« PreviousContinue »
While every teacher should be found qualified in the particulars specified in the law, the certificate might show the peculiar qualification of the person to whom it is given, viz; that he or she is peculiarly fitted for a primary school, as principal or assistant, as the ca se may
The school committee must remember that on the thoroughness and fidelity with which this duty is performed, depends in a great measure the success or failure of the school system. The whole machinery moves to bring good teachers into the schools, and to keep them as long, and under as favorable circumstances as possib'e.
If the teacher adds to his other qualifications, a knowledge of the art of singing, it will be an additional recommendation to him with those who desire to have a good school. Singing in school serves as a recreation and amusement, especially for the smaller scholars. It exercises and strengthens their voices and lungs, and by its influence on the disposition and morals, enables a teacher to govern his school with comparative ease.
The committee should exercise a sound discretion in the examination. If a person has been before examined by them, and the committee have often visited his school, and know him to be a good teacher, the law allows them to give him a certificate founded on this experience. But re-examinations can in no case do any injury, and by gradually increasing their rigor and adding to the requirements, much may be done towards raising the general standard of education. The committee should, for convenience of reference, keep a tabular list of the names of all persons examined by them, either on their common record book, or in a book kept for that purpose, with columns for the date, age, place of residence of the apó plicant, the result of the examination, and any other remarks that may appear worthy of remembrance.
School committees should endeavor to encourage, by all the means in their power, our own young men to come forward and qualify themselves as teachers. A large portion of the money pended here has been paid to teachers from abroad, many of whom were persons who could not obtain schools where they were better known. While the great object should be to secure the services of
the best teachers, from whatever State they may come, it is certainly of great importance to the State, morally, intellectually and politically, that we should hereafter not be so dependent upon citizens of other States for our teachers, as we have heretofore been. The large amount of moner carried away every year, is, in fact, one of the least of the evils of this dependence. [See the Form of Certificate.
Annulling Certificates. As a teacher's qualifications depend not merely upon his learning, (of which a committee can judge from examination,) but upon his moral character, his disposition and temper, and his capaciiy to impart information, and to govern a school, in regard to all which the committee may be deceived or not fully informed; the law gives the committee the power to annul any certificate they may have given, if on trial the teacher proves unqualified. A teacher may also refuse to adopt the proper books, may introduce improper books, may refuse to adopt what the committee deem the best methods of instruction, or may violate other regulations of the committee. In such cases a remedy is necessary.
Unless the offence is gross, and the evidence palpable, it will generally be best to give the teacher notice of any complaint before deciding to annul his certificate. And in many cases friendly advice, and a private warning conveyed in courteous language, may settle the difficulty and render any public proceeding unnesessary. [See the Form.] Even if the teacher has a certificate signed by an inspector, or by the Commissioner, the committee are authorized to dismiss him if they think proper. [S 56.
95. Visitation of Schools. There was no duty of the school committee under the old law more generally neglected than that of visitation.
The new law makes it the express duty of committees and trustees to visit the schools often. Without personal visits to the schools, the committee can know nothing about the teacher's capacity to impart information, or about his method of instruction and government.
By § 15 the committee are authorized to employ some suitable person to visit the schools in their stead, and to pay him a reasonable compensation.
Visiting the schools also has the effect of encouraging the teacher in the performance of his duties; and if the teacher is visited and treated with proper respect by the committees, trustees and parents, it materially aids to secure to him respectful treatment from the scholars, and enables him to govern his school and preserve order with ease, and without resorting to corporeal punishment.
But the greatest effect is on the pupils themselves. School is now considered by many of them as a place of punishment. But if their parents and others visit them often, and take an interest in their studies and progress, it gives a new character at once to the school and the school room, and they contemplate it with pleasure instead of dread.
It will also have the effect of accustoming the pupils to recite before strangers, and help them to get rid of that timidity and reserve which, if not early removed, may prove a serious hindrance to their success in many pursuits in after lile.
While it will be advisable to assign one or more schools to each member of the committee, for the purpose of visitation and general supervision, it will be very desirable that all the schools shall be visited at least once a term by the same person or persons, so that a comparison can be instituted between the different teachers and schools, and the official reports and returns be made out more understandingly. The trustees and parents of each district should be invited to accompany the committee on their visits; and it will be well to encourage the teachers to visit each other's schools, with a few of their most advanced scholars.
In visiting schools, whether by the whole board, sub-committee, or individually, the following are among the objects which deserve attention :
The condition of the school-house and appurtenances; its location; size and condition of yard and out-buildings ; construction, size, outward appearance, and state of repair of building ; by whom built and owned, whether by town, district or proprietors; number and size of entries, and whether furnished with scraper, mat, hooks and shelves for hats, outer garments, water-pail and cup, broom, duster, &c.; dimensions of school-room, and its condition as to light, whether too much or too littleas to the air, pure or impure, as to temperature, whether too high or too low; modes of ventilation, whether by lowering or raising upper or lower sash, by opening into attic, by flue or otherwise ; whether heated by close or open stove, fire-place or furnace; construction and arrangement of seats and desks; whether all the scholars, and especially the younger, are comfortably seated, with backs to lean against, and with their feet resting on the floor, and all facing the teacher ; whether there is a platform where the teacher can overlook the whole school, and aisles to allow of his passing to every scholar, to give such instruction as may be necessary, in their seats; whether there is a place to arrange the classes for recitation, and accommodations for visitors, &c.
On entering the school, the committee will first ascertain all necessary particulars respecting the teacher, such as his certificate, gen. eral plan, &c. These will enable them to form a proper judgment of what takes place in the course of their subsequent inspection and inquiries.
The school register should be called for, and such particulars as to the number and names of the scholars, their age, parents, attendance and studies, should be gleaned, as will enable them to speak on the importance of regular and punctual attendance, to expose the evils of the contrary practice, and to commend before the whole school those who are among the most regular. An inspection of the register will inform the committee what children are not connected with the school, and a kind and timely call, a word with the parents or guardian, may save such children from ignorance, and the community from its consequences.
The committee should inquire into the number of classes, and the studies they pursue.
Such exercises should be called for as will exhibit the proficiency of the pupils, and the methods of instruction adopted by the teacher, and enable the committee to judge of the tact of the teacher in imparting information. The teacher, in justice to himself and his pupils, should be allowed to conduct some of the exercises himself, and in his usual manner, as the scholars, (if not used to being visited by strangers,) will be less timid when examined by him, and the committee will have a better opportunity to see his mode of instruction. But the committee should also ask
questions, and in some cases take the examination into their own hands.
It will be well to place in the hands of the more advanced scholars, written or printed questions, to be answered in writing, while the examination of other classes is going forward. And the same or similar questions should be asked in every school visited, and the answers will be to some extent an unexceptionable standard of comparison between the teachers and the schools.
The committee should be careful to notice the manner in which the pupils spell and read. In reading, especially, there is great carelessness in many of our schools. They should also observe the teacher's manners and mode of governing. If the school is not provided with proper maps, blackboards, &c., by proper remarks on their uses and importance, they may be the means of inducing the district to procure them.
Such inquiries should be made as will show how far the rules and regulations of the school committee are observed, as to teachers, books, the cleanliness and preservation of the school house, the manners of the pupils, &c.
Great care should be taken not to wound unnecessarily the feelings of teacher or pupils, and commendation should be bestowed wherever it is deserved.
Selecting Books. The schools have heretofore suffered much from the great variety used. It has rendered classification impossible, and whenever a scholar has changed his district or his school, a new set of books was to be purchased. Uniformity should be established in the schools of a town at least. And by proper management, by procuring some person in the town or county to act as agent, a great saving in expense to the parents can be effected. In regard to the selection, the committee are entitled to the advice of the Commissioner, and the benefit of his experience ; and it is expected that they in turn will co-operate with him in such measures as he may recommend or adopt to secure a uniformity of books in the State.
But no rule which a committee may adopt as to the books to be used, should be so framed or construed, as to prevent a teacher from using explanations or illustrations to be found in other books upon