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ing of the teacher without carefully considering the duties and responsibilities that will devolve upon him, and, more than all, carefully examining the motives which actuate him in the selection. With the teacher the question, “What manner of spirit am I of?” or, “Why am I a teacher ?” should neither be the last nor least soberly and severely put to his own heart; and it is one to which he should demand an honest and consistent reply. It is a question, too, that should be asked by every one officially or otherwise interested in the welfare of our youth, or the prosperity of our schools; and he who by a thoughtless reply or a studied evasion, escapes the issue, escapes it but to :he dishonor of his profession. For to look no farther than to this one thought, who would trust the polishing of a diamond to the common laborer? Who would risk the life of a beloved friend to the impudent quack? Who would commit his liberty and life to the counsels and pleadings of a stupid advocate? Why, then, should the most precious interests of the young intellect and the yet innocent heart be confided to one who can neither give an intelligent nor consistent reason for his being a teacher ?
Hence, then, the question is, “ Why are you a teacher ?” You, young woman, “why are you a teacher?” Is it because you consider teaching more honorable than domestic labor? Have you chosen teaching because, requiring your attention only six hours of the day, it gives you more time for mere social pleasure than you could otherwise obtain? Have you chosen it because you may use it to introduce yourself into higher walks of life than would otherwise be open to you? If either of these motives have determined you in the selection, you have mistaken your calling, and the sooner you withdraw from it the better, not only for you but for all those who are entrusted to your care. You are holding places of trust you are unworthy to occupy.
Young man, have you ever asked yourself this question, "Why am I a teacher?"
Is it because it is easier to teach than to battle with life "out of doors" amidst the snows of winter, or because, intending to follow some other business for life, this will enable you to fill up a few unoccupied months ? Is it because you expect to make teaching only a stepping-stone to some more lucrative office? or is it because you expect by teaching to accumulate wealth?
If so, then, you, too, are condemned as unfit for your highi calling, and your assumption of it is but a base usurpation of privilege.
But if any have chosen teaching with a high determination to make themselves worthy the confidence of their patrons, and the love of their pupils; if they have chosen it because they and it a constant source of pleasure, to see the young mind expanding and the young heart growing under their efforts; if they have chosen it with the sincere desire of truly serving their country and their God, in the training of the young, then may such be sure that they have found their work, and it will both honor them and be honored of them.
And there is a wealth of reward in reserve for such teachers. It is that
which springs from the consciousness of having labored to promote human happiness, and of having pursued this noblest object from the noblest motives,
Possessing this wealth, such may lay aside “the glass through which we now see darkly," and the bright vista of the future will be opened to their imaginations, through which will appear no appalling vision to "nake them shudder and grow sick at heart," but rather one of surpassing bauty and attractiveness far more to be coveted than magisterial power or princely possession.
From the Ohio Journal of Education.
THOUGHTS ON ABSENTEEISM, AND THE POWERS WHICH
TEACHERS POSSESS TO ENABLE THEM TO PREVENI IT.
EXPERIENCE has so frequently verified the assertion, "as is the Teacher so will be the school,” that it may be regarded as an established scholastic axiom.
The Teacher is to the school as the galvanic battery to the apparatus in connection with it: be the mechanism ever so good or only just in working order, when the battery is weak it is hopeless to expect an active exhibition of the principles sought to be illustrated; while a powerful battery, even though in connection with imperfect apparatus, will often evolve highly valuable and interesting phenomena. So where a Teacher lacks energy; if placed in a good school, but a limited amount of good is produced; while if placed in a bad one, each only adds to the total failure of the other.
So much has been said about absenteeism that it is not contemɔlated in the present article to enlarge the catalogue of evils of which it is the prolific parent. Our late State Commissioner (1 An. Rep. p. 42,) thus bly and comprehensively sums them up, and more could not well be said. “Absenteeism is then one of the worst evils under which our schods labor. From a good school it takes away its best influence, and a poc one it renders worse than worthless. Like the worm at the root of tender flower, it eats away all life from the system and leaves it but a dried and useless stalk."
It may not be without profit to examine whether Superintendents and Teachers laboring with them, do not possess such resources as, judiciously applied, would tend so far to eradicate the evil as to make it no longer a serious obstacle to the success of public education.
It would extend the present article too much, to examine in this connection whether the regulation adopted in many schools, “that pupils who are absent a definite time during a stated period shall be excluded from the privileges of the public schools," is a beneficial one. This might be discussed with great advantage at our approaching meeting at Steubenville. Few Boards of Education appear to possess nerve enough to resolve that pupils shall come regularly or they shall not come at all, and leave to the parents the choice; and even if they do possess that nerve, it is certainly not yet a settled question that this exclusion is the best course to be taken. It is proposed at present to consider how far energetic Superintendents and Teachers can succeed in eradicating absenteeism by a judicious application of the powers usually delegated to them by Boards of Education.
In the first place, there are two kinds of absenteeism that which arises from truancy, and that which arises from the parent's consent. The former is hardly included in the present article. Few Boards of Education, and, we presume few parents, will object to a Teacher's breaking up truancy in a summary manner.
It may fairly be presumed, also, that in the present enlightened state of public opinion in regard to education, there are no Boards of Education, having the guardianship and control over village schools, who will refuse to enact that every pupil having been absent from school shall, upon returning, present to the Teacher a written excuse for such absence, signed by the parent. This will speedily lead to the detection of truancy.
It will then become the Teacher's duty to hedge in absenteeism with so many barriers that the pupils shall not only find it unpleasant to be absent, but shal find it difficult to reinstate themselves after they shall have been away. This will make absenteeism unpopular with a large class of scholars, and that is a step towards making it unpopular in a community.
In the first place, let Teachers endeavor to educate the public mind to hostility to irregular attendance.
This may be done by occasional contributions to the local papers upon the subject. By a judicious selection and publication of prominent cases in which papils have seriously compromised their scholastic standing by continued absence. Startling facts will not be wanting in any system of schools where the attendance is irregular; unfortunately they are too numerous and too palpable to even a superficial examiner. Exhibit judiciously, regularly attending pupils of eight, nine or ten years, rapidly overtaking and leaving behind irregularly attending scholars several years older. Publish such facts and statistics as would tend to encourage in their constancy those who send regularly ; while those who are indifferent about the regular attendance of their children will feel such home truths so forced upon them as to make them uneasy under the infliction. Make absenteeism and the difficulties arising from the practice of it, the subject of conversation, citing instances where individuals have suffered from it. Keep a private memorandum of the worst cases, so that the memory may be refreshed, and when the parents of such cases are met, they may be addressed upon the subject.
While this education of public opinion is going on, let Superintendents and Teachers enact and quietly carry out such a course of executive policy in their schools as will naturally and inevitably tend to make irregularity hateful and regularity desirable to the scholars. It is not necessary that
these rules should be arbitrary or overbearing. They should carefully avoid any tendency to deprive and pupil of that public instruction which is the right of all, and which should be supplied untrammeled by the oppressive regulations and peculiar idiosyncrasies of any person.
Such resolutions as the following would interfere with the just rights of
1. When any pupil is absent from any cause except sickness, (either personal or of some member of the family,) let the seat of such pupil be forfeited, and let any other pupil of the same sex and class, who пау desire to do so, occupy the same. Where two desire the seat, prefer the most regular attendant.
2. Let there be a separate place for all absentees under every circumstance without exception. All, upon entering, must go there until excuses have been called for and examined.
3. Let the Teacher exercise a judicious discrimination as to whether the absence was justifiable and the excuse rendered is satisfactory.
4. Establish special seats for absentees, which they shall occipy after their return to school so long as the Teacher shall deem it advisabe, taking into consideration the cause of absence, excuse rendered, general standing of pupil, and other extenuating circumstances.
5. All occupying these seats should be deprived of any special local privileges which the scholars have been in the habit of enjoying. At recess and at dismission they should also be the last to leave.
6. Any pupil missing a recitation should, upon rejoining the class, stand at the foot.
7. Where a scholar is frequently absent, if such scholar fail to maintain a definite, average, established standing in his (or her) respective classes, let such be transformed to a lower class, both as a punishment, as a warning, and as an act of justice to those who attend regularly.
8. Where a scholar is so sent down, take care that the act is made sufficiently prominent; and that the cause is well understood by all the scholars, for they will be certain to talk about it at home, and it will often effect more benefit among those who are not habitually absentees, than it does upon the unfortunate absentee who has been made to suffer.
9. Publish the names of the most regular and their respective positions in their several classes; also the names of the most irregular and their positions. Sometimes it may also be desirable to append a brief notice of the grades of classes through which some of them may have risen within a given period.
Some communities take. more interest in education and the velfare of their schools than others; this arises from various causes which it is not at present necessary to investigate, but the fact that it seems an evil inherent to some societies, gives rise to the thought that absenteeism in a system of schools is like consumption in the human system; suffering the body to retain the hue of health, and promising ultimate convalescence to the end, it gradually and ineritably eats up the life of a glorious structure and keeps it ever powerless for good. Nor does the resemblance terminate here. As the consumptive invalid can never hope for a permanent cure, so absenteeism can never be entirely eradicated from our schools. But as the consumptive can, by a careful and constant adherance to the laws of life, baffle and 'arrest the enemy which would speedily destroy him; as like the celebrated Dr. Andrew COOMBE, he can keep the disease in check by a rigid and systematic regard for nature and a respect for her imperious laws, and finally sink to sleep a comparatively old man after a life of usefulness, so by the constant vigilant prosecution of a well digested code of rules, Superintendents and Teachers can so far reduce absenteeism in their schools, that it would no longer be regarded as the one great impediment to the successful working of our Union School System of Public Education.
To effect this, however, requires patient persevering effort. To relax is to relapse, and to relapse seriously to fail. The foregoing suggestions could be carried into effect, and, if judiciously executed, could be defended successfully by any Teacher, and would force even a careless, indifferent Board of Education to acquiesce in them; at the same time they attack the rights and privileges of no scholar in such a manner as to afford grumbling or ignorant parents a pretext for asserting that they deprive any pupil of power to prosecute his education to the utmost.
If a few faithful laborers should be led to devise more efficient means for securing regularity of attendance than they have hitherto done, then it may be hoped that these few thoughts are not entirely unworthy of the pages they are designed to fill.
From tho Illinois Prairie Farmer.
BY C. C, HOAGLAND.
There is every prospect of having a greater number of Institutes this fall than ever before. In several sections of the State, teachers and school commissioners are moving in favor of county organizations, either in the form of Associations or Institutes, or both. A few general remarks upon the objects to be accomplished by Institutes, and the best methods of conducting them, may not be amiss at this time.
We hold that teaching is as much of a profession as any other; that there are general principles which lie at its foundation, a knowledge of which is as essential to the highest success in the school-room, as is law to the lawyer, or medicine to the physician. One of the greatest defects in our present system of education is the want of means to furnish this professional instruction.