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GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
MONROE C GUTMAN LIBRARY
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION, AND WELFARE
AUG 2 2 1956
A PLAN FOR TOWN SUPERINTENDENCY OF SCHOOLS.
BY W. N. HOLFORD, SUPERINTENDENT OF GRANT COUNTY.
Habits, whether good or bad, are very persistent things; and their force is exceedingly strong and of long duration. Habits are very difficult to overcome. To wholly rid one's self of their influence when once they have become a common practice, is almost impossible. Many persons who have formed bad habits in youth, and who, later in life, by great and constant effort, have refrained from indulging them for many years, have supposed that they had triumphed over them. But, so lasting and irresistible was their force, that in old age, these persons have been apparently unable to withstand it, and they have yielded and have indulged their bad habits to the most fearful extent.
And those who formed bad habits while young, but afterward reformed, and did not still later in life thus give way to the dictates of the evil habits of their youth, were compelled to keep up a constant and vigorous warfare with their baneful influences to the close of their lives; and many times during life their desire to yield to those habits was as strong as it ever is with us to eat our dinner when we are hungry, or to drink water when we are thirsty; but knowing the evil consequences to themselves and to others of yielding, they have resisted; and they, their families and all who were interested in them were far happier than if they had yielded.
Of course, both those who gave way, and those who triumphed were very unhappy while contending with these evil influences; but those who were overcome were far more miserable after they had vielded than before; and those who overcame those habits were far
happier afterward than while contending with them. Hence, had they while young acquired good habits whose influences would have been wholesome and would have tended to cause them to do right instead of wrong, they would have been far happier than in either of the other cases. This is true concerning every action or practice in whatever vocation of life; and as real happiness here and hereafter is what all do or should live for, neither parents, guardians, teachers nor legislators have any right to trifle away the child's opportunities for acquiring the best possible habits during either early or later childhood.
But there are also many instances of persons who have formed comparatively good habits in youth, yet later in life have been subjected to evil influences of associates and associations, which would so occupy their attention as to overcome or suspend the force of their good habits and cause them to do many evil things. Still, as in the case of persons who attempt to reform, their efforts must be constant or the persons will relapse into their former evil practices,--so with those who formerly had good habits, but who were led by the evil influences of their surroundings to do great wrongs, the attention of such must be unceasingly occupied or they will be very likely to return to their former habits of well doing. Consequently, the parents and friends of a young man or a young woman who has committed trespasses and misdemeanors or even crimes, may justly derive much consolation and a strong hope for the reformation of such from the fact that he or she “ was well trained and had good habits in childhood." Therefore, children should be led while young to form good habits of appearance, of performance and of thought; they should be led to cultivate good feelings and worthy purposes; for these things render their possessors happy; but by the lack of these and the possession of characteristics the opposite of them, people are made very miserable.
SOMETHING OF WIIAT TEACHERS SHOULD BE, AND OF WHAT PUPILS
SHOULD BE TAUGHT. Hence, to be really and truly successful or competent and proper trainers and developers of the young-morally, mentally and physically—teachers must be attertive to business, observing, intelligent, well informed and worthy; they must be energetic, persevering and efficacious; they must be careful, considerate and prudent; they must be civil and kind; they must be cultured and mannerly; they must be frugal and economical; they must respect and render prompt and cheerful obedience to the constituted authority; and they must be thinkers. For children ought to be taught in school, as well as at home, to be attentive and observing, to desire to be intelligent, well informed and worthy; but “Like begets like;" consequently, the heedless, the addle-headed, the uninformed and the unworthy cannot teach them these things. Pupils should be taught to be persevering, industrious and how to be prosperous; but the sluggish and indolent, the frivolous and the shiftless cannot teach them to be thus. The young should be taught to be careful, considerate and prudent; but the careless, the inconsiderate and the imprudent are not qualified to teach them such things. Boys and girls should be taught to be civil and kind, to be cultured and mannerly; but the uncivil and the unkind, the rude and the unmannerly are not competent to teach them to be so. All children should be taught to be punctual and to do things decently and in order; but the tardy, the indecent and the disorderly must fail in their attempts to teach them such practices. The youth should be taught to be economical in the use of both public and private property; but the thriftless and the wasteful can never accomplish anything in their attempts to teach them this. Our young folks should be taught to respect the constituted authority and to render prompt and cheerful obedience to those in authority over them; but the lawless and the wayward cannot teach them to conduct themselves in this manner. Every child should be taught to investigate, to compare, to consider and to judge; but no unthinking person can thus awaken the mind of another. “ Teachers must be what it is desired that their pupils shall become,” or else the desire is all in vain. Therefore, if possible, only those who have these qualifications, this ability-natural and acquired-should be employed to teach in our common public schools.
Little, far too little, of this natural and acquired ability is required of our teachers, especially on the part of parents and guardians. Yet, it is through our public common schools that the masses
are to be reached, to be trained and developed into good, worthy, progressive, prosperous, law-abiding, God-fearing and happy people, if at all. “ Hence the work done in them will do more to give character to this nation,” to develope and perpetuate it, “and to decide its destinies than any other one influence of the land.” Therefore, common school education including the qualifications, that is the natural and acquired ability of our teachers, constitutes one of the most important subjects that can occupy our attention; and the work of rendering common school education fully sufficient to meet in this particular the entire necessities of the public, and the qualifications of our teachers adequate to their responsibilities, is a cause worthy of our best efforts. And the plans to be adopted to produce this great, much needed and long de