« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
How to discuss this subject.-Experience of very young men.
next to the habit of scolding incessantly, avoid the habit of resorting to the rod on every slight occasion. When that instrument is not demanded for some special exigency, some great occasion and some high purpose allow it to slumber in a private corner of your desk. not again to be called into activity till some moral con vulsion shall disturb its quiet repose.
I have a single caution to give in regard to the dis cussion of this subject, which in all our educational gatherings occupies so much time and talent.' It is this :-Do not adopt a general principle from too few inductions. There is an old proverb that declares,
one swallow does not make a summer.” Young teachers are very prone to rely on the experience of a single term. If they have kept one term without corporal punishment, they are very likely to instruct their seniors with their experience; and if they have happened to be so situated as to be compelled to save themselves by the rod, why then too their experience forever settles the question. It requires the experience of more than one, or two, or three schools, to enable a man to speak dogmatically on this subject; and I always smile when I hear men, and sometimes very young men, who have never kept school in their lives, perhaps, or at most but a single term, speaking as with the voice of authority Experience is indeed one of our safest guides in this as in every other matter; but they who tell their expe rience should at least wait till they have that which is worthy to be told.
There is another point. It is quite fashionable at the
Resolutions -A false position.-French resolution.
present day, whenever this subject is to be discussed, to propose the matter in the form of a resolution; as, “Resolved, that no person is fit to be employed as a teacher, who cannot govern his scholars by holier means than bodily chastisement;" or, “Resolved, that no limit should be set to the teacher's right to use the 'rod of correction, and that they who denounce the teachers for resorting to it are unworthy of our confidence in matters of education." Now whoever presents the question in this form, assumes that he has drawn a line through the very core of the truth; and he undertakes to censure all those who are unwilling to square their opinions by the line thus drawn. In the discussion a man must take one side or the other of the question as it is proposed, and consequently he may take a false position. The better way would be to present the whole subject as matter of free remark, and thus leave every one to present his own views honestly as they lie in his own mind. In this way no one is pledged to this or that party, but is left unprejudiced to discover and embrace the truth wherever it is found.
It should moreover be remembered, that resolving by the vote of a meeting in order to force public opinion, can never affect the truth. A few impious, heavendaring men in France, at one of their revels, once resolved, THERE IS NO God!"---but did this blasphemous breath efface the impress of Deity on all this fair creation of his power? And when they rose from their vile debauch and sought with tottering step to leave the scene of madness and to court the dim forgetfulness of
A more excellent way.-Higher motives first.
sleep, --rolled not the shining orbs in heaven's high arch above them as much in duty to His will, as when they sang together to usher in creation's morning ? So it will ever be. Men may declare, and resolve as they please; but truth is eternal and unchangeable; and they are the wisest men who modestly seek to find her as she is, and not as their perverted imaginations would presume to paint her.
Yet after all, in the government of schools, there is a more excellent way. There are usually easier avenues to the heart, than that which is found through the integuments of the body. Happy is that teacher who is so skillful as to find them; and gladly would I welcome the day when the number of such skillful and devoted teachers should render any further defence of the rod superfluous. Although I believe that day has not yet arrived, still, in the mean time, I most earnestly urge all teachers to strive to reach the higher motives and the finer feelings of the young, and to rely mainly for success, not upon appeals to fear and force, but upon the power of conscience and the law of reciprocal affection.
As I have placed the higher motives and the more desirable means first in order in these remarks on government, so I would always have them first, and perseveringly employed by the teacher; and if by ear. nestness in his work, by unfeigned love for the young, by diligence in the study of their natures, and the adaptation of means to ends which true benevolence is sure
Minimum the maximum !
to suggest, he can govern successfully without corporal punishment-as in a large proportion of cases I believe it can be done—none will rejoice more than I at such a desirable result;—and I most cordially subscribe to the principle so happily stated by another, that in the government of schools, if thorough obedience be but secured and order maintained, other things being equal,
THE MINIMUM OF PUNISHMENT IS THE MAXIMUM OF
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