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yet there are many buildings, yet found here and there, which are uscd for the purpose, that deserve not the name of school-houses; and are a disgrace to the sacred cause of Popular Education, and to those who suffer their existence. Children will not, likely, be attracted to school, if there they are to encounter the pains of cold, and uncomfortable sittings, when they can shun these sufferings by active sporis in the unconfined atmosphere of heaven. No wonder that they often prefer arduous bodily labor, to attendance at school.
Anindividual from the interior,-0.7e much intcrested in the advancement of the cause of education, has informed me, that in country towns, a repair or improvement of the school-house, often experiences more opposition than that of any other improvement of a public nature. Substantial farmers will often strenuously oppose even the repairing of an old, dilapidated school-house. “They went to school in it when it was not much better than it now is ;-if it was good enough for thein, it is good enough for the children of the present day.” Men who acknowledge ibe importance, and have the pride of a commodious, comfortable and convenieni barn and piggery, or even a dow-kennel, --willofien show unblushing indifference to the condition of the school-house in their district.
“Let me see the school-house of a district, first," says an intelligent and philan. thropic traveller, “and I can with great certainty infer the character of the people. This is almost an unerring index to the character of the population,-more so than the church building is. In riding through the country, if I come upon a neal, commodious school-house, with an ample enclosure, &c., all in keeping, I am cer. lain to find around it, or near it, the thriving village of painted houses, well cultivaled farms and substantial farm-houses, and an industrious and intelligent popula. tion. On the other hand, if I stumble upon a miserable little shanty-like building, pushed away in some secluded and repulsive spot, like a pest-house or small pox hospital, - within the confines of the lighway, -no good enclosure-weather beaten and weather colored, -glass broken, &c. &c. all in keeping;“I wish not to make farther observation, - no inqniry as to the character of the people. I am sure to find near, bushy farms, broken fences, wretched farm buildings, miserable, and misery-making grog-shops, a dirty, filthy country tavern, with ragged loungers in and about it, &c. &c. all in keeping."
2. PARENTS SHOULD SEE THAT A GOOD TEACHER IS EMPLOYED, A poor teacher, -and they can always be found, at your own price-is undenia. bly worse, ofien, than no teacher at all. There are existing difficulties, I know, in the circumstances of the case, in obtaining the necessary number of well educated and experienced teachers for the winter schools of our towns. Preparation at a good normal school will do much to qualify for teaching; yet, after all, experience seems almost indispensable. Pay teachers well for their services, and you hold out an inducement to direct and thorough preparation. Pay well, -and, in this matter, as in others in life, the supply will come up to the demand.
Not only should parents take all wise, precautionary measures to obtain the services of a good instructor,—but after his services are secured, they have much to do to keep him a good teacher,—to make him a better one.
3. PARENTS SHOULD VISIT OFTEN THE SCHOOL WHERE THEIR CHILDREN
It is a prevalent, but mistaken opinion, that teachers, generally, are averse to such visits. Were they very general and frequent, they would subserve the very best pirposes. Let a school get accustomed to fiequent, informal visits from parents, and all interested in their success, and they will be looked for and desired. li manifests an interest to which they are not generally accustomed, but which is grateful and stimulating. li divests the school-room of that exclusive, isolated, secreted character, which, to its disadvantage, is too generally attached to it. It dissipates that reserve, timidity and shyness which almost necessarily show themselves upon the appearance of a new, unaccustomed face in a school unused to the visits of parents and others. It banishes that trepidation and fear,--that consternation and panic, even, which will sometimes seize upon the teacher as well as scholars, when visits fr m those without, are "few and far between,”-regarded pot as "angels' visits,” but rather those of arch enemies and spies. Teachers who have thought much upon the subject, and have had experience in the matter, I believe, with one voice, will declare that they would like to have calls of this
mature, every hour in the day;-even not object to the constant presence of interes! ed persons.
Ii destroys the dread of an "examination,”--that perio í often regarded with a " fearful looking for," both by teachers and pupils. T'hey thus become accustomed to examinations, -The very things they constantly need ; and the effect is to excile, and give self-possession and confidence to all concerned. So far from hindering the operations of a school, they relieve it of a tedious monotony, and prevent many irregularities which might oiherwise occur;-stinulate the scholars 10 constant well-appearing, and strengthen the teacher's authority.
Are you a parent, then,-or a school committee-man,-or an individual not interested directly by either of these relations in the educational advancement of the rising generation, call often and unceremoniously at the school-room of your district, and those of others. Say not, that you have not time. Most have time, and to spare, which they can certainly devote to this important subject, *-moments and hours which they are often at a loss to employ otherwise,-hours of non-employment, idleness and heaviness, to dispose of which, they have to resort to various expedients of " time killing." Does a cessation of labor or business allow,--does a foul day intervene, - does a slight indisposition disqualify you for work, --are you passing the school-house, “ in no particular hurry,' '--tie your horse at the post, and spend a half hour among the smiling faces of happy children.
Say not, that you feel no interest in these things. You should feel an interest, and you can be set it. Make four visits to a well conducted school-room, and my word for it, you will feel a strong inclination for the fifth. Say not, that you are not qualified by education to judge discriminately of the work of the school-room. You may not in all cases be qualified to judge of grammatical exercises, &c., but there is much of which all can form an opinion rightly. You can judge of quiet and orderly deportment, of ready and cheerful obedience, of prompt answers, and of cheerful and happy countenances. Pass round the school-room, -address a word of caution, of reprehension, or of commendation and incitement, where your eye will with much certainty see that these appliances are needed. It will raise you in your own estimation, and in the estimation of the young, -excite and inspirit the pupils, and strengthen the hands, and give dignity and influence to the
You could find time,-and the interest of curiosity, at least, would promps you to drop into a factory to witness its operations, even if you had not the interest of a stockholder. Can you find no interes', then, in the operations of these mental factories --in every one of which you are a stockholder? Are the operations upon dead matter of more general consequence and curiosity than those upon mind ?
4. PARENTS SHOULD SUSTAIN THE AUTHORITY OF THE TEACHER. The successful government of a school of children coming from fifiy, or more, families, each with some peculiarity of management, good or bad, --with all those shades and complexity of temper and disposition usually found in a hundred different children, is no easy task. It is attended with more difficulties, and more perplexing turns, than the untried in the way are at all aware of.
When your child comes home with a complaint from school, -a real or imaginary grievance, listen to bim,-if these things come not too often, for they should not be encouraged-but decide not hastily, and upon his partial testiniony. The law, very wisely, allows no man to bear testimony in his own case. How can we satély trusi it in children? From the very constitution of human nature, it is neri to impossible that a person can be an unbiásed evidence for himself, and an impartial judge in his own cause. The God of nature has wisely implanted in the breasts of parents, a strong passion of tenderness, a quick feeling of defense and protection, iowards their offspring. It is all necessary, in the relation they stand; but, at the same time, it is apt to lead them into excess and error. A great propor tion of the troubles of the schoolmaster's course springs from this source. The home-indulged, and, may be, the home-spoiled child, appeals instinctively to that full source oftenderness, of partiality, or of prejudice, in every case of grievance, to reverse the decisions of the school-room. With all those quick sensibilities acutely awake, which were placed in the parent's heart for the best purposes, but which are often perverted, the father or mother decides hastily, solely upon the words of the child, prompted by the strongly swaying feelings of self vindication. The teacher is not heard in the case,—and judgment is hastily pronounced against him! No course is more certain to lead the judgment astray,-result in wrong to the teacher, and in a most pernicious influence upon the child
No-if a complaint be brought from school for home decision -- and it seem worthy of consideration, --- hear the child's representation; but decide not the case with him. Be careful, in the mean time, not to have the ear 100 open to complaints, or they will come too fast and frequent. If one, I say, seem worthy of serious consideration, have a full statement on the other side, and with the toucher settle the point. If, from false testimony, or misapprehension, he has erred, convinced of his error, he will make concession, and due reparation, or he is not worthy of his trust. If he has been led into misgovernment from a mistaken insight into the child's disposition or temper, upon being set right in the matter, he will alter hig course, or he has not the qualities which fit one for his important post.
The most disastrous consequences I believe have often resulted from errors that have come from the joint relation in which parents and teachers sland to children. An old teacher has informed me, that he has made it a matter of record, and that, in his experience of many years, in no case where the parent has violently and unreasonably interfered between his rightful authority and the child, and persisted in an unjust decision against him, has it passed long, without the iniquity being signally visited upon the heads of the offenders. Boys thus encouraged and supported in disobedience, and thus screened from a juist penalıy, have, almost without one exception, "* turned out badly' in life. Two cases he citev, strongly marked by the turpitude of the offenders, and followed by the violent abuse which he received from the parents. They were visited by a signal retribution- no less than the public conviction of the two boys, for iheft, within two weeks of the "school's disaster." , PARENTS SHOULD SEE THAT THEIR CHILDREN ARE PUNCTUAL AND REGA
ULAR IN THEIR ATTENDANCE AT SCHOOL.
Pupils cannot be taught unless the teacher has their presence. The partial and irregular attendance of children at school must necessarily result in their irregular, partial and, imperfect instruction.
Those school-books have the sanction of the best judges, as being the best, in which the principles are very gradually unfolded, connected by a golden chain of little links, no one of which can be safely spared, or skipped over, without making more or less defective the work of instruction. The best and most successful teachers are those who proceed minutely and carefully on this plan. But how can they so proceed, and how use such books, with scholars who are, half the time, it may be, absent, and their attendance marker by the worst features of irregularity ?
All things of domestic arrangement should be ordered with reference to the im. portance of regular and interested attendance of children at school. The first morning duty of a parent, after that to his God, is to his children,-to see that their feei are directed in the daily path of duty, --ihat every thing which stands in the way of their regular attendance, that can be removed, is made to give way to this. How very frequent is the case,-how common is the defection, that parents give little or no attention to this weighty matter,--that it is almost wholly uncared for, and their attendance or non-attendance left to mere chance, or to the whim and caprice of the child? How often it is, that the most flimsy excuse of the child, or some slight, domestic convenience determines the question whether he shall be in his school-seat for the day, or his attention and habits estranged and weaned from his studies by staying at home. Arrange your business, then,--and it can easily be done,--so that occasions of interruption in this important matter will not be likely frequently to occur. Arrange your business so, that compliance in this thing shall take precedence of all others. Does the state of the weather interpose obstacles? Make a litile extra exertion,--take your carriage, if you have one, and carry your children to school ;--if you have no carriage for this purpose, take them by the hand, and teach them manfully to breast a little buffeting of the storm it is a necessary part of their education,-it will give strength to their muscles, and determination to iheir minds. The health of many more children is sacrificed by mistaken tenderness in careful seclusion, than by active exercise and proper exposure,
Let not frequent and slight excuses of illness on their part keep your children from school. Ill health is often feigned or imagined by those who have not the strongest inclination for the discipline and restraints of the school-room, and who have contracted habits of irregular attendance. The school-room is a healthy place, whatever adverse doctrines and beliefs may have been entertained upon the subject. The exercise which necessarily comes from the attendance,—the regulation of time, diet, habits, &c. which it more or less imposes, the social excitement and hilarity which comes from the meeting of many children together, is philosophically and practically, all' on the side of health. Few children die uhile actual members of a school. All experience will attest this. Teachers who have kept school, constantly, ten, twenty, or thirty years, will tell you that they have lost but fevr scholars by death, - hardly averaging two, for every ten years, even in large schools. The cases of the most perfect, youthful healih that I have ever known, have been in those children who have aliended an annual school for years, with scarcely the loss of one day in the year. 6. PARENTS SHOULD SHOW A LIVELY INTEREST IN ALL THAT CONCERNS THE
SCHOOL, When your children return to their homes, ascertain first that they have been to school, and in proper time. Question them of their conduct, and of the manner in which they have acquitied themselves in their studies. Have they been obedieot and respectful to their teacher, -kind and friendly towards their associates, -and industrious at their work ? Press the importance of these things constantly on their memories and hearts; let not a day pass-set not down to a meal with them, without going over the whole ground. This is the way in which children's hearts are kept in the right, and right habits and correct principles permanently established. Do this constantly, systematically and wisely, and you will never be troubled with complaints originating in the school-room,
Take an active interest in their studies --in all their studies. Take them by the hand, and tread the path of knowledge and research with them. You may say, " that your own education has not qualified you for this undertaking.” Then, you can qualify yourself, now, in a measure, by this course. The very underiaking will qualify you in a good degree. Many a parent has been beneficially and delightfully instructed by his own children, in this manner,-his own stock of useful knowledge increased, and his children immeasurably benefitied. What can present a more delightful and gratifying picture, than a family seated around the evening fireside, reviewing their acts, and the events of the past day, and thus mutually preparing each oiher for future action and usefulness. 7. PARENTS SHOULD SUPPLY THEIR CHILDREN WITH ALL NEEDFUL ROOKS.
Paren:s are prone to be remiss, and even niggard, in regard to this thing. Noi, that you are always to comply, without inquiry, with the whims and too often changing plans of teachers and book-publishers. There has been, undoubtedly, much abuse on this score, -unnecessary changes and too frequent calls for new text-books, touching the best interests of the scholars. But, then, their advancement at school necessarily implies a change of books, and new books impart a new interest to their studies, and give a new spur to their labors. Parents ofien ungrudgingly incur a free expense to fill, and adorn their bodies, while they stintingly with hold that which is necessary to furnish their minds.
RECEIPTS FOR THE JOURNAL. Mrs. F. R. Arnold, Providence, $100 N. L. Richmond, Brand's Iron W’ks, 50 Case, Tiffany & Co. Hartford, Ct. 50 Miss Phettiplace, Chepatchet, 3 (0) W. D. Swan, Boston, Ms.
50 S. M. Weeks, Cumberland, 3 00 Israel Wilkinson, Pawtucket, 300 George C. Wilson, Manville, 6 00 G. W. Winchester, Hartford, Ct. 50 Scott Greene, Providence,
50 Kev. C. P. Grosvenor, S. Scituate, 90 L. D. Kidder, Newport,
35 Julius Hadsel, Portsmouth, 50 D. P. Spencer, So. Killingly, Con. 30 J. T. Sisson, Pawtucket, 50 S. Patterson, So. Scituate,
2 70 Rev. Thomas Vernon, Kingston. 13 00 Alfred Lawton, Newport, 7 SO Providence, January 30, 1846.
THOMAS C. HARTSHORN. In answer to inquiries respecting the non-appearance of the regular numbers of the Journal, the Agent would say, that the twelve numbers, or 192 pages, will be issued in addition to the Extras, and Tracts, before the volume is completed. Until Mr. Barnard can find time to superintend the printing of his Report, he prefers to prepare an Extra Journal, of the same number of pages.
J 0 0 R N A L
RHODEISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION.
The JOURNAL OF THE RHODE-ISLAND INSTITUTE OF INSTRUCTION will be published on the 1st and 15th of every month, until a volume is completed by the publication of twelve numbers.
Each number will contain at least sixteen pages in octavo form : and in addition, from time to time, an EXTRA will be published, containing official circulars, notices of school meetings, and communications respecting individual schools, and improvements in education generally; and one of a series of “ Educational Tracts," devoted to the discussion of important topics, in some one department of popular education.
The volume, including the Extras and “ Educational Tracts," will constitute at least three hundred pages, and will be furnished for fifty cents for a single copy; or for three dollars for ten copies sent in a single package; and at the same rate for any larger number sent in the same way. The subscription must be paid on the reception of the first number.
HENRY BARNARD, Commissioner of Public Schools, Editor.
THOMAS C. HARTSHORN, Business Agent. PROVIDENCE, Feb. 16, 1846.
LETTER FROM A TEACHER TO HIS PUPIL. MY DEAR PUPIL;—The relation which we sustain to each other, as teacher and pupil, is one so full of interest and importance to us both, that I am prompted to write you a few lines, to which I hope you will give your serious attention.
I have been selected by your parents, or by the school committee as their agents, to act as your instructor. I come to you, not only as your teacher, but also as your friend. While my principal object will be to aid you in getting an education, it will always afford me pleasure to assist and advise you as a true friend. I think I feel a strong desire to do all in my power to increase your knowledge, promote your happiness, and prepare you to discharge faithfully the duties of a virtuous, useful and intelligent citizen. May I not hope that you possess a strong desire to do what you can to make my situation a pleasant one, and to perform, with diligence and cheerfulness, all your
duties? If such is the case with you and all your companions, we shall, most certainly, have a happy school, and you will be making constant and rapid improvement. As we hope to spend many hours of each day, together, in the school room, it is very desirable that a clear and friendly understanding exist between us. I wish, therefore very plainly and kindly, to name some particulars