« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
Force of Example.
by the habits and views of their parents; and though the effect of good and faithful parental instruction and example may, for a time, appear lost or inefficacious, yet it is as sure to become visible and forceful, at some future time, as good seed, seasonably and properly sown, is sure to germinate and bear fruit, it may be an hundred-fold. And if a parent’s influence is so great, it must be admitted that the teacher, who for so large a portion of time stands “in the place of parents” for a whole neighborhood, must exert a power, for good or ill, which is truly immense. Do not, my dear friend, forget that you are daily surrounded by young and tender minds, whose very being is intimately connected with yours. A hasty word or act, an unkind look, a slight deviation from the true path of duty, an improper or careless expression, or any kind or degree of unfaithfulness, on your part, may be instrumental of never-ending consequences, even
“As a pebble in the streamlet scant Has turned the course of many a river, — A dew-drop on the infant plant Has warped the giant oak for ever.” As you enter the school-room, ever bear in mind that the eyes of your pupils are upon you to notice every movement, — their ears open to catch every tone of your voice. They spend more of their time, daily, under your immediate influence and discipline, than they do under the immediate care and observation of their parents. To a great extent you will be their exemplar. Earnestly strive to be a worthy
one. Let all your movements, expressions of countenance, tones of voice, your entire bearing, be such as they may safely imitate. What you are, such, in a good degree, they will become. If you are fretful, unkind, impatient, they will partake of the same spirit. Said a little girl, “Mother, I try to love my teacher, but she gets angry in school and speaks unpleasantly, and then I find it very hard to love her. Is it right to get angry, mother ?” How natural, and yet how significant. If teachers could only be unseen listeners to the conversation of a group of their young pupils, how many useful lessons might they learn As your pupils return to their several homes at night, you will not be forgotten. At the tea-table or by the fireside, (must I say stove-side 7) your sayings and doings will form prominent topics for discussion; and the happiness of the little ones will be increased or diminished just in proportion to your fidelity and kindness, or to your deficiencies. “I love to go to school, now,” said little Genevra, “for my new teacher is so kind and so pleasant that she makes me feel happy. She is not cross, as my other teacher was, but she always tries to help me. I love her dearly, and I mean to do all I can to please her.” These words were uttered to Mary, who attended another school having a very different teacher. As she heard the remarks, she looked sad, and said, “I wish I could go to your school, for my teacher is hardly ever pleasant to us, and she never speaks kind words, and there’s no use in trying to please her.”
A summing up.
Do not forget, my friend, that your pupils are but children. Some of them may possess many unlovely and unlovable traits, but most of them possess loving and confiding hearts. They may have been mismanaged, neglected, or even abused, at home, and their uninviting traits may result from such wrong treatment. Win them to you by kindly words; bind them to you by kindly acts, and then you may control and guide them at will. You will often find generous hearts and noble impulses in the breasts of those whose exterior is coarse and unattractive. Let your own example be correct, and it will be potent for good. I would thus sum up my advice under this head: Speak as you would have Ayour pupils speak; appear as you would have them appear; act as you would have them act ; be what Ayou would have them be.
Your sincere friend,
LETTE R. III.
CHEERFULNESS. — LOVE FOR THE WORK. – INDIVIDUALITY. — A CCOUNTABILITY.
MY DEAR FRIEND: —
I Do not propose to write at length of the several characteristics essential to give success to the teacher. The model teacher should possess, in an emiment degree, every good trait, and exercise every virtue. You say you cannot hope to become a model teacher; but you certainly must hope to become a successful one. You should, then, aim to become just what we claim for the model teacher. Place your mark high, have it right, and constantly strive to reach it. I shall in this letter speak of other qualities, which I consider as peculiarly important, on account of their direct bearing upon your pupils; though they are all implied in the “summing up ’’ of my last letter.
CHEERFULNESS. — This is all-important. Your school is a miniature world; you are the controlling power, and your pupils are the subjects. Let them see that you desire nothing so much as to do them good, and if you really possess this desire, it will
The Contrast. to
make you happy and cheerful. As your pupils assemble in the school-room, greet them with the light of a cheerful countenance. You are really the sun of the little community, and you should let no clouds come between you and them, unless such as may be caused by their follies or indiscretions. It was my lot for a short time to be a pupil in a school whose teacher was one of those morose, uncongenial, capricious spirits, which cast a shadow on all around them. Nothing pleased her; nothing that we, her pupils, could do would cause her to assume a cheerful look; she never smiled, but often scowled; she never spoke pleasantly to us, but always in tones of censure and petulance. We lost all respect for her; or, rather, we never gained any ; and our chief delight was in annoying her, that we might see the clouds thicken upon her brow. Our associations connected with that school are all sad and unpleasant. My next experience was under a teacher whose cheerfulness was prominent and constant. She loved her pupils, and they loved her, and it was their highest wish to merit her approval, to gain her smiles. To me the school-room was pleasant, and to this day all my memories of the school and teacher are pleasant, and ever will be. As you hope to succeed, let me urge you studiously and constantly to cultivate a spirit of genial cheerfulness. It will be promotive both of health and happiness; it will also greatly increase your influence and usefulness. “As is the teacher, so will be the school.”