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duties. Every Superintendent is enjoined to call for and examine the list of scholars in the book which the statute requires the teacher to keep, in order that he may see whether the names are correctly and neatly entered. He will also examine the day roll and the weekly roll, which by the preceding regulations, teachers are directed to preserve, and will ascertain by the proper inquiries, whether they are exact in entering all who are present.
The Superintendent will then hear each class recite the ordinary lesson of the day. It will then be examined on the subjects of study. Generally it will be better to allow the teacher to conduct the exercises and examinations, as the pupils will be the less likely to be intimidated, and an opportunity will be given of judging of the qualifications of the instructors.
To enable him to compare the school with itself at another time, and with other schools, and to comply with the regulations hereinafter contained respecting the annual reports, the Superintendent should keep notes of his observations, and of the information he obtains on all the subjects on which he is required to report; and he should particularly note any peculiarities which seem to require notice in the mode of instruction, in the government and discipline of the school, and the appearance of the pupils in respect to their cleanliness of person and neatness of apparel.
4. The Superintendent will also examine the condition of the school-house and its appurtenances; whether the room has the means of ventilation, by lowering an upper sash, or otherwise; whether it is sufficiently tight to protect the children from currents of air, and to keep them warm, in winter; whether there is a supply of good water; the condition of privies, and whether they are provided for both sexes; and the accommodations for physical ex. ercise. Their attention will be given to the arrangements of the school-room; whether the seats and desks are placed most conveniently for the pupils and teachers, and particularly whether backs are provided for the seats—a circumstance very important to the comfort and health of the children. They should also inquire whether blackboards and alphabetical cards, or any apparatus to assist learners, are furnished.
The preceding topics of inquiry are suggested, rather as hints of the most important, than intended to embrace the whole field. The judgment and observation of the Superintendents will discover many other subjects deserving their attention.
5. The Superintendents will also inquire into the condition of the district, in relation to its ability to maintain a school; whether its interest and the convenience of its inhabitants can be promoted by any alterations, without injury to others; and they will suggest whatever occurs to them, to the trustees.
In case of any gross deficiency or inconvenience, which the proper officers refuse or decline to remedy, the Superintendents will note it in their annual reports to the department.
6. They will also examine the district, library, and obtain the information respecting it, hereinafter required to be stated in their reports.
II. ADVISING AND CONSULTING WITH THE TRUSTEES AND OTHER
OFFICERS OF SCHOOL DISTRICTS. This is made a special duty of the Superintendents by the act; they are to advise the trustees and other officers in relation to all their duties; and to recommend to them and the teachers the proper studies, discipline and conduct of the school, the course of instruction to be pursued, and the elementary books to be used. The notes which the Superintendents make during their inspection of the school, will much facilitate the discharge of this portion of their duty.
1. In regard to proper studies : if they find any important one omitted, or that pupils are hastened on without thoroughly understanding the preliminary or previous branches, they should point out the error and its consequences. For instance, they should urge the absolute necessity of children being thoroughly and frequently exercised in spelling, so that they make no mistakes in any words in common use. Without this it is impossible for them to be good readers. And in the exercise of reading they should insist on clear and distinct articulation, more than any other quality; and generally the ability of the Superintendent is relied upon to detect bad
habits in the manner of reciting, erroneous ideas of the subject, and superficial acquirements.
2. The discipline and conduct of the school. It can scarcely be necessary to remark on the importance of order and system in the schools, not only to enable the pupils to learn any thing, but to give them those habits of regularity so essential in the formation of character. Punctuality of attendance, as well as its steady continuance, should be enforced. Parents should be told how much their children lose, to what inconvenience they expose the teacher, and what disorder they bring upon the whole school, by not insisting upon the scholars being punctually at the school-room at the appointed hour; and above all, they should be warned of the injurious consequences of allowing their children to be absent from school during the term. By being indulged in absences they lose the connection of their studies, probably fall behind their class, become discouraged, and then seek every pretext to play the truant. The habit of irregu. larity and insubordination thus acquired will be apt to mark their character through life. Trustees should be informed that the omission of parents to require the regu. lar and punctual attendance of their children will justify their exclusion, on account of the effect of such irregularity upon the other pupils. · The Superintendents should also observe whether the
teachers are careful to preserve the respect of their pupils, - not only by maintaining their authority, but by a becoming deportment, both in the school-room and out of it. in
3. With regard to the course of instruction, the advice of the Superintendents will often be of great value. The usual order has been found by long experience to be the best, viz: the alphabet, spelling, reading with definitions, arithmetic, geography, history and grammar. No child should be put to any study beyond his capacity, or for which he is not already prepared. English grammar particularly, demands so much exercise of the intellect, That it ought to be delayed until the pupil has acquired considerable strength of mind.
4. The books of elementary instruction. It is believed that there are none now in use in our schools that are very defective; and the difference between them is so
slight, that the gain to the scholar will not compensate for the heavy expense to the parent, caused by the substitu tion of new books with every new teacher; and the capriciousness of change which some are apt to indulge on : . this subject, cannot be too strongly or decidedly resisted. Trustees of districts should look to this matter when they engage teachers.
One consequence of this practice is, the great variety of text books on the same subject, acknowledged by all : to be one of the greatest evils which afflicts our schools. } It compels the teacher to divide the pupils into ás many i classes as there are kinds of books, so that the time which might have been devoted to a careful and delibe. rate hearing of a class of ten or twelve, where all could have improved by the corrections and observations of the instructer, is almost wasted in the hurried recitations of: ten or a dozen pupils in separate classes; while in large schools, some must be wholly neglected. Wherever the Superintendents find this difficulty existing, they should not fail to point out its injurious consequences, and to urge a remedy by the adoption of uniform text books as speedily as possible. To accomplish this, an earnest and systematic effort should be made, under the auspices of the Town and County Superintendents, to relieve our institutions of elementary instruction from the serious embarrassments resulting from the diversity and constant change of text books. The several County Superintend. ents are therefore enjoined by the department, to avail themselves of the earliest practicable opportunity to cause an uniform series of text books, embracing all the elementary works ordinarily used in the common schools to he adopted in each of the districts subject to their supervision, under the direction and with the consent of the trustees; and when so adopted, not to be changed for the term of three years. Whenever such uniformity can be extended throughout all the districts of the town, and throughout all the towns of the county, it is very desirable that such extension should be made ; but from the. great diversity of views in relation to the relative merit of different works, the progress of this extension must necessarily be slow. The foundations may, however, be laid by the attainment of uniformity in the respective dis
tricts, for an ultimate harmony of views and concert of action on a wider theatre.
5. The erection of School-Houses.—The statute has en joined upon the Superintendents particular attention to this subject. Whenever they learn that the building of a school-house is contemplated, they should advise with the trustees respecting its plan. He must be a superficial observer, who has not perceived how much the health of pupils, the order and discipline of a school, and the convenience of the teacher, depend upon the arrangements of the school-room. This is not the place to state the best models. Information upon that point, collected with great care from Europe and America, has already been given, and will continue to be furnished in the District School Journal. Whenever repairs are about to be made to school-houses, the Superintendents should avail themselves of the occasion to recommend such improvements as may be desirable.
6. In their consultations with trustees and teachers, the Superintendents should be especially careful to communicate their suggestions in a kind and friendly spirit, as the most likely means of success, and as the only certain mode of preserving those harmonious relations, which are essential to their own happiness as well as usefulness; and whenever they observe any thing in the mode of instruction, in the government or discipline of the school, or in any other point, which, in their judgment, requires correction, they will make it a point to intimate their views to the teacher in private, and never, on any occasion, suffer themselves to find fault with him in the presence of his pupils. Children cannot discriminate, and they will feel themselves at liberty to blame, when the example has been set by others. The authority of the teacher should be preserved entire while he remains. If his conduct is worthy of public censure he should be at once dismissed rather than be retained to become an object of the contempt of his scholars.
III. REPORTS TO THE SUPERINTENDENT. 1. The time when they are to be made.-By $ 38, of the act of 1841, (No. 173,) the County Superintendents are required annually to make reports to the Superintendent