« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Limitations. The best thing.–Never in anger.
called forth the discussion referred to, and awakened the general opposition to its use. I am free to admit there has been an egregious abuse in this matter, and that to this day it is unabated in many of our schools. . I admit, 100, that abuse very naturally accompanies the use of the rod, and that very great caution is necessary in those who resort to it, lest they pervert it. I feel called upon therefore before leaving this subject to throw out for the consideration of the young Teacher particularly, a few hints to regulate the infliction of chastisement, under the head of
SECTION V.-LIMITATIONS AND SUGGESTIONS
1. The teacher should be thoroughly convinced that the rod is the best thing for the specific case, be fore he determines to use it. Nor should he hastily or capriciously come to this conviction. He should carefully and patiently try other means first. He should study the disposition of the offender and learn the tendencies of his mind ; and only after careful deliberation, should he suffer himself to decide to use this mode of punishment. In order that the punishment should be salutary, the scholar should plainly see that the teacher resorts to it from deep principle, from the full belief that under all the circumstances it is the best thing that can be done.
2. The teacher should never be under the excitement of angry passion when inflicting the punishment. This is of the utmost importance. Most of the abures
The young Shaker.-Public opinion.-In presence of the school.
before spoken of, grow out of a violation of this fundamental rule. A teacher should never strike for punishment till he is perfectly self-possessed, and entirely free from the bitterness which perhaps tinctured his mind when he discovered the offense. It was a wise remark of a young Shaker teacher, that “ teacher should strike a child till he could hold his arm." So long as the child discovers that the teacher is under the influence of passion, and that his lip trembles with pent-up rage, and his blood flows into his face as if driven by inward fires of wrath, he looks upon him, not as his friend seeking his welfare, but as his enemy indulging in persecution. This will call forth the evil passions of the child, and while he bears the pain, he feels no real penitence; and very likely in the midst of his suffering he resolves to go and do the same again, out of mere spite.
It is moreover of great consequence in the infliction of a punishment, that the teacher should be fully sustained by the public opinion of the school. He can never expect this when he loses his self-control. If the pupils see that he is angry, they almost instinctively sympathize with the weaker party, and they associate the idea of injustice with the action of the stronger. A punishment can scarcely be of any good tendency, inflicted under such circumstances.
3. Corporal punishment, as a general rule, should be inflicted in presence of the school. I have before advised that reproof should be given in private, and assigned reasons for it, which were perhaps
Reasons for it.-Punishment delayed.
satisfactory to the reader. But in case of corporal pun ishment, the offense is of a more public and probably of a more serious nature. If inflicted in private, it will still be known to the school, and therefore the reputation of the scholar is not saved. If inflicted in the proper spirit by the teacher and for proper cause, it always produces a salutary effect upon the school. But a still stronger reason for making the infliction public is, that it puts it beyond the power of the pupil to misrepresent the teacher, as he is strongly tempted to do if he is alone. He may misstate the degree of severity, and misrepresent the manner of the teacher; and, without witnesses, the teacher is at the mercy of his reports. Sometimes he may ridicule the punishment to his comrades, and lead them to believe that a private infliction is but a small matter; again, he may exaggerate it to his parents, and charge the teacher most unjustly with unprincipled cruelty. Under these circumstances, I am of the opinion that the safest and most effectual way, is to do this work in presence of the school. An honest teacher needs not fear the light of day; and if he has the right spirit, he needs not fear the effect upon his other pupils. It is only the violent, angry punishment that needs to be concealed from the general eye, and that we have condemned as improper at any rate.
4. Punishment may sometimes be delayed; and always delayed till all anger has subsided in the teacher. It is often best for all concerned to defer an infliction for a day or niore. This gives the teacher an opportu
Reason for delay.-The instrument.-Punishment effectual.
nity in his cooler moments to determine more justly the degree of severity to be used. It will also give the culprit time to reflect upon the nature of his offense and the degree of punishment he deserves. I may say that it is generally wise for the teacher after promising a punishment to take some time to consider what it shall be, whether a corporal infliction or some milder treatment. If after due and careful reflection he comes conscientiously to the conclusion, that bodily pain is the best thing,—while he will be better prepared to inflict, the pupil by similar reflection will be better prepared to receive it and profit by it.
5. A proper instrument should be used and a proper mode of infliction adopted. No heavy and hurtful weapon should be employed. A light rule for the hand, or a rod for the back or lower extremities, may be preferred. Great care should be exercised to avoid injuring any of the joints in the infliction; and on no account should a blow be given upon the head.
6. If possible, the punishment should be made effec tual. A punishment that does not produce thorough submission and penitence in the subject of it, can hardly be said to answer its main design. To be sure, in cases of general insubordination in the school, I have said that punishment may be applied to one, having in view the deterring of others from similar offenses. But such exemplary punishment belongs to extreme cases, while disciplinary punishment, which has mainly for its object the reformation of the individual upon whom it is inflicted, should be most relied on. Taking either
Deliberation, and thorough work.-“ Little whippings."
view of the case, it should if possible answer its design, or it would be better not to attempt it. The teacher's judgment, therefore, should be very carefully exercised in the matter, and all his knowledge of human nature should be called into requisition. If after careful and conscientious deliberation he comes to the conclusion that the infliction of pain is the best thing, and to the belief that he can so inflict it as to show himself to the school and to the child, in this act as in all others, a true and kind friend to the child,—then he is justified in making the attempt; and having considerately undertaken the case, it should be so thorough as not soon to need repetition.
I would here take the opportunity to censure the practice of those teachers who punish every little departure from duty with some trifling appliance of the rod, which the scholar forgets almost as soon as the smarting ceases. Some instructors carry about with them a ratan or stick, in order to have it ready for appliance as soon as they see any departure from their commands. The consequence is, they soon come to a frequent and inconsiderate use of it, and the pupils by habit become familiar with it, and of course cease to respect their teacher or to dread his punishments. I have seen so much of this, that whenever I see a teacher thus “armed and equipped," I infer at once that his school is a disorderly one, an inference almost invariably confirmed by a few minutes'observationi. My earnest advice to all young teachers would be,