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PERHAPS the very first question that the honest indıvidual will ask himself, as he proposes to assume the teacher's office, or to enter upon a preparation for it, will be—“What manner of spirit am I of?” No question can be more important. I would by no means undervalue that degree of natural talent—of mental power, which all justly consider so desirable in the candidate for the teacher's office. But the true spirit of the teacher,-a spirit that seeks not alone pecuniary emolument, but desires to be in the highest degree useful to those who are to be taught; a spirit that elevates above every thing else the nature and capabilities of the human soul, and that trembles under the responsibility of attempting to be its educator; a spirit that looks upon gold as the contemptible dross of earth, when compared with that imperishable gem which is to be polished and brought out into heaven's light to shine forever; a spirit that scorns all the rewards of
True spirit.-- Motives often wrong.
earth, and seeks that highest of all rewards, an approving conscience and an approving God; a spirit that earnestly inquires what is right, and that dreads to do what is wrong; a spirit that can recognise and reverence the handiwork of God in every child, and that burns with the desire to be instrumental in training it to the highest attainment of which it is capable, —such a spirit is the first thing to be sought by the teacher, and without it the highest talent cannot make him truly excellent in his profession.
The candidate for the office of the teacher should look well to his motives. It is easy to enter upon
the duties of the teacher without preparation; it is easy to do it without that lofty purpose which an enlightened conscience would ever demand ; but it is not so easy to undo the mischief which a single mistake may produce in the mind of the child, at that tender period when mistakes are most likely to be made.
Too many teachers are found in our schools without the spirit for their work which is here insisted on. They not only have not given attention to any preparation for their work, but resort to it from motives of personal convenience, and in many instances from a consciousness of being unfit for every thing else! In other professions this is not so. The lawyer is not admitted to the bar till he has pursued a course of thorough preparation, and even then but warily employed. The physician goes through his course of reading and his course of lectures, and often almost through a course of starvation in the country village where he first puts
up his sign, before he is called in to heal the maladies of the body. It is long before he can inspire confidence enough in the people to be intrusted with their most difficult cases of ailing, and very likely the noon of life is passed before he can consider himself established. But it is not so with the teacher. He gains access to the sanctuary of mind without any difficulty, and the most tender interests for both worlds are intrusted to his guidance, even when he makes pretension to ro higher motive than that of filling up a few months of time not otherwise appropriated, and to no qualifications but those attained by accident. A late writer in the Journal of Education hardly overstates this matter :-“Every stripling who has passed four years within the walls of a college ; every dissatisfied clerk, who has not ability enough to manage the trifling concerns of a common retail shop; every young farmer who obtains in the winter a short vacation from the toils of summer,-in short, every young person who is conscious of his imbecility in other business, esteems himself fully competent to train the ignorance and weakness of infancy into all the virtue and power
and wisdom of maturer years,—to form a creature, the frailest and feeblest that heaven has made, into the intelligent and fearless sovereign of the whole animated creation, the interpreter and adorer and almost the representative of Divinity !"
Many there are who enter upon the high employment of teaching a common school as a secondary object. Perhaps they are students themselves in some