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The True View.
LovE FOR THE WORK. — I should have placed this as the very first requisite for a successful teacher. One may saw wood, and do it well, and yet have no love for the work. The same may be true of many kinds of labor; but it is not true of teaching. A person cannot, in the highest, best, and broadest sense, become a successful teacher, unless he possesses a love for the business, and feels a true and lively interest in the welfare of those under his care. He may perform a certain daily routine of duties, but they will lack vigor and efficiency, and the results will not be what they should be. I would say to you, my friend, at the very outset, that, if you have no taste for the work before you, do not engage in it; it will prove anything but pleasant work. I have sometimes heard teachers say that they hated the very name of school; and I have always thought that such must prove hateful teachers. I know you too well to anticipate any such feelings on your part. I know you view the whole subject in a true light, and that you have a heart alive to the business in which you are to engage. You may, and doubtless you will, have days when school, and all its exercises, will appear burdensome ; and at times you may almost despond. Ill-health, impure atmosphere, or over-work, may so affect your nervous system as to cause you to be unfit for any work. But this will only be an exception to your general feeling; and whenever you do thus feel, study carefully to repress sadness, and still wear the genial countenance. If possible, never yield to feelings of despondency.
Enthusiasm. — Individuality.
A true and sincere love for your vocation will enkindle within you that spirit of earnest and welldirected enthusiasm which will tend to give point and success to your efforts. By enthusiasm I would not be misunderstood. I do not mean that reckless zeal which is not according to knowledge, nor that over-active feeling which leads to over-doing a work, and un-doing the workman; but by it I mean an earnest and devoted application to the accomplishment of a work, - the combined result of a just appreciation of its importance, and a determined will to perform it in the most prompt and efficient manner, — a zeal tempered by prudence and modified by knowledge. With such an enthusiasm you will not only be sure to succeed in your own efforts, but you will also awaken an interest and secure a cheerful co-operation on the part of your pupils and their parents; and without such interest and aid, you will fail to accomplish all that you may desire, and all that you ought to accomplish.
INDIVIDUALITY. — No two persons are precisely alike in their views or actions. There may be many points of close resemblance, but there will be shades of difference more or less striking. While you should ever be watchful to learn from others, you should never seek to attain results in precisely the same way that you have seen them secured by others. The first point with you should be to know fully and clearly what you wish to gain; and the second is to use all suitable appliances for the
accomplishment of the end in view, - only using them in your own way. You may receive hints and suggestions which you may safely and profitably incorporate into your own stock of knowledge, and modify by your own peculiar views. Have a way of your own, only be sure that it is a good way. Study to improve upon others, and be sure to improve upon yourself day by day. Some teachers are perfectly content to walk in a beaten track. For them it is sufficient to know that their teacher “ did or said so and so.” They are willing to follow in the old paths, without even admitting that better ones may be found, or old ones improved. They resemble the man who could not be induced to do anything differently from what he had seen his father do it before him. The father had uniformly been to the mill over a very hilly and circuitous road; simply, perhaps, because it was the only one open. After his death a new road was made, whereby half the distance was saved, and the hills were avoided. But the son could never be induced to travel the new road, and when urged for a reason, he said, “My father always went the old road, and I shall do the same, for I know it is the best.” This was an excess of regard for parental example; and even the old sire, if he could return to earth, would probably laugh at the son’s stupidity. But no less blind and stupid are some teachers. They tread in beaten tracks, without seeking for better ones, or without walking in them if they see
them. Be not, my friend, a stereotyped teacher.
Old methods may be greatly improved ; new and better ones may be devised. If you would make your school interesting, be constantly seeking for new modes for illustrating principles and interesting your pupils, and be sure that they bear the impress of your own mind and thoughts.
ACCOUNTABILITY. — Do not for a single day forget that you are but an agent of the Great Teacher, and that he will call you to give a strict account of your stewardship. Daily go to Him for the instruction you daily need. He can teach you how to teach ; he can aid you in all your efforts. Confide in him, and he will not disappoint you. You need much of his spirit to guide and sustain you; much
of his wisdom to assist you in your important work.
Let your whole life, and all your words and deeds, be strongly marked by a truly religious spirit, — and in every way do what you can to induce your pupils to feel that they are accountable to their Creator for all their deportment, and for the manner in which they attend to all their duties. By your own pure and Christian character, lure them to love and practise all that is “lovely and of good report,” —and in blessing them you will be doubly blessed.
I might proceed to name other traits and characteristics which should be cultivated by every good teacher, but it will not be necessary. I shall have occasion to allude to some of them in connection with the exercises of the school-room. You already
feel, I dare say, that I have set a very high mark for your attainment. But, my friend, is it too high 7 Your chosen work is one of the most important and ennobling ever intrusted to mortal, and it calls for high qualifications, for excellent and lovely traits, for hearts and intellects well disciplined and ready for every good effort. Unless you are what you would have your pupils become, you can hardly hope to make them what you ought to be, but are not. In your daily walk and conversation you must ever exemplify the correctness and the value of the views and principles you would inculcate in the hearts of your pupils. Strive, therefore, to be unto them as a “living epistle,” plain and full of instruction. I have somewhere read that Napoleon, on his departure for Belgium, thought it prudent to guard with extra care against the dangers which threatened, having all Europe leagued against him. He therefore sent for a skilful and accomplished workman, between whom and himself the following conversation was held. Napoleon. “Do you consider yourself competent to make a coat of mail of such texture and strength that no weapon whatever can penetrate it 7” Workman. “I think I am.” Napoleon. “I wish you to make one with as little delay as possible, and for the same you shall receive eighteen thousand francs.” Workman. “The article shall be ready in the shortest possible time, -and the compensation you