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pupil's progress is made without the direct assistance of the teacher. But in the Primary Schools, the teacher is herself the text-book, the living oracle; and nearly all the impressions received by the pupil are a direct reflection from her own mind and heart.
But a teacher may possess every desirable mental and moral endowment, and yet, if a position in a Primary School is regarded as secondary in importance, and a situation in a higher department is continually before the mind as an object of ambition and desire, it is vain to expect the same degree of success that would be realized if no such distinction existed.
Since the duties of Primary teachers are really more arduous and responsible than those of teachers in the higher grades, and since most teachers would prefer situations in the higher grades, even if the compensation was the same as that of the Primary teachers, it would be difficult to find a reason, except in the power of custom, for paying the lowest salary to teachers of the Primary classes. In St. Louis, Chicago, and several other cities, the salaries are alike in the Grammar and Primary grades. By applying the same scale of salaries to both departments, the two positions are made equally honorable, and School Directors are enabled to secure for
sition, the temper, and the demeanor of the teacher should be narrowly scrutinized before committing to her guidance the intellectual and moral instruction of the elementary classes in our public schools.”—S S. Randall, Superintendent of Schools, New York.
Special Training of Teachers. the pupils of each grade the teachers best qualified to instruct them.*
It is to be regretted that so few Primary teachers receive any special training before entering upon the peculiar duties of their office. They are gener ally well educated, but their education has been conducted without any particular reference to the positions they are called to occupy. It is seldom that an examination of teachers occurs in which a majority of the applicants are not found to be radically deficient in some of the elementary principles of Primary instruction. Examples are constantly
. presented in which a candidate who is requested to give the sounds of the letters as they occur in some common word, replies, with the utmost composure,
* “ Those active sympathies, winning ways, intuitive perceptions, womanly grace and delicacy, which captivate the hearts of all children, united with a well-balanced, well-cultivated mind, and a sincere desire to make children happy, are indispensable to the success of the Primary teacher. To secure these advantages, teachers must be selected with special reference to the labor to be done; and instead of testing the fitness of teachers for higher grades in the Primary Schools, it is respectfully submitted that it would be wisest to begin and work in the other direction. And let the scale of wages be also inverted, to correspond with the inverted order of rank. Let the best wages be paid to the most successful Primary teacher. Tradition and reverence for usage hang heavily upon all school management and all modes of instruction, but nowhere are these more conspicuous or more oppressive, than in the common opinion that anybody is competent to teach the little child.”—M. F. Cowdery, Superintendent of Schools, Sandusky, Ohio.
“It requires a nicer tact, more instinctive talent, to manage successfully a Primary School, than one of a higher grade."-Rhode Island State Commissioner's Report.
Primary Schools Improving.
that she has never attended to the sounds of the letters. Many applicants seem wholly unconscious that there is any necessary connection between their ‘amiliarity with the rudiments of learning and their itness to teach a Primary School.
But while the Primary Schools are still suffering greatly from the evils which I have here pointed out, it is gratifying to know that the number of wellqualified Primary teachers is constantly increasing. The attention of educators has been specially turned to this subject, and a large number of model Primary teachers are now found in every section of the country; and among those that entered upon their labors as teachers with inadequate preparation, there are many who have made the most earnest efforts to improve their qualifications for the positions which they occupy. In no department of educational labor has improvement been more manifest during the last ten years, than in the instruction and discipline of Primary Schools
The system of discipline adopted in schools should ever be guarded with special care. The constant aim of the teacher should be not merely to secure the best discipline, but to secure it by the best
That good order and a ready compliance with the directions and wishes of the teacher are essential to the success of every school, is a point on which all are agreed; but different teachers adopt widely different measures to attain this end. One labors chiefly to secure the confidence and kind regard of his pupils, and to satisfy them that all his requirements are dictated by a sincere and ardent desire to advance their best interests. Another appeals mainly to the necessity and justice of connecting suffering with wrong-doing, and follows every offence with some form of punishment. He may even succeed in satisfying both his pupils and their parents that the steps he is taking are necessary to the order and improvement of his school.
One commences his efforts before the tendencies to misconduct have ripened into action, and avoids the necessity for punishment except in extraordinary cases; while the other delays till his rules are violated, and is then compelled either to punish the offender
or abandon his rules, and with them all hope of subordination and improvement.
If, now, we reason from cases like these, that a necessity for punishment implies incapacity on the part of the teacher to govern, we shall do great injustice to many of the most worthy and successful teachers in our schools. Cases will sometimes arise in which the best teacher would find it necessary to resort to the infliction of punishment for the misconduct of his pupils. Instances not unfrequently occur in which no other course will bring a wayward scholar to reflect long enough to afford an opportunity for higher and better influences to gain a lodgment in his mind.
If, then, on the one hand, we rest satisfied that a teacher has done his whole duty when we find that his punishments, though frequent and severe, are not disproportionate to the offences committed, we are in danger of giving sanction to punishments which, under the management of a more skillful teacher, would have been wholly unnecessary. And, on the other hand, if every punishment inflicted by a teacher is to be a means of rendering his name odious; if he is not to be sustained by the sympathy and approval of school directors and parents, the right arm of his authority is paralyzed. This very lack of sustaining influence will be the means of increasing greatly the necessity for punishment, which might be avoided if the right to inflict it was never called in question.
The ability to manage a school with the least pos