« PreviousContinue »
dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. And if the fool or the pig is of a different opinion, it is only because they know only their own side of the question. The other party to the comparison knows both sides.” Who would not rather be an intelligent working-man, seeking to better his condition, than an ignoramus contented with little because he knows nothing of the joys of the higher life? Life is full of contradictions and incongruities and disappointments. Over against these the school in its relation to the higher life has a duty to perform. For the discontent which springs from life's contradictions and incongruities a safety valve has been given to man in his ability to laugh. The person who never laughs is as one-sided and abnormal as the person who never prays. The comic is now recog. nized as one form of the beautiful, and the beautiful is closely allied to the true and the good. Without going into the philosophy of this matter, allow me to draw attention to the fact that beauty is at home in the domain of art as well as of nature; that the queen of the fine arts is poetry; that the greatest poet of all the ages was Shakespeare ; that Shakespeare's literary genius reached its highest Aights in tragedies and comedies; that, while tragedy and comedy are two forms of the beautiful in art, comedy is the highest form of the comic, and tragedy is the highest form of the sublime. In teaching us to appreciate the plays of Shakespeare the school not merely teaches us when to laugh and when to weep, thereby furnishing the safety valve to let off our discontent and to reconcile us anew to our lot, but puts us in possession of that which money cannot buy, namely, the ability to appreciate the beautiful in its subtlest and sublimest forms. Who owns the moon-lit skies, the millionaire or the poet? Who owns the hills and the valleys, the streams and the mountains — he in whose name the deeds and mortgages are recorded, or he whose soul can appreciate beauty and sublimity ? Beauty has a home in nature and in art. It is the province of the school to put us in possession of the beautiful, the sublime, and the comic, for these, quite as much as the true and the good, belong to the things of the higher life. How about life's disappointments? Higher than the life of thought is the life of faith and hope and love higher because these are rooted and grounded in the life of thought, ripen above it as its highest fruitage and efflorescence. The nineteenth century has been an age of faith. Every scientific mind has profound faith in nature's laws, in the universal efficacy of truth; and, like Agassiz and Gray and Drummond, multitudes of the best minds have made the step from faith in natural laws to faith in the laws which govern the spiritual world.
The common people evince a faith almost bordering on credulity in the readiness with which they accept the results of scientific research and investigation. Faith lies at the basis of great achievements. Bismarck declared that, if he did not believe in the divine government of the world, he would not serve his country another day. “Take away my faith,” he
exclaimed, “and you take away my country too.”
While no religious test can be applied to those who teach in our public schools, our best people prefer teachers who have faith in the unseen, profound faith in the truths of science and revelation. In ways that escape observation the spirit of faith passes from teacher to pupil, and gives the latter a sense of something to live for and something to be achieved.
Faith begets hope. The hope of glory, of rewards in civil and military life, of immortality on the pages of history, has stimulated to deeds of heroism and self-sacrifice, and will continue to do so to the end of time. The higher life knows of higher objects of hope than these. Immortality on the pages of history is only an immortality in printers' ink. wish my children and my pupils to cherish the hope of an immortality far more real than an immortality in printers' ink; I would implant in their hearts the hope of an immortal life in a world where the soul shall be robed in a body like unto Christ's risen body, which Stephen saw in a vision of glory and Paul beheld in a manifestation of overwhelming splendor.
Finally, that which makes life worth living is the life of love. Love of home and country, of kindred and friends, of truth and righteousness, of beauty in all its forms, of goodness of every kind up to the highest forms of the good - love of these makes life worth living.
The school makes possible the higher life when it lays the foundation for physical well-being and lifts the individual above an unceasing struggle for existence. It promotes the higher life when it teaches the pupil to think the thoughts of God as expressed in all his works, and the best thoughts of the best men as embodied in the humanities. It fits the pupil for complete living when it develops in him the power to appre. ciate beauty in nature and art, power to think the true and to will the good, power to live this higher life of thought and faith and hope and love.
BY A. E. WINSHIP, EDITOR OF THE “ JOURNAL OF EDUCATION," BOSTON, MASS.
My theme is “Professional Sentiment." Sentiment is the relish of life. Your entertainment thru the bountiful supply of fruit on the incoming trains, the wealth of beauty, the royal heartiness of Los Angeles, will help us to relish our work in the fifty states and territories, and the Lord only knows how many
colonies. Teachers need the relish of professional sentiment for the good of the schools, for the advancement of their interests, and for individual satisfaction, prosperity, and influence. Sentiment is all aglow. It kindles life and imparts spirit. Physically it is a rejuvenating force. Intellectually it is scintillating. Emotionally it throws a halo over all duty and responsibility.
Teaching more than any other vocation needs the physical, intellectual, and emotional benefit of the relish of sentiment. The juiciest steak ever grilled makes better fiber and force if it has the relish.of pepper and salt, of Worcestershire or Tabasco. So teaching, the highest if not the holiest of professions, does most for the child, for the country, and for God when one teaches with a relish.
Teaching is a frightful strain. An overburdened curriculum, an unduly stimulating intellectual tonic, unreasonable financial demand, with the terrors of political interference, are a combination which may well make any teacher desperate.
Whatever adds to the flush of health of body, buoyancy of confidence, rest, peace, and joy to the emotional life, is of incalculable value. Senti. ment may do this.
All the setting of a teacher's life is against sentiment, especially of the professional variety. Toward pupils, in the nature of the case, she assumes an air of superiority, and officially, toward principals, superintendents, and school board, an air of inferiority. With pupils her word is law. With officials their word is law. Both of these attitudes are antagonistic to sentiment, which demands freedom of action, thought, and emotion. Equality is indispensable to sentiment. This is foreign to the general life and experience of the teacher.
Legal documents class all persons in the great trio of occupation, trade, or profession. The specification always is that A. B. is by occupation, trade, or profession a blacksmith, banker, teacher, etc.
An occupation is primarily that which we occupy; secondly, that which occupies us, our time and energy, for a living. Man first occupied the land, took possession of the fruit of the soil for a living. · Anything that is done for the sake of a living is an occupation. So long as man's desire and hope are merely that he may have for himself and for those dependent upon him the necessities and comforts of life, he is engaged in an occupation. If one teaches primarily for a living, he is spending his life in an occupation the same as tho he were grooming horses.
Trade is that in which one engages for the purpose of having something more than a living. He expects to put more time and energy into it than he would into an occupation. It never enters his mind that he is working for a living. He takes out of his business a good living, as much as he is entitled to on the volume of business done. A man failed recently, and the creditors met for consultation. He reported that he had drawn $30,000 a year for a living, and all said that was all right. Whatever a man does when his main purpose is to accumulate something, he is in general a trader. It may be banking or railroading, but it is in essence trade. There is little liability that teachers will become traders, and yet within a few days a teacher in one of our cities advertised that he was short on stock, and must raise money immediately, and would sell his library at a great sacrifice. That man is evidently more of a trader than a professor.
Law is the grandest profession. A lawyer may do some things that clergyman would not do, but the moment he does what lawyers think is unprofessional he is summarily debarred - it makes no difference who he is, how great his wealth or influential his position ; and once out he can only get back to the profession or the practice of law by bringing forth fruits meet for repentance. No other profession has such reverence for precedent. To doubt precedent is a professional sin. Sentiment is sacred with the lawyer. He may not have half a living for several years, and yet he struggles on courageously and hopefully, dreaming of the great pleas of Randolph, Webster, and Choate. From law the professions grade downward.
Teachers cannot enjoy the luxury of professional sentiment until the remuneration is such that anxiety about a living is removed; until the possibility of being unceremoniously and unrighteously deposed is a thing of the past. The base line must be security in position, with a salary that shall remove all anxiety. Teachers cannot enjoy the inspiration of professional sentiment so long as there is reasonable doubt that capacity and merit will be the test of employment and promotion. The whole nation should rise up as one man and insist that elections, re-elections, and promotions shall be for merit. Then may we expect and insist that teachers shall prepare themselves for their high calling ; that they shall study in their profession as do lawyers and physicians.
Of all the forces contributing to the relish of professional sentiment, no one thing is doing more than such a gathering as this, the largest and the best in our history. Fifteen thousand teachers, learning from nature and human nature, feasting upon a multitude of unusual luxuries such as Los Angeles has never given to politicians, bankers, or editors, inspired by the intellectual and professional contagion of a common cause and a noble purpose, are in position to send flashing across the continent, and ringing down the ages, as their motto: “Love and loyalty, for the child, our country, and our God.”
tReport of the Committee on Aecrology
To the Members of the National Educational Association :
Your committee respectfully reports that twenty-six of our active members have passed away since our last meeting. Memorial sketches are submitted herewith.
The following are the names of these twenty-six, some of whom have been very prominent in the affairs of this association ; these we shall miss especially, while we mourn for all.
GEORGE SUMNER ALBEE
Austin, Tex. Springfield, III.
King's Mills, 0. San Luis Obispo, Cal. East Grand Forks, Minn.
Alfred, N. Y.
Canton, O. Mobile, Ala. Boston, Mass.
Chicago, Ill. Boston, Mass. Syracuse, N. Y. San Diego, Cal.
Boston, Mass. Warrensburg, Mo. New York, N. Y.
Chicago, Ill. Downer's Grove, Ill.
Akron, O.: Mankato, Minn.
Philadelphia, Pa. Nebraska City, Neb.
· Sheboygan, Wis.
EDWIN C. HEWETT, Chairman,
Committee on Necrology.
Los ANGELES, CAL., July 11, 1899.