ars, who don't appreciate kind treatment, or if they do, will repay it with insolence and disobe lience. With the parents ready and anxious to hear every minute particular of every little transaction that can be construed against the teacher. Get these things together and you have the Teacher's Pandemoniuin. New London.


For the Journal of Education,





[ocr errors]

Maple Grove, Dec. 1st, 1857. Messrs. Editors. After the ordinary opening exercises, Mr. Broadl.ead, according to previous arrangement, continued his discourse upon our system of superintendency, as follows:

Mr. President.-- At a former meeting, we presented several prominent and acknowledged faults in our present school system, and proposed as a remedy a system of county superintendency. These objections we will consider in their order as presei ted.

1-t. Perhaps that which stands most in the way of success is the want of competent and thorough examination to test the qualifications of teachers, and judge in regard to the comparative merits of different schools and systems of instruction.

But it is asked, What will be gained by the proposed system, and “who would insure us against men too lazy to teach, third rate lawyers, hungry politicians," and in general against persons unfit for the office, when any thing like a paying salary is attached to it. Now, that any office under such circnmstances should ever be found perfectly free from such characters is not a supposable case, but that which is now the rule may, under a proper and well guarded system, become the exception. Suppose it to be advertised in London, that a ship-master is wanted to take charge of the Great Eastern, that such officer must have the general supervision), wait upon company, smoke Spanish cigars in her principal saloon, and receive $5000 a year while the ship herself is to lie safely moored in some lirbor. Under such circumstances, what would be the general character of the applicants and the probable qualifications of the successful candidate we may easily conceive. But on the contrary, let it be adrertised that she is to go out upon the broad waters, to face every danger of every sea, to battle with the hurricane of the torrid zone, and Ny among the rocks and ice-bergs of the stoi my north, and that a ship.naster is wanted who is responsible and qualified to take immedinte charge in every emergency, no man would have the audacity to apply for the position who had not had many years experience mid the howling tempests of the sea, among the rattling ropes of a bounding ship, and jariing machinery of an ocean steamer.

[ocr errors]

Again, let any legislative body or constitution create the office of State superintendent of schools, attaching to it common honors and a reasonable salary, and give to it indefinite duties, as the disbursement of schoolmoneys, a general over-sight of schools, the visiting of different parts of a State to give general lectures, &c.; and then permit the officer either to perform these duties himself, or send at pleasure, in these days of political strise and office-seeking, it would be a matter of mere chance if any well qualified person could obtain the position. But if, at first, extensive experience in promoting education, and other necessary qualifications were positively required; and the laborious and important duties properly belonging to the office were made definite, and required at the hands of the officer, we should see a very different state of things.

Now let this principle be applied to the office of county superintendent; let the law creating such office demand on the part of the officer experience and success as an educator, and give to the office its appropriate and important duties, and also require them at the hand of the officer, as before said, what is now the rule would become the exception.

20. Another fault, and one most disastrous to our schools, is the almost Decessary neglect of duty on the part of town superintendents. Indeed many of them cannot afford to neglect their own business for so small & compensation, and consequently, being irregular in the labors of the office, they soon lose all interest, and the schools are left solely in the hands of teachers. The State superintendent of Pennsylvania says, A county superintendent should devote his time and energy solely to the duties of the office. Let this be the case in the proposed system, and the objection referred to would be principally removed.

3d. Town superintendents are elected yearly, and therefore have not time to establish and carry out any system of improvement. To obviate this the county superintendent should, with good behavior and success, hold his office at least three years. In some of our States the superintendent is elected for eight years.

4th. Town superintendents are elected by the people, and often not on the ground of merit, but on account of political preferences, and thus their asefulness is destroyed. In the case of a county superintendent, this difficulty may to a great extent be avoided, by their being hired, appointed, or otherwise chosen by the county board of supervisors, or by any other competent board thus representing the people. Teachers are now hired on the same principle, and are rarely selected on account of their political preferences.

5th. There is no concert of action among our town superintendents; one adopts one system, another another system, and a third none at all; one adopts one standard of qualification for teachers, another another standard, while a third adopts none at all, and grants certificates even without any examination. “This want of concerted action is sufficient of itself to preclude all hope of a uniform improvement in our schools." The author of the Ohio School Library, speaking of Maryland, says: “There is no


uniform system of public schools, each county being left at liberty to adopt its own system; in consequence of which there is the most gross inequality of school privileges.” If we but substitute the word town for county, we may very properly adopt this remark in reference to our own State. To secure a desirable co-operation of superintendents, much may be done by oonstituting each county superintendent a member of a State Board of Education, requiring such board to hold annual sessions of sufficient duration to ascertain the condition and progress of schools in the various parts of the State, to establish a regular system of graded certificates, and a uniform system of examination of teachers; to adopt a uniform system of reports, and a regular programme for school visiting and teacher's meetings; and, as far as possible, to adopt a uniform and most approved method of giving normal instruction at teachers' institutes, to be held somi-annually in the several counties of the State.

Other objections were mentioned, but we have not space to consider them at the present time.

Mr. Stone asked, “Why our schools and school-system have so good s reputation abroad if they are really so defective ?”

Mr. Broadhead continued : “Mr. President--Wisconsin is a favored State; she has a healthful and vigorous climate, her soil is fertile, her surface is beautifully interspersed with lakes, rivers, woodlands and prairies; her bosom is filled with rich minerals; her brow is washed by the cool waters of Lake Superior; in her right hand she holds the river of rivers, through which she gathers wealth from the prairies and mountains of the west, and from the cities of the south; her left she holds the most beautiful of the great lakes, through which she gathers rich stores from the oast. All these natural advantages have conspired to invite hither the onergetic and far seeing from almost every nation on the globe. The various colleges and other institutions of learning in the east and west, have sent hither persevering, philanthropic, educational men, by whose indivi. dual exertions some of our schools have been raised to the highest degree of excellence. But, sir, although three or four such schools are sufficient to give us note abroad, they are not sufficient to educate the children of the State. To show that these superior school privileges in some of our cities and villages are not the offspring of our general system but of individual effort, we need only refer to the fact that in nearly all these places the schools are operating under special acts. This is working mischief in our State, and soon we shall have as many school systems as we have cities and villages.

We are sorry to stop as it wero in tho middle of the subject, but time forbids us to proceed. The convention adjourned to meet at the call of the president.



Tue spring of courage and devotion is a firm faith in Immortality. The heroic, trusting soul is brave, because Immortal; and patient also, because of the oternities. The Sisters.


KNOWING that you gladly receive accounts of the Public Schools throughout the State, I propose giving you a short sketch of the one under iny charge-the difficulties under which we labor--the progress we havo made—and the absolute necessity which exists here of greater school privileges than we are at present favored with.

There are in the district 239 persons between the ages of four and twenty. Of this number, 145 have attended school during the year—the greatest number on the list at any one time was 108. As I had no assistant, you may readily form some idea of what the school must have been.

The school-house, though commodious, was very poorly heated during the winter, and for days we shivered with the cold. An orifice through the wall gives egress to the stove pipe, and being twice too large, gives ingress also to any quantity of pure air; so that in one respect our schoolroom is a model one—it is very well ventilated indeed.

During the first quarter, the outside door was the only door ; but at its close, in January, 1857, a hall was added which improved the convenienco and warmth of the room very much. I fear you will not be very favorably impressed with the picture I have drawn of our school-room ; but let mo add that we are to have a new store this winter, which will, I trust, with the improvements we intend making, render it quite comfortable.

And now to the scholars. They are very irregular in their attendance, and very tardy when they do attend. There are bright exceptions of course -but this is the rule. The fact is the people are very indifferent in regard to the welfare of their children, and consequently pay but little attention to the condition of the schools. I know it would be much pleasanter to report the opposite, but I report the truth. There are individual instances in which this rule does not hold good; but I am speaking of the majority of the people. I am fully aware that very many consider the teacher wholly at fault, where such apathy in regard to the public schools exist, and I am very willing to acknowledge, that with proper exertions, I might have accomplished more towards arousing the minds of the people in regard to the subject; and yet I must say, in self defence, that I have written, exhorted, remonstrated--to some purpose, it is true-but not with such success as I had wished for.

And here permit me to say, that notwithstanding the exertions made by the people of Wisconsin to furnish a liberal education to the masses, thero are many, far too many, growing up in ignorance within her borders. In the “mining region," especially, too little exertion is made, and too little success achieved. There are many excellent teachers here, many who are well prepared to do battle in the holy cause; but it is nevertheless a fact, that they are seriously crippled in their exertions by the non co-operation

[ocr errors]

of the community at large. This must not be---these obstacles must be


If we would live, thrive and flourish, a prosperous, happy people; if we wish that the youth of both sexes should grow up prepared to enter upon the active and arduous duties of life; if we desire that they should catch the true spirit of the age, and become ornaments to society, and honored citizens of the Republic, --we must increase the means by which they may acquire a proper education, and see that those means are well applied. Yours,

W. C. A. LINDEN, Wis., Nov. 1857.

From the Pennsylvania School Journal.


Tre teacher should be thoroughly educated, and in no part more particularly and studiously so, than in the first principles, the rudiments of that which he assumes to teach. What! attempt to teach others in that wherein he liimself is uninstructed ? Most absurd! An error here, and it is a common one, can never be sufficiently deplored, for the result is often never corrected. He should have a thorough acquaintance with every branch of learning required,--not only with the arbitrary rules laid down in books (these any parrot may be taught to con over) but with the principles they express, and be able by familiarity with them, to convey them in language and by illustrations of his own, to the mind's eye of those he teaches. A teaches being able to do this, will accomplish results which will surprise the mere automaton, book instructor.

While he instructs in these, he must be careful never to violate them himself in the presence of his pupils, but be in the habit of correctly ex. pressing thought. A teacher using ungrammatical expressions, should be as much a lu&us naturae at least, as a "white black bird."

He should have a thorough knowledge of character. This is difficult, but it should be acquired. Herein lies a secret spring of success in school government. An ilustration of this position may be found in the fact, that often the character of a child seems to be totally changed by a change of teachers. No one abitrary mode of government can be adapted to differ. ent natures. He must study the character and disposition of his different pupils, as he would the different branches he teaches, and must with judgment and care, apply that knowledge to the proper government of his school. The will of the pupil should be made, promptly and implicitly, to yield to the will of the instructor; but the means by which this is to be accomplished, may in different cases, necessarily be widely different. In one case, the judgment may have to be convinced ; in another, the heart is

« ForrigeFortsett »