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A plan.-Forethought.-An eventful moment.
Every teacher before opening a school should have some general plan in his mind, of what he intends to accomplish. In every enterprise there is great advantage to be derived from forethought, -and perhaps nowhere is the advantage greater than in the business of teaching. The day of opening a school is an eventful day to the young teacher. A thousand things crowd upon him at the same time, and each demands a prompt and judicious action on his part. The children to the number of half a hundred all turn their inquiring eyes to him for occupation and direction. They have come full of interest in the prospects of the new school, ready to engage cheerfully in whatever plans the teacher may have to propose ; and, I was about to say, just as ready to arrange and carry into effect their own plans of disorder and misrule, if they, unhappily for him and for themselves, find he has no system to introduce.
What a critical-what an eventful moment is this first day of the term to all concerned! The teacher's success and usefulness,-nay, his reputation as an efficient instructor,—now “hang upon the decision of an hour.” An hour, too, may almost foretell whether
Angelic solicitude.- Low qualifications.
he precious season of childhood and youth now before these immortals, is to be a season of profit and healthful.culture under a judicious hand, or a season of wasted—perhaps worse than wasted-existence, under the imbecility or misguidance of one who “knows not what he does or what he deals with."
If angels ever visit our earth and hover unseen around the gatherings of mortals to survey their actions and contemplate their destiny as affected by human instrumentality, it seems to me there can be no spectacle so calculated to awaken their interest and enkindle their sympathy as when they see the young gathering together from their scattered homes in some rural district, to receive an impress, for weal or wo, from the hand of him who has undertaken to guide them. And, supposing them to have the power to appreciate to the full extent the consequences of human agency, how must they be touched with emotions of joy and gratitude, or shudder with those of horror and dread, as they witness the alternations of wisdom and folly, seriousness and indifference, sincerity and duplicity, purity and defilement, exhibited by him who has assumed to be at once the director and exemplar in the formation of human character, at such an important period. How deplorable is the thought that all the fond hopes of the parents, all the worthy aspirings of the children, and all the thrilling interests of higher beings, are so often to be answered by qualifications so scanty, and by a spirit so indifferent in the teacher of the
young. How sad the thought that up to this very moment so
The first day.-A suggestion.-Its advantages.
pregnant with consequences to all concerned, there has been too often so little of preparation for the responsibility.
I fain would impress the young teacher with the importance of having a plan for even the first day of the school. It will raise him surprisingly in the estimation of the pupils and also of the parents, if he can make an expeditious and efficient beginning of the school. While the dull teacher is slowly devising the plans he will be and by present for the employment and improvement of his school, the children taking advantage of their own exemption from labor, very promptly introduce their own plans for amusing themselves or for annoying him ;-whereas if he could but have his own plans already made, and could promptly and efficiently carry them into execution, he would forestall their mischievous designs, and make co-operators out of his opposers.
In order to be sure of a successful commencement, I would recommend that the teacher should go into the district a few days before the school is to begin. By careful inquiry of the trustees or the school committee, he can ascertain what is the character of the district and the wants of the school. This will afford him considerable aid. But he should do more than this. He would do well to call on several of the families of the district whose children are to become members of his school. This he can do without any ceremony, simply saying to them that, as he has been appointed their teacher, he is desirous as far as he may, to ascertain
Important inquiries.-Caution against meanness.
their wants, in order to be as prompt as possible in the organization of his school. He will of course see the children themselves. From them he can learn what was the organization of the school under his predecessor; how many studied geography, how many arithmetic, grammar, &c.; and he can also learn whether the former organization was satisfactory to the district
The modes of government, and the methods of interesting the pupils practised by the former teacher, would be likely to be detailed to him ; and from the manner of both parents and children, he.could judge whether similar methods would still be desirable in the district. By calling on several of the largest families in this way, he would learn beforehand very accurately the state of the school and the state of the district.
I will take this occasion to insist that the teacher, in these visits, should heartily discourage any forwardness, so common among children, to disparage a former teacher. It should be his sole object to gain useful information. He should give no signs of pleasure in listening to any unfavorable statements as to his predecessor; and I may add that during the progress of the school, he should ever frown upon any attempt on the part of the pupils to make comparisons derogatory to a former teacher. This is a practice altogether too prevalent in our schools; and I am sorry to say there are still too many teachers who are mean enough to countenance it. Such a course is unfair, because the absent party may be grossly misrepresented; it is
Making personal friends.- A common error.-Mr. Abbot.
dangerous, because it tends to cultivate a spirit of detraction in the young; and it is mean, because the party is absent and has no opportunity of defending himself.
Another important advantage of the visits proposed would be, that he would make the acquaintance of many of the children beforehand, and very likely, too, if he should go in the right spirit and with agreeable manners, he would make a favorable impression upon them, and thus he would have personal friends on his side to begin with. The parents too would see that he took an interest in his employment; that he had come among them in the spirit of his vocation—in the spirit of earnestness, and they would become interested in his success,-a point of no small importance. I might here caution the teacher against a very com
He should not confine his visits to the more wealthy and influential families. The poor and the humble should receive his attentions as soon as the rich. From the latter class very likely a large portion of his school will come; and it is wrong in principle as well as policy to neglect those who have not been as successful as others in the one item of accumulating property.
On the day of opening the school he should be early at the school-house. Mr. Abbot, in his Teacher, has some valuable suggestions on this point. “It is desirable,” he says, “that the young teacher should meet his scholars at first in an unofficial capacity. For this purpose, he should repair to the schoolroom, on the first