Page images
PDF
EPUB

[The following circular, addressed to the teachers of the Racine public schools by the Princi. pal of the High School, contains so many valuable suggestions worthy of the consideration of every teacher, pupil, and parent in the State, that we give it entire in our columns.]

RACINE, January 2nd, 1858. The fellowing suggestions are made to promote harmony of action, and to secure so far as possible similarity of views among the teachers of the Racine public schools:

1. GENERAL DUTIES.—The teacher must devote himself exclusively to the duties of his station, or failure is certain. He should give constant and careful attention to the discipline, instruction, habits and manners of his pnpils, and as far as possible superintend their conduct in the yard and in the vicinity of the school house at recess and intermission. All school property, apparatus, furniture and books, should be carefully preserved, and the regulations of the Board of Education in regard to them rigidly enforced.

2. PUNCTUALITY.—In addition to regarding the laws of the Board on this point it will be well to punctiliously observe the time of opening school. Let it be precisely seven minutes before nine o'clock in the morning, and at precisely thirty minutes after one in the afternoon. Great care should be taken to keep the cor. rect time; the standard is the clock of Messrs. Heath & Elkins. Classes should be called at the minute appointed. A constant and careful observance of time in all the exercises of the school is an indispensible condition of success.

3. OPENING OF, School.—The opening exercises should never occupy more than five minutes, and they should be made interesting: and, while the Board have made no regulation in regard to this subject, it is thought that the usual course of reading from a suitable book, and of singing, with such devotional exercises as the teacher may wish to engage in is the best. Scholars should not enter the school room during the opening exercises, unless in extreme cold weather. 3, ABSENCE OF PUPILS. – In case of unexcused absence of a pupil

, the teacher should send for information immediately. This should be done in such a way as to create no disorder in the school room, Parents should in all cases be visited by the teacher before the law in regard to absence is enforced. Every case of absence or tardiness should be noted and accounted for by the pupil and parept without loss of time. In general, parents are willing to co-operate with teachers in securing the constant and punctual attendance of their children. A statement from the parent that the absence of his child was necessary, is the least that can be regarded as an excuse; but in the few cases where parents refuse to write excuses, discretion, forbearance and common sense must be exercised in order to prevent injury to the child. When the law is enforced, let it be done empartially and rigidly.

5. SICKNESS OF TEACHERS. —Every effort possible should be made to prevent the dismission of the school. In case of illness of the teacher, immediate notice, in writing, should be given to the Superintendent; but no teacher will leave his post until compelled to do so, if he studies his own interest and the welfare of the school. A strong will is the panacea, and a careful regard to health is one of the highest duties of the teacher.

6. TEACHERS' MEETINGS.—The Board of Educatiou require every teacher to attend the Teachers' Meetings; but this is insufficient to make them profitable. A prompt and regular attendance, and a cordial and ac participation in the exercises are desirable. No teacher will absent himself from them without betraying a lack of interest, which will weaken confidence in his abilty. Preparation for these meetings is of great importance. All should be willing to give as well as to receive. An unexcused absence, besides being a violation of the laws of the Board, is an injury to fellow teachers which lacks little to become an insult. 7. SCHOOL GOVERNMENT.—Let the teacher govern himself.

Let him talk very little about order. When a wrong is done he may talk privately with the offender and when he understands the case he may make the matter public, if proper, but " that government is best that seems to govern least.” No person having confidence in himself will exhibit a rod or rule as a “terror to evil doers," and we need not say, that to strike the head of a child is brutal. A teacher should make no threats, and few promises. A promise will always be fulfilled if the teacher does not wish to merit the contempt of his pupils. A sacred regard to Right and reverence for the Truth, must be apparent-in what he does. He should never manifest any disrespect toward the parents of his pupils. Nothing, sectarian or partisan will or can be for a moment tolerated in a good school. A curse should fall upon the man, who would forget the claims of education so far as to use his influence as a teacher, to promote the objects of his sect or his party. Every teacher will op. pose those vices that degrade humanity, whether they are common or not. If he does this effectually, he will be maligned by those who practise them. The school, its interests, its claims, should always be prominent and paramount. All that interferes with its objec s must be opposed; whatever advances his pupils in virtue and knowledge, or promotes their welfare, must be defended. There must be no compromise with evil, or the foundation of school government will be sapped. Decision, honesty, generosity, impartiality, honor, forbearance, promptness and activity, are essential to the government of a school. A consciousness of being right, and of doing right, will afford the surest protection against misrepresentation of pupils, and abuse of mistaken parents and guardians.

No communication, by act or look or work, will be allowed during study hours, in a well organized school. The teacher must secure order and quiet, or he will fail. The will of the teacher is the power, and such appliances as are usually resorted to, are the means to secure this necessity of a good school. No teacher should regard that as impossible which has ever been done.

8. COMMENCEMENT OF SCHOOL.—Remember that your predecessor has the sympathies and affections of your pupils ; to secure the same for yourself, you will need a rich fund of infomation, and it will be necessary to exhibit much kindness and decision during the first days of your a cquaintance with your school. Manifest a strong personal interest in every pupil. Make no unkind allusion to your predecessor; it is possible he may have left the school somewhat below perfection. Let your aim be to leave it better than you found it. Have a programme prepared and "get to work," as soon as possible. Let the exercises be spirited, but never proceed unless there is a proper degree of quiet in the school-room,

9. GENERAL PRINCIPLES.—1. Every pupil should be provided with something to do. 2. It is absolutely indispensible, that the time of pupils be apportioned to the several studies and ties, by the teacher. 3. Repetition, and hourly, daily and weekly reviews, are necessary to success in teaching, and pupils should be required to write out all lessons to insure accuracy and study. 4. The pupil must be able to state in his own language, the substance of lessons, but all rules should be required in the language of the book, unless better is suggested by the teacher Language should be concise and elegant. The voice should be trained, so as to secure distinctness of utterance, and sweetness of tone. 5. Every teacher should lay out his work beforehand, so that he will not need a text book during school hours Success is dependent on nothủng, more than upon ability to teach without leaning upon the text book or the pupils. 6. Frequent written examinations are necessary to thoroughness. 7. Visitors should be welcomed, but the exercises of the school cannot be suspended to entertain them. Parents and citizens should be invited and induced to visit the Schools. 8. The time of the teacher is the property of the school. All amusements that are unnecessary should be avoided. All society that is not refined should be shunned. All means, such as reading Educationa Works, conversing with teachers, visizing different schools, studying the subject of Education, should be employed, as it is only by constant and determined effort, as well as the possession of extensive knowledge, and the exercise of skill and tact that we may reasonably hope for success.

Yours Truly, J. G. MCMYNN.

"I TAKE CARE OF MY LAMBS.”

LET teachers and parents weigh well the significance of the following extract:

“A gentleman in England was walking over his farm with a friend, exhibiting his crops, herds of cattle, and flocks of sheep, with all of which his friend was highly pleased, but with nothing so much as his splendid sheep. He had seen the same breed frequently before, but had never seen such noble specimens; and with great earnestness he asked to know how he had succeeded in producing such flocks. His simple answer was, “I TAKE CARE OF MY LAMBS, SIR. Here was all the secret of his large, heavyfleeced, fat sheep; he took care of them when they were lambs."-Illinos Teacher,

For the Journal of Education.

MESSRS:-No meeting having been called at Maple Grove for January, I take the liberty to send further remarks upon our school system directly to the “Journal."

It is evident that the influence of all institutions supported by the State, by fund or tax, should be duly felt in their beneficial effects by all classes, in all parts of the State. The State Government should throw its arm of protection around every citizen, and secure for all, every natural right, The public school should, as far as possible, shed its light equally in every community, aud at every fireside, A State University and Normal School should foster all, and all should foster them. Such institutions should be the particular foster children of the State; be well known in every community; supported by every neighborhood, cherished by all people, and should be regarded as the eyes to the great soul of the State.

To secure these results, both reason and the light of the past assure us that two things are absolutely necessary. First, real merit within their walls, and secondly, an active and efficient agency to represent their interests thoroughly in all parts of the State. Wherever there is a defect in either of these departments, all schools, and more especially those under State patronage, must fall short of their legitimate usefulness. Almost all of our colleges and seminaries are under the control of sects, and each sect labors industriously and zealously for its own. But who is there to speak for our University, or who would know without making a yearly pilgrimage to Madison, that such a school is in operation. We have a liberal fund, elegant buildings, and doubtless a w rthy and competent faculty, but it must be evident to all that the institution is not exerting its proper influence. Such institutions need the co-operation and support of the entire State. But our University is certainly acting without a proper co-operation on the rart of the people, and without any regular support from the different parts of the State, and whatever other faults there may be in the institution, these are enough to destroy its usefulness.

A system of county superintendency has of late been proposed, and it is further proposed that these Superintendents constitute a State Board of Educatlon, and that all State schools be placed under their control, for the following reasons:

1st. Such a board would fairly and completely represent the people. 2d. They must be practical, educational men; must be continually employed in the business of education, and consequently would most likely possess among them the pure seeds of progress.

3d. They must spend about half of their time in traveling from district to district. They must acquaint themselves with the school interests of their entire district, and therefore would possess great opportunities for acting as agents for such schools.

4th. Having the control of these schools, they would be an interested party, and must of necessity act with more zeal and energy for their weliare. And therefore we believe they would constitute a most efficient agency.

In an act of 1849, establishing a normal School in Connecticut, the agency for the school was composed of one trustee for each county, which we learn constituted a very good agency, but did not combine all the advantages of the agency above proposed, as these trustees were not Superintendents, and therefore did not possess so good opportunities for becoming acquainted with the school interests of their counties.

In an act of 1844, establishing a normal school at Albany, New York, it was provided that the Town and County Superintendents were to act as agents to secure a proper attendance, which system operated well, though these Superintendents had no control of the school, and consequently could not be expected to have so deep an interest in its welfare.

BROADHEAD.

HOW TO GOVERN A SCHOOL. How to govern a school is a vital question to the teacher, yet not to all teachers alike. An assistant teacher, or one who has a small, select, private school, may never be called upon to consider the question of government in the same light as does the teacher of a promiscuous school of a hundred, or several hundred pupils. We have all heard teachers remark, “I like to teach, but not to govern." Now, I think, Mr. President, that every teacher should have something to do in the government of the school, or of the classes, at least. I can not do justice to myself as a growing teacher, or to my pupils, in developing their characters, if I do nothing but bear their recitations.

It is very difficult for one teacher to tell another how he governs his school. A friend once applied for a situation in a Boston school. you govern that school?” asked the Chairman of the Committee. "Yes." “How?” “I can't tell you.” “Who says you can govern?” “I say so," replied the candidate. The examination ended. The Committee, satisfied with his confidence in his own ability, wisely omitted details. That teacher was successful. The grand secret of governing is to do it without seeming to govern. The machinery of government should be kept out of

66 Can

« PreviousContinue »