured by names 
and drawings, and even our cemeteries do not escape 
the violence of the knives of visitors, the trees bfeing 
cut and marked with names, and the flowers plucked 
off and carried away. It is to be hoped that our 
teachers will so exercise a reforming influence,' that 
the next generation shall exercise a higher principle as 
well as a better taste in all these matters^ which, small 


— — ■<— ^-^ ■ ■ . ■ ■ -^^— — — 

American curroucy.— Its excellence.— Post-office law. 

as they are, make up no mean part of the manners and 
morals of a people. 

III. Teach both by precept and by practice^ the use 
of the decimal or American currency. It is very much 
to be regretted that the people in different sections of 
our country still adhere to the use of the old colonial 
currency of pounds, shiUings, and pence. It is univer 
sally admitted that the decimal system of the United 
States is the. most convenient system in the world ; and 
yet our people, after having adopted^ and legalized it, 
and declared every thing else illegal in accounts, still 
treat the system as if it were the worst of all. As the 
shilling differs so much in value in the different States, 
it is a source of constant perplexity to the traveler, to 
understand in different localities the real value of the 
sums he hears named. He is obliged to keep up a 
constant process of reduction of currencies in his mind, 
and after all is liable to be imposed upon. 

By the recent post-office law all the rates of postage 
are graduated on the decimal scale. This is a very fa- 
vorable step towards, uniformity. Our teachers should 
inculcate the adoption of the same system in all 
matters of business. They should teach the children 
the evils of the prevalent diversity, and endeavor to form 
the habit in them of thinking as well as talking in dol 
lars and cents. To this end all the examples in arith 
metic should be made in our own currency ; all prac 
tical questions proposed by the teacher should conforrft 
to it,— and the teacher, in conversing with his pupils at 
well as with all others, should not only use the decim^ 


An error and prejudice.-- One country ,—<wi« currency. 

system himself, but insist that they shall use the same 
in reply to him. 

I know it is often urged, and especially in the State 
of New York, that it is easier to reckon in shillings and 
pence than in dollars and cents. But this, so far as it 
is true, is because all the prices are graduated by the 
old currency. Let the prices be graduated by the 
decimal ratio, and the advantage is decidedly in its fa- 
vor. Who has ever had the slightest trouble to calcu* 
late the amount of his postage dues by the new system ? 

We have one country, — a fpreat country ^ — a country 
characterized by the free interchange ^ " ]-Toducts, and 
by a constant intercourse of its inhabitants ; we speak 
mostly one language, and are proud to feel that we are 
one great people ; — then why not have on^y and only 
ONE currency, equally understood by all, as the law of 
the land contemplates ? 

This subject is worthy of the regard of all teachers 
throughout the land,— rstnd I earnestly call upon them, 
in all places and at all times, to exert whatever influ- 
ence ihey can, to bring about a result so desirable. 
This can be done ; it will be doiie ; and the sooner is 
is done the better. 

IV When scholars do wrongs it is sometimes best to 
withhold immediate reproofs but to describe a similar 
case in general instruction. This is one of the most 
effectual modes of curing the evil in the wrong-doei 
himself. It, moreover, gives the teacher a valuable 
text for a lesson on morals before the whole school. 
Care should generally be taken not to lead the school 


General reformation. — Illustration. — A con/esBion. 

to suspect the individual in your mind, while at the 
same time the parable should so fit the case as to pre- 
clude the necessity of saying to the offender, as Nathan 
did to Dayid : *^ Thou art the man." 

A case will illustrate this. I recollect once to have 
found, among a large number of compositions presented 
by a class, one that I knew to have been copied. No 
notice was taken of it at the time ; but some days after- 
wards a c(ise was described to the class, resembling the 
one that had actually occurred. After exciting consid- 
erable interest in the case, they were told that such a 
thing had happened among their own number ; that I 
did not choose to expose the individual ; but, if any of 
them thought it would be honorable for them to confess 
such an offense to me in case they had committed it, 
they might seek a private opportunity to do so. In less 
than twenty-four hours no less than four made such a 
confession, detailing freely the extent and the circum- 
stances of their offending. In this way four were re 
formed, where by direct reproof only one could have 
been reached. It was a frank, not a forced confession ; 
and I was thus easily made to know the extent of this 
sin in the school. By this simple expedient, I have 
reason to believe, plagiarism was effectually eradicated 
for that term at least, in the whole class, and that too 
without the loss of any pupil's good will. 

It is generally wiser to endeavor to reach the evil in 
its whole extent, than to expend one's strength upon a 
single instance of wrong doing. The conscience of 
the whole school may sometimes be profitably aroused. 


Accuracy.— Certain knowledge.— Prof. CHnisted 

while the particular individual is quite as effectively 
corrected as he would be by a direct reproof. 

V. Be accurate. This is necessary in order to 
secure the respect of your pupils. What the teacher 
professes to know he should be sure of. Approxima- 
tions to the truth are not enough to satisfy the young 
mind. Whenever a teacher makes a blunder by stating 
what is not true in regard to any fact or principle in 
science, any event in history, or any item of statistics 
he lowers himself very much in the estimation of all 
those who are capable of detecting his error. If he 
does not know, he may frankly say so, and incur no just 
censure, provided the point be one about which he has 
not had the opportunity to gain the requisite informa- 
tion. But when he attempts to speak with the authori- 
ty of a teacher, he " should know that whereof he af- 
firms." " The character of the teacher," says Profes- 
sor Olmsted, " is sullied by frequent mistakes, like 
that of a book-keeper or banker. It is surprising to 
see how soon even the youngest learner will lose his 
confidence and respect for his teacher, when he has do 
tected in him occasional mistakes. At every such dis 
covery he rises in his own estimation, and the teacher 
proportionally sinks. The very character of the pupil 
is injured by such an incident. He rapidly (oses the 
docility and modesty so essential to the scholar, and be 
comes uplifted with pride and self-importance." The 
superciliousness thus induced becomes a sore vexation 
to the teacher. He finds that his pupils are watching 
for his halting, — and he frequently fails, from this veiy 


Pitiable case.— A pleasant face.— A description. 

circumstance, to do as^ well as he might. I know of 
no more pitiable condition on earth than that of a 
teacher, who is attempting to teach what he does not 
fully understand, while he is conscious that his pupils 
doubt his ability, from a frequent detection of his 

VI. Cultivate a pleasant countenance. Frowns and 
scowls always sit with ill grace upon the teacher's brow. 
I know that the trials and perplexities incident to his 
daily life are eminently fitted " to chafe his mood" and 
to provoke his impatience. I know, too, that protracted 
confinement from the pure air and the bright sunlight, will 
almost necessarily render the nervous system morbidly 
sensitive, and the temper of course extremely irritable. 
The outward exponent of all this is a dejected, and per- 
haps an angry countenance. The eyebrows are drawn 
up so that the forehead is deeply and prematurely fur- 
rowed, while the angles of the mouth are suffered to 
drop downward as if in token of utter despair. By 
and by the roguishness of some unlucky urchin, distuibs 
the current of his thoughts, — and suddenly the brow is 
firmly knitted with transverse channels, the nostrils are 
distended, the jaws are firmly closed, the lips are com- 
pressed, the cheeks are flushed, and the eyes almost 
emit sparks from the pent-up fire within him. Fcr the 
next half-hour he frowns on all about him. The chil 
dren at first are awed by such a threatening aspect,— 
but soon they become accustomed to it, and the terrible 
very naturally gives place to the ridiculous. 

No man has a moral right to render those uncomfort- 


Wrong to frown.— ^Sympathy between the heart and the countenance. 


able who surround him, by habit jally covering his face 
with the looks of discontent and moroseness. It is pe- 
culiarly wrong for the teacher to do it. It is for him to 
present an example of self-government under all cir- 
cumstances, so that he can consistently enforce the 
duty of self-control upon the young. It is for him to 
show himself a man of principle, of benevolence, of 
cheerful devotion to his duty, however full of trials that 
duty may be ; and in no way can he do this more ef- 
fectually than by an amiable and engaging countenance. 
A peevish, frowning teacher is very likely to produce 
petulance and suUenness in his pupils ; while a cordial 
smile, like the genial beam of the spring-day sun, nc t 
only sheds a welcome light on all around, but it imparN 
a blessed heat, which penetrates the frigidity of the 
heart, dissipates the cheerless mists that hover there, 
and warms the generous affections into life and 

We are so constituted that the inward and the out- 
ward sympathize with each other. Solomon says, " a 
merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance," — and 1 
may venture to add, and with almost as much truth, a 
cheerful countenance maketh a merry heart. An 
honest attempt to bless others with the sight of a 
countenance that is expressive of content and patience, 
is an act so praiseworthy in itself, that it will never go 
unrewarded. The gratifying response which such a 
countenance is sure to call forth from others, brings 
with it a nch revenue of inward enjoyment He, 
therefore, who habitually bears about with him a sad 


A qneetion.— Yes.— Carlyle.— Means recommended. 

Of an angry countenance, while he constantly impairs 
the happiness of others, lacks at the same time an im 
portant instrumentality for securing his own. 

But the question will arise, — can a man gain such 
ascendency oTer himself as to control the expression of 
his countenance ? I answer, without hesitation, yes. 
" Whatever ought to be done, can be done.*' It is not 
perfectly easy to do it, especially for the teacher. 
Still, self-control — full, complete self-control — is his 
appropriate duty as well as privilege. He-^must, as 
Carlyle quaintly enjoins, " learn to devour the chagrins 
of his lot." He must calculate beforehand that every 
day will bring its cares and its trials ; but he should 
daily resolve that they shall never take him by sur- 
prise, nor betray him into sudden impatience. Each 
morning as he walks to the scene of his labors, he 
should fortify himself against sudden anger or habitual 
moroseness on this wise : '' No doubt this day some 
untoward occurrence will transpire, calculated to try 
my patience and to provoke me to fretful words and 
angry looks. All my past experience leads me to 
expect this. But this day I will try to resist the temp- 
tation to this weakness. I will try to be self-possessed. 
If any child is vicious, or fretful, or dull, or even 
impudent, I will endeavor to show that I can com- 
mand myself. If I feel some angry passion enkin- 
dling witliin me, I will stop and think, and I will 
endeavor to smile before I speak. If I can to-day 
gain the victory over impatience, and can maintain an 
ever, and cheerful temper, and 'exj xess it constantly in 



ril try.— A victory .—Art of illustrating,— illustrated. 

my countenance, it will be easier to do it to-morrow 
At ah fiventSf Fll try?^ 

Taking hold thus in earnest, any man may soon be 
his own master. He can gain the victory. If he can 
do it, he ought to do it. Hence Lurge it as a duty 
Nor is it merely a duty. It is a high privilege. A 
complete victory for a single day will bring its own 
reward. A man who feels that he has risen above 
his temptation, can return to his rest with a light and 
happy heart. Sleep to him will be sweet, and he will 
arise on the morrow with renewed strength for the 
fresh conflict, — and in the moral as well as in the 
literal warfare, every contest which ends in victory, 
gives additional strength to the victor, while it weakens 
and disheartens his enemy. 

VII. Study to acquire the art of aptly illustrating 
a difficult subject. Some teachers content themselves 
with answering in the precise language of the book 
whenever a question for information is propounded. 
This however is by no means sufficient, even when 
the language of the book is strictly accurate ; much 
less, when the language is so vague as to convey nc 
definite idea to the mind, either of the learner or the 
teacher. On the other hand, a man who is apt to 
teach, will devise some ingenious method of enlighten- 
ing the mind of his pupil, so that he shall lay hold of 
the idea as with a manly grasp, and make it his own 

This poin will, perhaps, be best illustrated by an 
example. A young man was employed to take charge 


Lesson in philosophy .—Media.~A puzzle. 

of a school for a few days during a temporary illness 
of the regular instructor. He was a good scholar, as 
the world would say, and was really desirous to 
• answer the expectation of his employers. After the 
regular teacher had so far recovered his health as to 
be able to leave his rpom, he walked one pleasant day 
to the school, to see what success attended the labors 
of the new incumbent. A class was reciting in 
natural philosophy. The subject under consideration 
was — the obstacles which impede the motion of ma- 
chinery. The attraction of gravity, as one of these, 
was pretty easily disposed of ; for the class had before 
been instructed on that point. Friction came next 
Here, too, the pupils, having had some practical ex 
perience of their own, in dragging their sleds, in 
skating, or perhaps in turning a grindstone, found no 
great difficulty. The book spoke a language suffi- 
ciently clear to be understood. Next came the " re- 
sistance of the various media," to use the language of 
the text-book. " Yes," said the teacher^ as one of the 
pupils gravely quoted this language, "that has no 
inconsiderable effect." 

"The ^resistance of the various medidA^ ^^ — ^repeated 
one of the boys inquiringly, " I do not know as I 
understand what media means." 

" A medium is that in which a body moves," was 
the ready reply which the teacher read from the book. 

Pupil. " A medium .?" 

Teacher. Yes ; we say medium when we mean but 
one, and media when we mean mere than one. 


— • - - 

Further doubts.— An interposition. 

Pupil. "When we mean but one V 

Teacher, " Yes : medium is singular — media is 
plural " 

After this discussion, which began in philosophy bat 
ended in grammar, the teacher was about to proceed 
with the next question of the book. But the scholar 
was not yet satisfied, and he ventured to press his 
inquiries a little further. 

Pupil. Is this room a medium ? 

Teacher. " This room ?" 

Pupil. Yes sir ; you said that a medium was " that 
in which anybody moves," and we all move in this room. 

Teacher. Yes, but medium does not mean a room ; 
It is the substance in which a body moves. 

Here the lad looked perplexed and unsatisfied. He 
had no clear idea of the meaning of this new term. 
The teacher looked at his watch, and then glanced at 
the remaining pages of the lesson and seemed im- 
patient to proceed, — so the pupil forbore to inquire 

The regular teacher, who had listened to the discus- 
sion with no ordinary interest, both because he admired 
the inquisitiveness of the boy, and because he was 
curious to discover how far the new incumbent pos 
sessed the power of illustration, here interposed. 

"John,'* — taking his watch in his hand — "would* 
this watch continue to go, if I should drop it into a 
pail of water ?" 

" I should think it would not long,*' said John, after 
a little reflection. 


A smile.— Light breaks in.~*The class proceed. 

'*Why not?' said his teacher, as he opened his 

'* Because the water would get round the wheels and 
stop it, I should think," said John. 

" How would it be if I should drop it into a quart 
of molasses ?" 

The boys laughed. 

" Or into a barrel of tar V* 

The boys still smiled. 

"Suppose I should force it, while open, mto a 
quantity of lard." 

Here the boys laughed heartily, while John said, 
** the watch would not go in any of these articles." 

*^ Articles 7*^ said his teacher, "why not ^hymediaV^ 

John's eye glistened as he caught the idea. " Oh, 
I understand it now." 

His teacher then said, that many machines worked 
in air, — then the air was the medium. A fish swims 
in water, — water is his medium. A fish could hardly 
swim in molasses or tar. " Now," inquired he, "why 

" Because of the resistance of the medium," said 
John, with a look of satisfaction. 

" Now why will the watch go in air and not* in 
water V 

"Because the water is more dense," said John 

" Then upon what does the resistance of a medium 

depend ?" 

Elere the new teacher interposed, and said that was 



The diffeceuoe.~-8ludy ezpedientii.— A moral imprenon. 

the next question in the book, and he was just going to 
ask it himself. The regular teacher put his watch 
into his pocket and became a spectator again, and the 
lesson proceeded with unwonted vivacity. The dif- 
ference between these two teachers mainly consisted 
in the fact, that one had the ingenuity to devise an 
expedient to meet a difficulty whenever occasion re- 
quired, — ^the other had not. 

Now in order to teach well, a man should diligently 

seek for expedients. He should endeavor to foresee 
the very points where the learner will stumble, and pro 
vide himself with the means of rendering timely aid. 
If an object cannot be described in words, let it be 
compared with what it resembles, or with what it con- 
trasts. If it be an object of sense, and words and com- 
parisons fail to describe it, — in the absence of apparatus 
to represent it, let the teacher spring to the black board 
and execute a hasty drawing of it. In this way the 
construction or the working of a machine, the form of 
a bone or the action of a joint, the shape of a town oi 
the plan of a building, — in short, almost every subject 
that involves the relation of form, size, proportion, 
quantity, or number, will admit >f visible illustration. 
He is the successful teacher who is able at the moment 
to seize upon the best expedient, and render it subser- 
vient to his purpose. 

VIII. Take advantage of unusual occurrences to make 
a moral or religious impression. In a former chapter 
1 have urged it as a part of the teacher's work, to cul- 
tivate and strengthen both the moral sentiments and the 



Set leflsons not UBeful.— The fit occasion.— Example I. ! 

religious feelings of the members of his school. This 
is not most e£fectually done by a formal mode of speak* 
ing to them on these subjects. If a particular hour is 
set apart for formal lectures on their duty to their fel- 
low-men and their obligations to God, they are very 
apt to fortify their sensibilities against the most faithful 
appeals, and thus render them powerless. The wise 
teacher will watch for the fit opportunity, and, just at 
the moment when the heart is prepared by some suita- 
ble occurrence, — when by some exhibition of the Crea- 
tor's power it is awed into reverence, or softened into 
submission ; or by some display of his goodness it is 
warmed into gratitude, or animated with delight, — with 
a few words, seasonably and " fitly spoken," he fixes 
the impression forever. Speaking at the right time, 
every ear listens, and every heart feels. 

Perhaps many of my readers can revert to some 
season in their childhood, endeared to them by a pre- 
cious recollection of golden words thus opportunely ut- 
tered, — words fraight with truth which in after-life has 
had an unspeakable influence in the formation of their 
character. One or two examples connected with my 
own experience, may be presented, more fully to illus- 
trate my meaning ; while at the same time they may 
afford, it is hoped, some valuable hints for the encour- 
agement and guidance of such young teachers as desire 
in this way to make themselves the instruments of last- 
ing benefit to the young. 

Example I. I can never forget — 'nor would I if I 
could — a lesson^ impressed upon my own youthfid 


A thnnder-stonn.— Alann.— Confosion. 

mind, conveying the truth that we are constantly de« 
pendent upon our Heavenly Father for protection. In 
a plain country school-house, some twenty-five children, 
including myself, were assembled with our teacher on 
the afternoon of a summer's dav. We had been as 
happy and as thoughtless as the sportive lambs that 
cropped the clover of the neighboring hill-side. En 
grossed with study or play, — for at this distance of 
time it is impossible to tell which, — we had not noticed 
the low rumbling of the distant thunder, till a sudden 
flash of lightning arrested our attention. Immediately 
the sun was vailed by tlie cloud, and a corresponding 
gloom settled upon every face within. The elder girls, 
with the characteristic thoughtfulness of woman, hastily 
inquired whetBer they should not make the attempt to 
lead their younger brothers and sisters to the paternal 
roof before the bursting of the storm. For a moment 
our little community was thrown into utter confusion 
The teacher stepped hastily to the door to survey more 
perfectly the aspect of the western heavens. Imme« 
diately returning, he signified to the children that there 
would not be lime for them to reach their homes before 
the tempest would be upon them. Oppressed with 
dread, — ^for it is no uncommon thing for children in 
the country to be terrified by lightning, — some of the 
youngest of us clung to our older brothers or sisters, 
"ivhile others, being the sole representatives of their 
family in the school, for the first time felt their uttei 
loneliness in the midst of strangers, and gave utteranco 
io their feelings in audible sighs or unequivocal sobs. 


Toacher's 8elf-poaBe8moii.~A fearful tempest.— >AwfiiI pause. 

The teacher, meanwhile, with an exemplary calm 
ness and self-possession, closed the windows and the 
doors, and then seated himself quite near the younger 
pupils, to await the result. The thick darkness gath- 
ered about us, as if to make the glare of the lightning, 
by contrast, more startling to our vision; while the 
loud thunder almost instantly followed, as it were the 
voice of God. The wind howled through the branches 
of a venerable tree near by, bending its sturdy trunk, 
and threatening to break asunder the cords which 
bound it to its mother earth. An angry gust assailed 
the humble building where we were sheltered ; it 
roared down the capacious chimney, violently closed 
a shutter that lacked a fastening, breaking the glass 
by its concussion, and almost forced in the frail 
window-sashes on the westerly side of the room. 
Quicker and more wild the lightnings glared — ^flash af- 
ter flash — ^as if the heavens were on fire ; louder and 
nearer the thunder broke above our heads, while the 
inmates of the room, save the teacher, were pale with 

At this moment there was a sudden cessation of the 
war of elements, — ^a hush — almost a prophetic pause ! 
It was that brief interval which precedes the falling 
torrent. A dread stillness reigned within the room. 
Every heart beat hurriedly, and every countenance tok) 
the consternation that was reigning within. It was an 
awful moment ! 

With a calm voice, breathing a subdued and confi 
ding spirit, the teacher improved this opportunity t9 


Teacher's wonlB.~Ram.— ^Siinshi]ie.~Bright faces. 

impress upon our young minds a great truth. " Fear 
not, children," said he, '* it is your Heavenly Father 
that sends the storm as well as the sunshine and the 
gentle breeze. You have been just as much in his 
power all day, as you are at this moment. He has 
been as near you, supporting you, supplying you with 
breath, with life, all through the pleasant morning ; but 
then you did not see him. He is just as able to pro- 
tect you now, for ' not a sparrow falls to the ground 
without his notice,' — and he ruleth the storm and 
* rideth upon the wings of the wind.' We should ever 
feel willing to trust him ; for he is ever able to grant 
us deliverance from all our dangers. God is here now 
to protect us." 

Just as he had finished these words the rain began to 
fall. First the drops were few and scattered ; but soon 
the windows of heaven were opened, and the thirsty 
ground was abundantly satisfied. The sound of the 
thunder became fainter and fainter as the cloud passed 
away ; the sun burst out again in renewed splendor ; 
the full drops glittered in his beams upon the grass ; 
the birds began their songs ; the rainbow spanned the 
eastern hills ; and our hearts, taught by the timely in 
structions of a good man, began to expand with eager 
gratitude for our preservation by the hand of our 
Heavenly Father. 

The remainder of the afternoon passed happily away , 
and when our books were laid aside, and we were ready 
to burst out of the room to enjoy the refreshing air and 
participate in the general joy ; the teacher, taking the 


The Bible speaks. — Words fitiy spoken. — ^The effect. 

Bible from the desk, asked us to remain quiet a jno- 
ment while he would read a few words that he hoped 
we should never forget. 

The passage was the following, from the 65th 
Psalm : — 

By terrible things in righteousness wilt thou answer as, O God of oar sal- 
vation; who art the confidence of all tlie ends of the earth, and of them 
that are afar off upon the sea. Which by his strength settetli fast the 
mounteuns ; being girded with power : which stilleth the noise of the seas, 
the noise of their waves, and the tuinalt of the people. 

They also that dwell in the uttermost parts are afraid at thy tokens : thou 
makest the outgoings of the morning and evening to r^oice. 

Thou visitest the earth and waterest it : thou greatly enrichest it with the 
river of God, which is full of water : thou preparest them com, when thoa 
hast so provided for it. 

Thou waterest the ridges thereof abundantly : thou settlest the farrows 
thereof: thou makest it soft with showers: thou blessest the springing 

Thou crownest the year with thy goodness ; and thy paths drop fatness. 
They drop upon the pastures of the wilderness : and the little hills reuoice 
on every side. 

The pastures are clothed with flocks ; the valleys also are covered over 
with com ; they shout for joy, they also sing. 

After closing the book, the teacher said, '' Go out 
now, children, and witness how perfectly these words 
have been fulfilled toward us this afternoon, — and from 
this day's mercies, learn hereafter to trust God as con- 
fidently in the storm, when he displays his power by 
his outward ' tokens,' as when he kindly smiles upon 
you in the beams of the glorious sun, or gently breathes 
upon you in the morning breeze." 

We went forth bounding in gladness and gratitude, 
and* saw the " outgoings of the evening to rejoice,"— 
tke pastures clothed with flocks," — " the valleys cov 



Blensd memories.— Example II.— A dark day. 

cred over with corn," — "the little hills rejoicing on 
every side ;" — we heard also the general shout for joy • 
— and we felt as we never before had felt, a deep, 
thorough, abiding conviction of the truth that God is 
our father and our friend; the God of our salva* 


I know not how soon these impressions faded from 
the minds of the other children, — ^but for myself I can 
say, that from that time to the present, whenever I 
have been exposed to apparent danger from the im- 
pending tempest, the warring elements, or the ravages 
of disease, the teachings of that hour have always 
revived in my mind to soothe my troubled spirit, and 
to reassure my failh and confidence in the presence of 
an all-sufficient and merciful Preserver. A thousand 
times have I devoutly blessed the memory of that 
faithful teacher, for having so ^ early and so happilj^ 
turned my thoughts upward to Him, in whom "we 

live, and move, and have our being." 


Example II. It was in the afternoon of a gloomy 
day in the latter part of November, when the pupils, 
consisting of some fifty boys, belonging to a school in 
a pleasant seaport town in New England, were told by 
their teacher, a few minutes before the usual hour, that 
they might lay aside their studies, and prepare for dis* 
mission. During the early part xA the day there had 
been one of those violent southeast rain storms, so 
eommon upon the seacoast at that season of the year 
It is well known to tl e observing mariner, that a storm 


Lull of the storm.— Change of wind.— Early dismiasion. 

from the southeast never continues beyond twelve or 
fifteen hours; and when the violence of the storm 
abates, it is a common remark of the sailor, that " the 
northwester is not long in debt to the southeaster." 
Previous t6 this change of wind, however, there is 
what is expressively termed the " lull of the storm,''^ — ' 
a period when the rain ceases to fall, the wind dies 
away to a perfect calm, the barometer is suddenly 
depressed, the clouds hover almost upon the face 
of the earth, shutting out the light of the sun, and 
causing a cheerless damp to settle upon every thing 
terrestrial, and a dreary gloom to enshroud the mind 
itself. When the wind changes, these clouds are 
not gradually dissolved and broken up, so that the 
eye can catch transient glimpses of the blue sky 
beyond, as after a snow-storm in winter; but the 
dark drapery is suddenly lifted up, as if by an 
unseen hand, and the western sky, from the hori 
zon upwards, is left more bright and more charm 
ing than ever, to refresh the eye and reanimate the 

It was such a day, as before remarked, when the 
pupils of this school — ^partly because of the darkness 
in the schoolroom, and partly because of their pro- 
tracted confinement within a close apartment during a 
gloomy afternoon — were, a little earlier than usual, 
about to be dismissed. The pupils all seemed to 
welcome the happy release that awaited them, — and in 
their eagerness to escape from confinement, they very 
naturally neglected to observe their accustomed regard 


Impatience.— Light breaks in.— The "garment of praiae."— €k>nK. 

_ I ■ ■ ■ — . ^— 

for quiet and order in laying aside their books. It 
was, however, a fixed habit with the teacher, never to 
give the signal for leaving the room till all the pupils 
had taken the proper attitude for passing out with regu- 
larity, and then had composed themselves to perfect 
silence. On this occasion perhaps two minutes passed 
away while the boys were gradually, almost impa- 
tiently, bringing themselves to a compliance with this 
rule of the teacher. 

During this interval of waiting, the cloud, unper 
ceived by the teacher, had been slowly raised up from 
the western horizon, just in time to allow the setting 
sun to bestow a farewell glance upon the sorrowing 
world at his leave-taking. Through the Venetian 
blinds that guarded the windows toward the west, the 
celestial light gleamed athwart the apartment, and 
painted the opposite wall, in front of the pupils, with 
streaks of burnished gold ! In an instant every coun- 
tenance was changed. A smile now joyously played 
where before sadness and discontent had held their 
moody reign. The teacher was reminded, by all'these 
circumstances, of the beautiful language of the prophet, 
which promised the gift of " the garment of praise for 
the spirit of heaviness.^^ What could be more appro- 
priate on this occasion than a song o{ praise 1 Without 
speaking a single word, the teacher commenced one 
of the little songs already familiar to the wholo 
■chool :— 

Lo the heayeiis are breakingt 
Pure and blight above i 


Singing with the spirit.— An impieasion.— G^ m good. 

Life and light awaldng, 
lAxxnoxa-'God U love, 

God 18 L07B. 

Roond yon pine-clad mountaint 

Yiowa a goldon flood ; 
Hear the eparkling foontain, 

Whispeit—God is good. 


Wake, my heart, and springing. 

Spread thy wings aboye,^ 
Soaring still and singing, 

Ood to ever good, 

God n good. 

instantly every voice that had ever sung, now uttered 
heartfelt praise. The attendant circumstances, taken 
at the happy moment, furnished such an impressive 
commentary upon the import of the words, that they 
were felt, as they never before had been felt, to be 
the words of precious truth. Every heart throbbed in 
unison with the sentiment. At the close of the song, 
there was profound silence in the room. After a 
moment's pause, during which the truth that God is 
good seemed to pervade each mind and hold it in silent 
reverence, — the signal for departure was given. One 
alter another the boys passed from their seats with a 
light and careful step, as if noise and haste would be 
a desecration both of the time . and place, — ^and when 
they reached the open air, refreshing and exhilarating 
as it was, there was no boisterous shout, no rude 
mirth; each took his homeward course, apparently 
with a new and lively conviction that God is good. 


Other occaaoDB.— Teacher's satisfaction. 

It has always been a source of pleasure to that 
teacher to recall from the *^ buried past" the associa 
tions connected with that delightful hour and that 
charming song; and it has been among the most 
gratifying incidents of his experience as a teacher, to 
hear more than one of those pupils in later life recur 
to the memory of that day, and acknowledge with 
thankfulness the lasting impressions which then and 
there were made upon their minds. 

It woi)ld be easy to furnish examples to almost any 
extent, of the manner in which this principle has been, 
or may be carried out in practice. The degradation 
of an intoxicated person who may pass the school, — 
the pitiable condition of the man who may wander 
through the streets bereft of his reason,^any instance 
of sudden death in the neighborhood, particularly of a 
young person,— ^the passing of a funeral procession, — 
in short, any occurrence that arrests the attention of 
the young and enlists their feeling, may be seized upon 
as the means of making upon their minds an impres- 
sion for good. The facts developed in many of their 
lessons, too, afford opportunities for incidental moral 
instruction. The adaptation of means to ends, — the 
evidence of design and intelligence displayed in the 
works of creation, — the existence of constant and uni- 
form laws as developed in the sciences, all furnish the 
means of leading the young mind to God. 

That teacher will enjoy the richest satisfaction in 


Pleasant retrospection. 

the evening of life, who, in looking back upon his past 
experience, shall be conscious that he has improved 
every opportunity, which God has given him, to turn 
the youthful affections away fiom the things of earth 
to seek a worthier object in things above. 


Low pecnniary reward.— Illustnited. 



It is proverbial that the pecuniary compensation ot 
the teacher is, in most places, far below the proper 
standard. It is very much to be regretted that an em 
ploymef^t so important in all its bearings, should be so 
poorly rewarded. In New England there are man^ 
young women who, having spent some time in teaching, 
have left that occupation to go into the large manufac- 
turing establishments as laborers, simply because they 
could receive a higher compensation. I have known 
several instances in which young ladies, in humble 
circumstances, have left teaching to become domestics, 
thus performing the most ordinary manual labor, be- 
cause they could receive better pay; that is, the 
farmers and mechanics of the district could afford to 
pay more liberally for washing and ironing, for making 
butter and cheese, for sweeping floors and cleaning 
paint, than they could for educating the immortal minds 
of their children ! 

Nor is this confined to the female sex. Young 
mechanics and farmers, as well as those employed in 
manufacturing, frequently receive higher wages than 
the conmion-school teacher in the same district. Many 


JDriving pegs.— Ii\ju8tice.~-£xtfa expense. 

a young man who has only genius enough to drive the 
pegs of a shoe in a regular row, and skill enough to 
black the surface of the article when it is completed, 
having spent but a few weeks in learning his trade, 
receives more money for his work than he who, after 
having spent months, or even years, in gaining the 
requisite qualifications, labors to polish that nobler 
material, the human soul. 

The injustice of this becomes more apparent when 
we bear in mind that public opinion demands, and justly 
too, that the teacher should be not only gentlemanly in 
his manners, but better clad than the mere laborer, — 
thus throwing upon him a greater burden without 
affording him the means of sustaining it. The female 
teacher of a district school, in order to be respectable, 
must be much more expensively dressed than the do- 
mestic in the family where she boards, and is thus 
compelled to consume most of her receipts upon her 
wardrobe, — while the domestic is able to place surplus 
money at interest in the Savings Bank. This injustice 
has so often been laid before the people, and yet has 
been so long continued, that many have given up in 
despair, and abandoned an employment that has yielded 
so little, choosing rather to engage in that lower service 
which is so much better paid. 

This sufficiently explains why so many unqualified 
teachers have been found in our common schools. Men 
of talents and ability being tempted to other employ- 
ments, have left the field unoccupied ; and those men 
who have failed to gain a comfortable living by their.. 


Living by witB.-~Im|irovement.— Means of mental growth. 

hands, have been allowed to try the experiment of 
supporting life by their wits, — that is, by beconaing 
teachers ! 

Such has been the case for a long time past ; ana, 
though in many quarters the people are beginning to 
open their eyes to their true interest, and are gradually 
and commendably coming up to their duty, yet, for 
some time to come, the pecuniary compensation will not 
constitute the chief reward of the teacher. If he will go 
cheerfully to his work, and find his daily enjoyment in 
his daily toil, he must have a higher object, some more 
elevating, inspiring motive, than mere money-getting. 
The chief encouragements of the faithful teacher lie in 
another direction. 

It is the object of the following paragraphs to point 
out some of these encouragements ; for, having in the 
preceding pages required very much at his hands, I feel 
that it is but just that he should be invited to look at the 
brighter side of the picture, so that when he is ready to 
sink under the responsibilities of his position, or to yield 
to the obsticles that oppose his progress, he may have 
something to animate his soul, and to nerve him anew 
for the noble conflict. 

I. ITie teacher's employment affords the means of in- 
tellectual growth. If a man teaches as he should teach 
he must of necessity improve himself. Teaching, un 
derstandingly pursued, gives accuracy. I know it ia 
possible for a man to be a mere schoolmaster — hpeda- 
gogue, without any self-improvement. But I am speak- 
iqg of the faithful, devoted teacher, — ^the man who 



Means of moral growth.— Illustrated. 

•mdies, reflects, invents. Such a man learns more thaa 

bis pupils. Every time he take? a class through aaj 

branch of study, he does it more skillfully, more thorr 

oughly than before. He brings some fresh illustration 

of it, presents some new view of it, and hence takes a 

lively interest in it himself, and awakens a new ze^ 

limong his pupils. Measuring himself by his new sue* 

eess, be feels a consciousness of growth, of progress 

This consciousness is a precious reward. 

IL 7%6 teachet^s employmeiU affords the mean^ ^ 

moral growth, brought constantly in contact wjtb 

those who need a careful guidance, he feels impelled to 

earnest effort in order to obtain the mastery over him* 

pelf, as the best means of gaining complete influence 

over others. Studying the weak point9 in their ch^ 

Eeter» he is constantly reminded of thos9 in his pwn , 

and self-knowledge is the first step toward jielf- 

improvement. Beginning in the feebleness of ineir 

perience, he bolsters up his authority at first by f 

frequent resbri to force ; but, asi he goes on, he finds 

himself gradually gaining such a9cendency over tl^Q 

vicious a9 to control tbenqi quite as qflectually by rnil^^ 

means. At first, easily excited to anger or impatience, 

ho frequently indulged in severe language when it waf . 

unnecessary ,^-but by careful discipline he has learQ94 

to '' set a watch before his mouth and to keep the doQf 

of his lips.*^ Encouraged by one victory over himself 

he is prepared for another. Having learned by self*' 

diseiplinie to contral his outward acts, h^ next attempts 

ih« maslery of hi« tbouj^ta. Q^ topo flndf tbAt 



Moral power.— PkogresB in the art of teaching. 

moral power over others is very much increased. Some- 
how — though perhaps he cannot yet tell the reason why 
— he finds he can secure obedience with half the effort 
formerly required, — he gains the love of his pupiTs 
more readily, — ^and, with the exception, now and then, 
of an extreme case, he finds that he excites a deeper 
interest than ever before in the whole round of duty 
among the scholars. Why is this ? he asks, — and the 
consciousness of increased moral power rising up with- 
in him, is a source of the highest satisfaction. Pecu 
niary emolument sinks into nothing considered as a 
reward, when compared with a conscious victory over 

III. A consciousness of improvement in the art of 
teaching is another reward. Such improvement will 
follow as a matter of course from his self-improvement 
in the particulars just named. As his own mind ex- 
pands, he feels a new impulse to exert himself to inter- 
est others in the subjects he teaches. He soon comes 
to look upon the work of instruction, not as a mere 
mechanical business, to be done in a formal way, but as 
a noble art, based upon certain great principles that are 
capable of being understood and applied. He employs 
all his ingenuity to discover the natural order of present- 
mg truth to the mind, — ^to ascertain the precise degree 
of aid the learner needs, and the point where the 
teacher should stop. He studies carefully the propei 
motives to be presented as incentives to exertion. 
Interested in his labor as a great work, looking upon 
bis influence as telling upon all future time, he devotes 


Pnpik' growth of mind.— Inimeiliate ranlts. 

himself daily with new zeal, and is rewarded wixh the 
consciousness of new success. 

IV. 7%e teacher is permitted also to witness the con- 
stant growth of mind among his pupils. I say constant^ 
jecause the teacher is not obliged to labor without see- 
ing immediate results. The minister of religion may 
sometimes sow the seed of the good word, while the 
fruit does not appear for a long season. Sometimes a 
spiritual apathy prevails, so that the most faithful warn- 
ings and the most earnest appeals seem to fall powerless 
upon the conscience ; and he is led almost to despair of 
ever being able to break the deathlike slumber. It is 
not thus with the teacher. His labor tells immediately 
upon the young mind. Even while he is yet speakings 
he is gratified with observing the soul's expansion as it 
grasps and assimilates some new idea which h6 pre- 
sents. From day to day, as he meets his classes, he 
sees how they go on from strength to strength, — at first, 
indeed, with the halting, tottering step of the feeble 
babe, but soon with the firm and confident tread of the 
vigorous youth. 

A teacher who is for several years employed in his 
vocation, is often astonished at the rapidity with which 
the young, who come to him as mere children, grow 
into men and women, and take their places on the stage 
of life as promment actors. Some of them distinguish 
themselves in the arts ; some become noted for their 
attainments in science ; some receive the honors of 
office and become leaders in civil affairs ; some gain 
eminence as professional men ; and very likdy a laige 



They were my pupib."— Ueeful callini;.— Profeanr Agnew. 

portion of them are engaged in the various department* 
of honorable industry. Wherever they are, and what 
ever tliey are, they are now exerting a powerful in 
fluence in the community. They have grown up under 
his eye, and have been essentially shaped by his plastic 
band. He looks upon them almost with the interest 
and pride of a father. He counts them as his jewels ; 
and when he hears of their success, their usefulness, 
and their honors, his heart leaps within him, as be 
thinks, '' they were my pupils." Even though he may 
have wasted the strength of his best days in the service, 
what a reward is this for the teacher I 

V. The teacher has the consciousness of being en* 
gaged in a useful and honorable calling. What though 
he may not become rich in this world's goods ? Who 
would not prefer above houses and lands,-^infinitely 
above all the wealth of earth, the consciousness of be- 
ing engaged in a work of usefulness ? Man was made 
for usefulness, — and who would not desire to answer 
the design of his creation? 

My pen is too feeble to attempt to portray the useful- 
ness of the faithful teacher. He educates the immortal 
mind,'^WBkes it to thought,--<-trains it to discipline-— 
■eIf-discipline,-"moves it to truth and virtue, — ^fills it 
with longings for a more perfect state, and sends it forth 
to exert its power for good through all coming time I 
** To this end," in the glowing language of Professoi^ 
Agnew, ^*he communicates a knowledge of letters, 
opens out gradually before the child the book of nature 
and the lileratore cf the wodd ; ha discipUiiM his mind 


Educates the miud.— Trains Uie affections.— The infant becomes a man. 

and teaches him how to gather knowledge from every 
source ; he endeavors to impart quickness and reten* 
'veness of memory, to cultivate a refined and well- 
regulated imagination, to task, and thus to give vigor to 
his reasoning powers. He points out the appropriate 
objects of the several affections, and the proper exercise 
of the passions; he gives lessons to conscience, derived 
from the pure fountain of God's own revelation, and 
teaches him to subject his own will to the Highest 
Will. He instructs him in the various sciences, and 
thus displays before him worlds of wondrous interest, 
and invests him with the sources and means of pure 
enjoyment. He trains him for the sweet sympathies 
of social life ; and unfolds before him the high behests 
of duty — duty to himself, his fellow-creatures, his 
family, his God. 

^* Under such a tuition, behold the helpless infant 
grown to manhood's prime, — ^a body well developed, 
strong, and active ; a mind symmetrically unfolded, and 
powers of intellection closely allied to those of the spirits 
in celestial spheres. He becomes a husband and a 
father ; in these, and in all the relations of life, he per 
forms well his part. Above all, he is a Christian, with 
well-trained affections and a tender conscience, su- 
premely loving God, maintaining a constant warfare 
with the world, the flesh, and the devil, — growing up 
into the stature of a perfect man in Christ, and antici- 
pating the fullness of joy and pleasure for evermore 
which are at God's "right hand. The time of his de 
parture at length arrives ; he has fought the good fight, 


A traiiBiL— No limits to uaefulncsB.— Honorable.— Why I 

J . 1 1 -I ■ -~- ^^^_^_^_^_^___^^^^^^_^^,^i» 

he has finished his course, and he goes to obtain his 
crown and to attune his harp, and forever to dwell on 
the hills of light and love, where angels gather immor- 
tality. Oh, what a transit ; from the dependent help- 
lessness of infancy to the glory of a seraph ; from 
mind scarcely manifested, to mind ranging over the 
immensity of Jehovah's empire, and rising in the lof- 
tiest exercises of reason and affection ! And how much 
has the faithful teacher had to do in fitting him for the 
blissful mansions of the skies /" 

If such be the teacher's work, where is the limit to 
his usefulness ? Yet he may do this not for one merely, 
but for scores, or even hundreds. Eternity alone can 
display the immeasurable, inconceivable usefulness of 
one devoted teacher. 

And is not the teacher's calling honorable ? It is, — 
for its usefulness makes it honorable. To scatter the 
light of truth is always honorable. So some of the 
greatest and best men the world ever saw have believed, 
and have illustrated their failh by their practice. Con- 
fucius, Socrates, Seneca, Aristotle, and Plato were 
specimens of the teachers of ancient date. Roger 
Ascham, John Milton, Francke, Pestalozzi, Arnold, 
and a host of others, have adorned the profession in 
later times. Yet these are men who have taught the 
world to think. Their works live after them, — and will 
continue to live, when the proud fame of the mighly 
warriors, who have marked their course in blood, shall 
have perished from the earth. 

If it were necessary and not invidious, how many 


Our great men began as teachers.— Gratitude of pupils. 

distinguished men in our own country could be men- 
tioned, who have been teachers of the young, or who 
are still engaged as such. Besides those who have 
made teaching the business of their lives, how many 
have been temporarily employed in this calling. Some 
of our presidents, many of our governors, mos^ of our 
jurists and divines, — indeed, some of every profession, 
•* and of the chief women not a few^^ — have first dis- 
tinguished themselves as school-teachers. Well may 
teachers, then, regard their profession as an honorable 
one; always remembering, however, that **it is not 
the position which makes the man honorable, but the 
man the position." 

VI. The teacher enjoys the grateful remembrance of ^ 
his pupils and of their friends. When a distinguished 
writer said, ^' God be thanked for the gift of mothers 
and schoolmasters," he expressed but the common sen- 
timent of the human heart. The name of parent justly 
enkindles the warmest emotions in the heart of him 
who has gone out from his native home to engage in 
the busy scenes of the work-day world ; and when 
sometimes he retires from the companionship of new- 
made friends to recall the picture of the past and the 
loved of other days, — to think 

*' Of childish Joys when bounding boyhood knew 
No grief, but chased the gorgeous butterfly. 
And gambolM witli the breeze, that tossed about 
His silken curls—*' 

flow sweetly do the gentle influences of home and 

GrAJtude to parents first. — A devoted mother. 

childhood, with all their tender and hallowed associa 
tions, come stealing over the ftowl ! The world ift 
forgotten ; care • noay not intrude upon this sacred 
hour ; objects of sense are unheeded ; the call to 
pleasure is disregarded ; — while the rapt soul introvert- 
ed — transported — dwells with unspeakable delight upon 
its consecrated recollection of all that is venerable, all 
that is sacred in the name of parent. At this favored 
hour, how the heart swells at the thought of a mother'4 
love ! The smiles, thtf kind words, the sympathy, the 
counsels, the prayers, the tears, — how fondly the mem* 
bry treasures them all up, and claims them for its own ! 
And though Death may have long since intruded, and 

• consigned that gentle form to the cold earth, rudely 
Sundering the cherished bonds of affection, and leaving^ 
the hearth-stone desolfite, — though Change may hav6 

. brought strangers to fell the favorite tree, to remove the 
ancient landmarks, to lay waste the pleasant places, 
hnd even to tread thoughtlessly by the humble mound 
that marks the revered spot where "* departed worth is 
laid," — though Time, " with his effacing fingers," may 
have been busy in obliterating the impressions of child- 
hood fiom the mind, or in burying them deeply beneath 
the rubbish of perplexing cares, — still the true heart 
never tires with the thought of a fond parent, nor ever 
ceases to " thank God upon every remembrance" of a 
pious, devoted mother ! 

Thus it should ever be. Nothing on earth should be 
allowed to claim the gratitude whith is justly due to 
judicious parents But the faithful, devoted teacher 


Teacher next to the parent^r^ratitude of parents.— Example. 

the former of youthful character and the guide of 
youthful study, will be sure to have the next place in 
the grateful heart. Whether the young man treads the 
deck of the noble ship, in his lonely watch, as she 
proudly walks the waters by night, — or journeys among 
strangers in foreign lands; — wherever he goes, or how- 
ever employed, — as often as his thoughts revisit the 
scenes of his childhood, and dwell with interest upon 
the events that marked his youthful progress, he will 
recur to the old familiar schoolhouse, call up its well 
remembered incidents — its joys and its sorrows — its 
trials and its triumphs — its all-pervading and ever- 
abiding influences, and devoutly thank God for the gift 
of a faithful, self-denying, patient teacher. 

But the teacher is rewarded also by the gratitude of 
parents and friends. Some of the sweetest moments a 
teacher ever experiences, are those when a parent 
takes him by the hand, and with cordial sincerity and 
deep emotion, thanks him for what he has done for his 
child. It may have been a wayward, thoughtless, 
perhaps a vicious boy, whom kind words and a warm 
heart, on the part of the teacher, have won back to the 
path of rectitude and virtue. 

I have seen an old lady — and I shall never forget the 
sight — bending under the infirmities of age, — ^blind, and 
yet dependent mainly upon her labor for support, 
invoking the richest of heaven's blessings upon the head 
of a teacher, who, by kindness and perseverance, had 
won back her wayward grandson to obedience and duty. 
How her full soul ^abored as she described the change 


yridow'B gra titude.-- Approyal of Heaven.— The Great Teacher. 

that had taken place! Her emotion— too deep for 
utterance in words — ^found expression only in tears that 
streamed from her sightless eyes ! She felt that her 
boy was again a child of hope and promise, and that 
he might yet be a virtuous and a useful man. The 
world may raise its empty acclamation to honor the 
man of power and of fame, — it may applaud the states- 
man and weave the chaplet for the conqueror's brow ; 
— but the teacher, humble and obscure though he may 
be, who is the object of the widow's gratitude for being 
the orphan's friend, with the consciousness of deserving 
it, is a happier, I had almost said a greater man. 
Surely he receives a'gi^eater reward, 

VII. The faithful teacher enjoys the approval of 
Heaven, He is employed, if he has a right spirit, 
in a heavenly mission. He is doing his Heavenly- 
Father's business. That man should be made wiser 
and happier, is the will of Heaven. To this end, the 
Son of God — The Great Teacher — came to bless our 
race. So far as the schoolmaster has the spirit of 
Jesus, he is engaged in the same great work. Heaven 
regards with complacency the humble efforts of the 
faithful teacher to raise his fellow-beings from the 
darkness of ignorance and the slavery of superstition ; 
and if a more glorious crown is held in reserve for one 
rather than another, it is for him who, uncheered by 
worldly applause, and without the prospect of adequate 
reward from his fellow-men, cheerfully practises the 
self-denial of his master, spending his strength, and 
doing with diligence and patience " whatsoever his 


hatd Biougham.— An epitaph.— Cease repining. 

hsttkd findeth to do," towards raising his fellow-beings 
to happiness and heaven. 

It is such a teacher that the eloquent and gifted 
Lord Brougham describes in the following beautiful 
language : 

*' He meditates and prepares, in secret, the plans 
which are to bless mankind ; he slowly gathers around 
him those who are to further their ^execution, — he 
quietly, though firmly, advances in his humble path, 
laboring steadily, but calmly, till he has opened to the 
light all the recesses of ignorance, and torn up by the 
roots the weeds of vice. His progress is not to be 
compared with any thing like the march of the con- 
queror, — but it leads to* a far more brilliant triumph 
and to laurels more imperishable than the destroyer of 
his species, the scourge of the world, ever won. Each 
one of these great teachers of the world, possessing his 
soul in peace, performs his appointed course, awaits in 
patience the fulfillment of the promises, and resting 
from his labors, bequeaths his memory to the genera- 
tion whom his works have blessed, and sleeps under 
the humble, but not inglorious epitaph, commemorating 
* one in whom mankind lost a friend^ and no man got 
rid of an enemy. ^ " 

In view of what has been said, let the teacher cease 
to repine at his hard lot. Let him cast an occa* 
Bio:ial glance at the bright prospect before him. He 
deserves, to be sure, a higher^ pecuniary reward than 
be receives ; and he should never cease to p ress this 

M6 • 9*ltft ttlBWAllD^ Of- tH& tf&ACH£]t. 

Magnify his office.— How1~M<Kra) recompeiwe. 

troth upon the community, till talent in teacbing is as 
well compensated as talent in any other calling. Bat 
whether he gains this or not, let bim dwelt upon the 
privileges and rewards to be found in the calling itself, 
and take fresh encouragement. 

The apostle Paul exhibited great wisdom when he 
iaid, " / magnify mine office,^^ If the" foregoing views 
respecting the importance of the teacher's calling are 
correct, he may safely follow the apostle's example. 
This is not, however, to be doifie merely by boastful 
words. No man can elevate himself, or mairnify'his 
office in public estimation, by indulging in empty 
declamation, or by passing inflated resolutions. He 
must feel the dignity of his profession, and show that 
he feels it by unremitted exertions to attain to the 
highest excellence of which he is capable, — animated, 
in the midst of his toil, chiefly by the great moral 
recompense which every faithful teacher may hope to 

Let every teacher, then, study to improve himself 
intellectually and morally ; let him strive to advance \a 
tlie art of teaching; let him watch the growth of mind 
under his culture and take the encouragement which 
that affords ; let him consider the usefulness he may 
effect and the circumstances which make his calling 
honorable ; let him prize the gratitude of his pupils 
and of their parents and friends ; and above all, let him 
value the approval of Heaven, and set a proper estimate 
Upon the rewards which another world will unfold to 
kim^^Hind thus be encouraged to toil on in faithfulness 

TRIB UlSWAlttyi^ 09 THE tlBAealSR. • 349 

Final reward. 

and in hope^ — till, having finished his course, and being 
gathered to the home of the righteous, he shall meot 
multitudes, instructed by his wise prei "^pt. and profited 
by his pure example, who " shall risr it. ix C call \ J^ 

mu BlfB 


Pug€'9 Tksofy and Praetiee cf Teaching, 




BY DAVn) PAGE, A. M., 



*1 reoelTed a few days elnoe yonr * Theory and Practicev &c^* and a capital ihmrm 
■nd capital praetiee it is. I have read it with iinininsrled delight Even if I aboola 
look through a entices micnMcope, I should hardly dud a single sentiment lu diraenl 
IKmi, and certainly not one to comleinn. Tlie chapters on Priiea and on Cmttormi 
Funutkment are truly Mdmlmble. The^- will exert a nuiet salutary iuflueuce. So .>f the 
views fparsim on moral and religitms uistructiun, which you 8i> eoniestly and fe-4in|^ 
Insist upon* and yet wUhui true Proietiltuu limits. It is a. grand book« and I thahk 
llcAVBN THAT YOU havx WRtiTBN IT." — Hou. HoToce Moun^ Secretary of Uu Hoard ^ 
Edieaiion tn JUataackuselts, 

^ VVeru it our business to examine teachers, we would never dismiss a candldalB 
withuut naming this bmtk. Oilier thint^ being equal, we woukl itrt^ttly prclbr a teacher 
who litis reiul it aivi sptmks of it with euthusiiism. In one indiflbreLi to such a wttrfc, 
we ehoiUd certainly have little oonfidencei however he might anpfwr in other respects 
Would that every teacher employed in Vennont this winter baa *he spirit of this book 
in his bosom, its leaauns impressed upon his heart P — f^eniMnt '. kronicle. 

** I am plensfjd with and commend this work to the attention of school teachers, and 
Ibosij wbo intend to einbnice thitt luodt estimable profession, for light and iustructiott 
to guide and govern them in the discharge of their delicate and important dotiea."^ 
AT. 8. BemUm^ Superintendent of Cinn$nan Schools^ State of Jfew York. 

Hon, & Ymng says, ** It is altogether the beat book on thia subject 1 haTe evil 


President J^orth^ of Hamilton CoUege^ says, ^ I hav« read it with all that ab0orbiii| 
wIMenying intereet, which In my younger days waa reservMl for flction and poetry. 1 
■m doUghted with the book." 

Hen. Marent 8. Reffnelds saySf * It will do graai good by showing the Teacher what 
tfioaid be hia qoaliflcatiooa, and what may JuAly tie requinxl and expected of him." 

**i wish yon would send an asent through the several towns of thla State with 
Puget * Theory and Praciioe of TeachiiiK,* or take some other way of bringing thli 
falvable book to the notice of every family and of every teacher. 1 should be n^oioed 
to stMJ the prindples which it presents as to the motives and mt^tltods of good school- 
keeping carried ut in every schtxil-room ; and as nearly as pussible, in the style is 
wtiish Mr. Page illustraies them in his own practice, as the devoted and aocompltebad 
iVincipal of your State Normal School."— /teary Barnard^ Superintendent of C e mt mm 
tekeolefor tJU StaU of Rhode leiand. 

**'nie ^Theory and Practioe of Teaching,* by D. P. Pages is one of the l>e8t books ol 
Die kind 1 liHVe ever met with. In it the theory and practice of the leacher^s dnCici 
■re clearly expbiined and happily combined. The style is eaqr and fhmilhir, and tka 
■Bggesliou it contains are pluin, practical, and to the ptiint. to teachers eepedalH H 
Will nmtish very important aid in discharging the duties of Jicir high and reepooawls 
fnWMon.^— /li«'er S. Umard, Sutteriniondent ff (}rmnum Sehoeio^ Ora»i$ 0».« FL 


Norihend^ I Teacher and Patent. 



A. Treatise upon Common-Sdiool Education, containing Practical Sug- 
gestions to Teachers and Parents. By Charles Noethend, A. M^ 
late, and for many years, Principal of the Epes School, Salem. Now 
Superintendent of Public Schools, Danvers, Mass. 

■^W© may" anticipate for tlils work a wide circulation, among teachers and friends 
of edacation. Tlie extensive and high reputation of its anthor, indeed, will bespeak 
for it more tlian pen of ours can do. It is a work of about ttiree hundred and 
twenty pages, in good size type, and presents a very pleasant appearance to the eyc^ 
•s well as the work noticed on the preceding page, both of which, for their ne«t 
at>pearance, do great credit to the enterprising publisherti. 

Mr. Northend's book will prove interesting to all, and of great benefit to teach- 
ers, especially as a chart for those just commencing to engage in the profession. 
As a vade meoum^ it will prove a very pleasant companion, for its pagi^s are filled 
with the results of a large experience presented in a very pleasing form. We arc 
glad to find that the anthor, in famishing to te^tchers so useful a work, has not 
neglected the suavUer in modo^ and has here and there thrown in a pleasant anec- 
dote, which will enliven its character, and make it all the more acceptable. We 
shall have frequent occasion to refer to it hereafter. In closing this short notice, 
we would assure our readers that a perusal of the work will more than realize to 
them the truth of all we have attempted to say in its favor. Appended to the 
volume will be found a catalogue of educational works suitable for the teacher'i 
library.** — Mmta^usetta Teucher. 

^ We wish that this interesting and readable volume may find a place In every 
family, and we are certain that it ought to be on the shelf of every school library In 
the land.^— ^a^em Gagette. 

** It presents a multitude of practical hints, which cannot fail to do good service In 
enlightening all laborers in the field of edacation." — Boston Transoript 

** We unhesitatingly commend this volume of sound, practical, common senae sug- 
gestions. £very school teacher should carefhlly examine its pages, and he will not 
Ml — he cannot help receiving — invaluable aid therefrom.''' — Boston Atlat. 

** We have examined this work with care, and cheerfully commend it to parenta 
and teachers. It abounds in Judicious advice and sound reasoning, and cannot (kil to 
bnpart ideas in the education of children which may be acted upon with the nnoit 
beneficial rosults." — Boston Mar cant ile Journal. 

**'nii8 is an intelligible, practical, and most excellent treatise. The book Is 
enlivened iiith numerous anecdotes which serve to clinch the gi>«>d advice given, M 
well aa to keep awake the attention of the advised.''— JSMton TraioelUr. 

**TnisU A sterling work of great value. It should be in every ftxnlly. AJ 
need jnat Mich a wiarkJ"— Boston OIUm Branch. 


Man9field ou American JSdneation, 



Author of '^J>aUioal Orammar,'^ do. 

Thii woik is raggestiye of principles, and not intended to point m«« f^ 
eoiirae of studies. Its aim is to excite attention to what should be tLe 
elements of an American educatioo ; or, in other words, what are th« 
ideas connected with a republican and Christian education in this period 
of rapid development 

**The author could not hare applied his pen to the prodoedon of a book upon • 
subject of more importaooe than the one he has choeou We have had occasion tn 
notice one or two new works on education recentiv, which indicate^that the attention 
of authors is beiv; directed toward that subject We trust that those who occupy the 
proud position of teachers of American youth will find much in these W(H*ks, which are 
a sort of interchange of opinion, to assist them in the discharge of their responsible dtitieai 

^'Yhe author of the work before us does not point out any particular course of studies 
to be pursued, but confines himself to the consideration of the principles which should 
fOTem teach««. His views upon the elements of an American education, and Its 
BearingB upon our institutions, are soand, and wcMlhy.the attention of those to whom 
they are particularly addressed. We commend the work to teachers." — Rockeater 
Datlf Advertiser, 

** We have ncamined it with some care, and ara delighted with tt. It discusses the 
whole subject of American educaUon, and presents views at once enlarged and compre 
hensive; it, in flict, covers the whole ground. -It is high-toned In its moral an« 
religioos bearing, and points out to the student the way In which to be ▲ man. U 
^ould be in every public and private library in the ooimtry.''— Jaci«on Patriot. 

** It is an elevated, dignified work of a philosopher, who has written a book on the 
subject of education, which is an acquisition of great value to all classes of our 
eountrymen. It can be read with Interest and profit, bv the old and young, the 
educated and unlearned. We hail it in this era of superficial and ephemeral litem* 
tore, as the precursor of a better future. It discusses a momentous su^ect ; bringing 
to hear, in its examination, the deep and labored tliought of a comprehensive mind. 
We liope itM sentiments may be difnised as freely and as widely throughout our tand 
as the air we breathc^^lTa/aiiiazAo Oaiette. 

* Important and comprehensive as is the title of this work, we assore our resdem 11 
Is no mitmomer. A wide gap in the bulwark of this age and this country is greatly 
•Msened by this excellent book. In the first phioe, the viewrs of the author on educ» 
Hon, irrespective of time and place, are of the highest order, contrasting stnms^ly with 
Ifae groveling, time-eeeking views so plausible and so popular at Uie present <faqr. 
A leading purpose of the author is, as he says in the preface, ^ to turn the thoughts of 
ttioao onga(?Mi in the direction of youth to the fact, that it is the entire soul, in all ill 
ftbculties, which needs education.* 

** The views of the author are eminently philosophical, and he does not pretend to 
enter into the (tebiils of teachins;: but his is a practical philosophy, having to do with 
Uving, abiUin<{ truths, and dues nut sneer at utility, though it demands a utUitv that 
lakoti hold of the spiritual part of man, and reaches into hli immortality."— Mg2ilca*« 


—■>«——» »— ^— ^— — ^^ 

Dtf T0cqu0ville*$ Imtitutiom, 




Tbto book It Ihe flnt part of De ToeqaevtIle*8 larger work, oo the RepibHo il 
Amorica, and it one of the moat yaluable treatises on American politics that haa erai 
been laaued, and should be in every library in the land. Tho views of a libonl> 
Cdsded and enlightened European statesman upon the working of our country^ social 
■nd politkiri estabHshnents, ore worthy of attentive perusal at all times; those of a am 
like De TocqueviUe have a higher intrinsic value, fhnn the fiiet of his residenoe among 
the people he describes, and his after position as a part of the republican govemmem 
of France. The work is enriched Uicewiae with a preface, and carefully prepared nole^ 
Iqr a well-known American statesman ami lato Secretaiy of the Navy. The book is oot 
of great weight and interest, and is admirably adapted for the district and school library 
aa well as that of the private student ' It traces the origin of the Anglo-American% 
treats of their social condition, its essential democracy and political consequences, tli* 
sovereignty of the people, etc It also embraces the author^ views on the Xmerlcai 
qrstem of townships, counties, fce. ; fbderal and attte powers ; the Judiciary ; the coo 
■titution ; parties ; the press ; American society ; power of the ma jority^ its tyramqi 
■nd the causes which mitigate it; trial by Jury; religion; the three races; the arista 
cratlc party ; causes of American commercial prosperity, etc., etc. The work is ■• 
•pitome of tlie entire political and social condition of the United Statea. 

**M. De Tucqueville was the first foreign author who comprehended the genius # 
oor institutions, and who made intelligible to Eun>peans tlie complicated Biachiaeix 
wheel within wheel, of the state and fiBdenU governments. His ^Democracy ft 
Amierica' is acknowledged to be the must profound and philosophical w(m4c upok 
miKlom republicanism that has yet appearra. It is characterized by a mre union o 
diMeniment, reflection, and candor; and though occasionally tinged with the author> 
peculi.irities of education and faith, it may be accepted as in the main a Just and im 
partial crittciam upon the social and political featuree ol the United States. The pub 
Uahers have now sought to adapt it as a text-book fiM' higher seminaries of learning 
For this purpose they have published the first volume as an independent work, th» 
avoiding the HUihor*s speculations upon our social habits and religious condition. This 
volume« however* is unmutilated — the author is left throughout lo speak for himself ; bm 
where at any point he bad misapprehended our system, the defect is supplied by notat 
or paragraphs in brackets from the pen of one most thoroughly versed in the history 
the legislttiioo, the administration, and the Jurisprudence of our country. Tiiis won 
will supply a felt deficiency in the educational apparatus of our higher schocds. £vei| 
man who pretends to a good, and much more to a liberal education, should master tbr 
principles and philosophy of the institutions of his country. In the bands of ajudicioi* 
teacher, this volume will be an admirable textrbook."— TA« Independent* 

^* Having had the honor of a personal acquaintance with M.De TocqueviUe while h» 
was in this country ; having discussed with him many of the topics treated of in thk 
book ; having entered deeply into the feelings and sentiments which guided and im 

E;lled him in his task, and having formed a high admiration of his character and ft 
is production, the editor felt under some obligation to aid in procuring for one whoB 
he ventures to call his friend, a hearing from those who were the objects of his ob 
lervations.* The notes of Mr. Spencer will be found to elucidate occasional misoca 
captions of the translator. It is a moM Judicious text-book, and ought to be reat 
carefully by ail who wish to know this country, and to trace its power, position, anC 
oltimate destiny from the true source of philosophic government, Republicanism— tha 
people. De TocqueviUe, believing the desUnies of civilization to depend on tiie power 
Of the people and on the principle which so grandly founded an exponent on thu so» 
Ifaient, analyzes with Jealous care and peeiriiar critical aeumen the tendeaeies of thft 
new Democracy, and candidly gives his approval of the new-bom giant, or poinn 
out and warns him of dangers which his fhithfhi and independent philosophy foreseen 
We believe the perusal of his observations will have the ef|bct of enhancing atiil mon 
lo ^ia American readers the structure of their govemmoit, by tlM clear and proAMMi^ 
tt,*'e in which b^ presenta {iJ^—Amtinttm Remim. 

Da'9ie9^ SytUm of MathemaHci, 


TIm Lcgic and UtUitjr of Mathematics, with the best mcdiodi of 
Hon, explained and illustrated. By Charles Da vies, L. L. D. 

**One of the most remarkable books of the month, is * The Jm^ and Utility of 
Mathematics, by Charles Davies, L. L. D^* published by Barnes it Co. It is not in- 
tended as a treatise on any special braneh of oiatheniatical science, and demands fai 
lis fuU appreciation a general acquaintance with ttie leading methods and routina at 
mathematical investigation. To tho-e who have a auturai fondness for this pursuit 
and enjoy the leiisure for a retn)spect of their Civorite studies, the present volume iviU 
possess a chanu, not surpassed by the lascinatiuns of a romance. It is an eiaboratle 
and lucid exposition of the principles which lie at the foundation of pore mathematics, 
with a highly ingenious application of their results to the development of the essea^ 
ttai idea of Arithmetic, Geometry^ Algebra, Analytic Geometry, and the DitTerentisi 
and Integral Calculus. The work is preceded by a general view of the subject of lx>gic, 
mainly drawn from the writings of Archbishop Wbately and Mr. Mill, and closes with 
an essay on the utility of mathematics. Souie occasional exaggerations. In presentins 
the claims of the science to which his life has been devoted, niost here be pHidoned 
to the professional enthusiasm of the author. In general, the work is wriiteu with 
singular circunisi)ection ; the views of the best thinkers on the subject have bees 
thoroughly digested, and are presented in an original form ; every thing bears the im- 
press of the intellect of the writer ; bis style is for the most part chaste, simpie, trans- 
parent, and in admirable harmony with the dignity of the subject, and his condensed 
generalisations are often profoimd aud always suggestive."— i/a«7er*« JVato JUontJU§ 

**ThU work is not merely a mathematical treatise to be used as a text book, bat a 
complete and philosophical unfolding of the principles and truths of mathematical 

** It is not only designed for |nrofesslonal teachers, professional men, and students of 
■lathematics and philosophy, but for the general reader who desires mental iinprovo- 
Bent, and would learn to search out the import of language, and acquire a habit of 
noting of connexion between ideas and their signs ; also, of the relation of ideas lo 
•ach other,— 7%« StutUtU, 

** Students of the Science will find this volume foil of useftil an<l deeply interestiac 
Batter.** — Albany Evening Journal, 

** Seldom have we opened a book so attractive as this In Its typography and style 01 
execution ; and there is besides, 'on the margin opiwslte each section, an index of the 
subject of which it treats — a great convenience to tiie student. But the matter is no 
less to be commended than the manner. And we are very much mistaken if this work 
shall not prove more popular and more useful than any which the distinguished author 
has given to the public.*'— £,u{Aeran Observer, 

*' We have been much interested both in the plan and in the execution of the work. 
End would recommend the study of it to the theologian as a discipline in close and 
•erurate thinking, and in logical method an«l reasoning. It will be useful, aba, to the 
lenerai scholar aud to the practical mechanic. We would spechilly recommend it te 
those who would have nothing taught in our Free Academy and other higher instita 
tton<» but what is directly ' practical* : nowhere have we seen a finer ilitistnuioa «f 
the connection between the abstractly scientifie and the practical. 

**The work is divided into tliree books: the first of which treats of Logic, mainly 
ipon tbe basis of Whately ; tlie second, of Mathematical Science ; and the Uiird, r f the 
Utihty of Mathematical — Independent. 

** The anthoi*s style is perspicuous and concise, and be exhibits a mastery of the 
sbsiruse topics which he attempts to simpliiy. For the mathematical student, wli* 
desires an analytical knowledge of the science, and who would begin at the bc^nnina. 
we should suppose the work would have a special utility. Prof. Davies* mathemau- 
«d works, we believe, have become quite popular with educators, aud this disclusoi 
fuite as much reasearch and practical scholarship as any we hav*" seen horn. Ids p^t' 
• -iir«io> Yrrk EvangdUL 

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