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It is not well to read all the pieces of any selection in
Seldom do we find a selection wholly faultless. Some pieces are not fit to be read at all; or rather, it may be, are wholly unfit for school-reading. Choose such pieces as are plain, easily understood; such as the pupils will be interested in, and such as are calculated to exercise the voice in its various intonations and inflections. Some pieces not only admit, but they require, to be read several times. I have already said, begin with the simplest narrative, then pass to conversational pieces and dialogue, and finally to the most impassioned strains of poetry and prose.
prose. There is quite too strong a desire in our schools to get children to reading in the loftier and more difficult kinds of composition. I would keep them long in simple prose, and especially in conversational pieces and dialogue. For this kind of reading, the Mt. Vernon Reader furnishes very good pieces; as do also many other selections. Very good examples may be found in the Scriptures; as in the fourth, eighth, and ninth chapters of St. John; though I do not approve of making the Bible a class-book in school for teaching reading
Every reader, before he begins, should understand the character of the piece he is going to read. He must catch, he must feel its spirit. Much depends on this. There can be po good reading without it. They must have a premonition, at least, of the drift of the piece; whether it is argumentative or impassioned, grave or humorous, plaintive or lively, so as to bring their nervous system into harmony therewith, and be able to strike at once the key note. For want of this many a good piece has been utterly despoiled of its impressiveness in
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
In the present lecture I propose to consider some of the special duties, the right performance of which would entitle a teacher to the honor of fidelity. Our duties result from our relations. By considering therefore the relations which every teacher sustains to his pupils, to himself, to the fraternity of teachers, and to the community at large, we shall, I think, readily embrace or comprehend the whole subject.
I. His duties to his pupils. It has very justly been said that a teacher stands in loco parentis,-in the stead, or place of a parent. He ought, therefore, in all his ar
rangements, to aim at securing their highest possible physical, intellectual, moral and religious well-being.
1. Their physical education. By this I mean securing the health and proper education of the body, as such, in contradistinction from the intellect and the affections. This object he will endeavor to accomplish both by his general arrangements and by specific instruction.
Every teacher knows that however attentive and welldisposed his trustees, committee, visitors, or patrons may be,—the proper ventilation, temperature, and cleanliness of his school-rooms, and of the grounds pertaining, must depend almost entirely upon himself. They will furnish
but he must apply them, or cause them to be applied. It is no apology therefore to say that his committee are negligent, or that his scholars are careless, and will do thus, or so; he must be the presiding genius in this department, nor will he find it difficult, by judicious, persevering effort, to accomplish all his wishes.
In effecting these results, as in all others, he should avail himself of the aid of his pupils. In every school there are some who naturally love order, neatness, and propriety. Let him make a selection from these pupils, and request one, who sits near, to take charge of a door; others of different windows; and others, again, of such other posts as the wants of his school and his system of government may require. These assistants should be changed occasionally, till all have acquired habits of order, neatness and propriety, that shall influence them through life. And let not the formation of these habits be considered a matter of slight importance; for, “happy is the man whose habits are his friends."
The order of a school, as well as the health of the
pupils, will be greatly influenced by the manner in which the scholars are seated, and by the regularity and frequency of the recesses. Every school-room should be furnished with a thermometer and clock, by which the temperature of the rooms and the length of all the exercises, should be regulated. In many of our best schools, no single recitation continues more than thirty minutes, and a recess, varying froin two to five minutes, occurs every hour, during which all the pupils are required to change their positions. If this single rule were adopted in all our schools, and due attention were paid to the proper manner of sitting, standing, exercising, &c., we should hear less of the curvature of the spine, and of the thousand other ills to which flesh is heir.
By the proper education of the body, I would be understood to mean something of the old training to which the Greeks and Romans were subjected. In the present state of public opinion, a teacher would, by many, be considered far out of his proper sphere if he were to give much direct instruction upon such matters; and yet, who does not know that it is of the highest importance to the scholar, rightly to understand the laws, upon the due observance of which his health and life depend;—and to have the full and ready use of his eyes and ears,-of his hands and feet,--and of all his bodily organs and senses? And who does not also know, that without some degree of education, discipline, instruction, and practice, in these matters, such a result is seldom or never attained?
Let the teacher, therefore, who would be faithful, manifest a friendly interest in the different exercises and amusements of his pupils, --commending such as serve to