Page images
PDF
EPUB

as possible, and at the same time to rid myself of all unnecessary work. I pass over the many methods of recording the value of the daily recitation, for in this the teacher seldom finds difficulty. There are scores of pupils who will rule his book, date it, record the names of the classes, and be glad of the opportunity. It is easy to sit in the presence of his class, and in the book thus prepared, record the pupil's mark as he recites.

But the labor is at the end of the month or term, when he is compelled to make out his summary for the inspection of the committee or the parents. Beginning with the reading-class, he must add a column of twenty numbers, more or less, and divide each sum by the whole number of recitations. Thus class after class must go through the same operation. The term closes on Wednes. day, and he must have his report ready to read on Friday afternoon. He wishes to be faithful, for he who seeks to adopt this marking system, and is not as true as a banker, secures the contempt of his pupils, and fails. He must consequently spend sleepless nights over this averaging. This leaves him weary for the beginning of the next month, when he most needs his concentrated energy, to give his pupils a first-rate start.

READING :

Oct. 111213 41 518 1 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | Avge J. Roe. 1719 161 8171 al 9 1 81617181 81 al 5 1 9 1 817 X 91 a 6.56 No. 2. 131413 | 10 | 13 23 | 24 | 26 | 30 | 38 | 85 | 87 | 47 | 52 | 53 | 55 | 58 | - | 59 | 69 | 6.6

By examining the above table, every teacher will recognize a familiar face. There is J. Roe's account with the reading class for the month of October.

The month closes, and J. Roe retires to the playground. Pedagogue's work is not yet done. He only dismisses the aforesaid to resume his task thus: seven and nine are sixteen, and six are twenty-two, and eight are thirty, and seven are thirty-seven, etc., finding the sum of all the figures to be one hundred and thirty-one, which divided by twenty, gives the average six and fifty-five onehundredths. In a school of thirty classes, and more than thirty pupils in each class, there are nine hundred of these difficult problems, a task which cannot be performed in a shorter time than seven or eight hours. After all this, these averages must be recorded in a journal and on the reports. Let us try and save the above eight hours. Look now at J. Roe's account, No. 2. The maximum of merit, as before, is ten; the minimum is zero (0). If he gets ten for twenty days, they will amount to two hundred. But the first day he gets three off; mark it down. The next day he is to get nine; mark one more off and make it four. The next day he is to get six; and it is just as easy to take four more off, and write eight, as to put down six. So we mark the month. On the eighth day he is absent, and gets 0, therefore we count the whole ten off. Likewise we count ten off. for the seventeenth and twenty-sixth. At the end of the month we find his offs are sixty-nine. The half of sixty-nine, at a glance, is thirty-four and five-tenths, which, subtracted from one hundred, gives six, five, five, or six and fifty-five hundredths by reducing the hundred to ten, the maximum of merit. Or thus we arrive at the same conclusion: sixty-nine from two hundred gives one hundred and thirty-one as before, which, divided by twenty, gives six and fifty-five hundredths. This works equally well for

any factor or multiple of the maximum. If now there are eight recitations a month, subtract the offs in the last column from eighty, and divide by eight, and so for any other number.

Another plan of averaging is to add the real marks, from day to day, and divide the last number by the number of recitations. The objection to this is, that in every case the numbers would be very high, at last containing three figures. In the case of perfection, no mark need be made at all, if we count the offs; while, if we add the real mark, it would after the tenth day occapy three figures each time. The offs need never occupy more than two figures, for in case of absences the ciphers can be marked instead of a for abu gences, and added on at the end of the month by glancing from the name to the right. And if a.pupil misses a lesson every day, or get below five, he should be suspended from the school. If, now, J. Roe come excused for his absence, he may be allowed during the month to make up his lesson before he recites with the class, and be

may be settled with in the column of the last day of his absence.

There may be queries suggested by those who read this. The writer will be happy to answer them in future numbers of the Monthly.--Educational Monthly.

SUCCESS.—"There is no greater obstacle to success in life than trusting for something to turn up, instead of going to work and turning up something.

Educational Fallacies." Extract from a paper read before the Wisconsin State Teachers' Associa

tion, at Whitewater, August 3, 1865, by Prof. Edward Searing.

Our second fallacy, is the notion, ill-defined, but apparently general, that Education must advance with the progress of science; that mental culture, somehow, like agriculture, can be greatly facilitated by “improved methods"; that, in fine, Science will yet discover some “royal road”-railroad it is to be-by which a man shall reach the summits of learning as rapidly, and with as little exertion, as he now crosses the chasm of Niagara, or pierces through the Bergen hills.

The prevalence of this notion with its peculiar influence on modern education, is easily explained. Science has so nearly annihilated those ancient foes to man-time and space,—it has in all branches of manual industry so wonderfully abridged labor by the powerful and untiring muscles of machinery, that men are nat. urally impatient of the old, laborious, protracted method of selfculture. When a journey that once occupied a weary month, can now be performed, with pleasure, in a single day; when a farmer can ride about his fields with comfort, on a contrivance half reaper and half chariot, and perform alone, as if by magic, the work of a dozen men; when a man on the Atlantic seaboard can talk, as it were, face to face, with another across the continent on the Pacific, it is no wonder that we grow impatient at the old stagecoach progress of the advancing ideas; no wonder that we murmur at the still unaided drudgery of seven or ten years at school.

Thus it is that a fast age looks about for some telegraphic method of educating men. It packs a whole modern language into a 12 mo. pocket manual, and so arranges it in little, homeopathic, saccharine doses, that it may be swallowed with comfort in the space of six weeks, with no confinement of the patient to his room, and, it might be added, with no diminution of his ignorance. It skillfully arranges

Science and Art and Elocution as three birds in a line on one twig, to be “ brought down” at one throw of the youthful and impatient learner. It mutilates our noble mother language, defacing with impious hand the evidences of her genealogy and her relationship, robbing her words of their history, their poetry, and often of their very significance, and calling this sacrilege a gain because it thus abridges childhood of a few school days, to pile à trifle higher the heaps of wealth. It would no longer seek to cultivate, or honor the development of, intellectual or spiritual powers, but rather the simple knowledge of things and the dexterity of hand that conduces to material advantage. Nay,-miracle of miracles ! -60 jealous is Science of any time spent in mere intellectual ex. ercise that she can now boast the possession of a contrivance by which a knowledge of "languages, music, arithmetic, etc., can be ground out with a crank. The “Patent Metabolical Machine" of Mr. Alfred Long, of England, will now probably, with the aid of steam power, be able to turn out linguists, musicians and mathematicians with a rapidity, correctness, ease and cheapness wonder: ful to contemplate, and only to be equaled by the facility with which the Hindoos grind out their prayers.

But out upon such unreason; out upon such nonsense, to oppose which ridicule seems the only proper weapon. There is still, thank God, no royal road to learning. Still the path is up rugged and thorny steeps, still the footsteps of the traveler must be slow and his course toilsome, and his courage must be tested and his energy and perseverance tried, and he must toil on through dark nights and through torrid and frigid days, and in years only can he see the miles gathering in his rear and the sunshine brightening.abave his head; for the prize is great, and the toil and the time alone have made it so. If we would have any good thing, intellectual or moral, we must pay the price; and that which can be bought for a trifle is but of trifling value.

The nature of man is the same to-day that it was a thousand years: ago. He can make iron muscles do his work, but his own muscles are subject to no new law of development. He can bridge the ocean with steamships, and put a telegraphic girdle around the earth, but the development of all his own faculties takes place in precisely the same manner, and with precisely the same rapidity as in the days of Cicero. Let us not forget this. Let us remember that as Science gives us now better plows and hoes and rakes than our ancestors possessed, and thus renders the work of the husband. man easier than of old, that nevertheless the seeds we put in the ground to-day follow the same law of germination, and the plants require the same time for maturity; so in the work of education science affords better mechanical facilities, but changes no law of mental growth. The mind can only be disciplined by patient

study and thought, as the muscles by potent exercise. No amusing system of “Object Instruction," no "short methods," no text books revised for the ninety.ninth time-nothing will make a scholar but patient, persevering, personal effort.

Let us keep this great truth in view-act upon it ourselves, impress it upon our pupils. Let us be willing to examine all new spades and harrows for stirring the soil in which young ideas may be growing, but never forget-nor forget to preachthe inexorable law of development that presides over all our efforts.

Adventures of a Census Marshal.

On reading in the morning papers of my appointment as Marshal of the school census, I commenced to look about me from the lofty position I had attained, and surveyed with the eye of a patriot my chances to be honest in the discharge of my duties. I found that, while I might cheat the Board of Education out of thousands of dollars, I could not, by any means, put a cent more than my salary into

my own pocket. Modesty forbids an allusion to the integrity of my resolves, after I had thoroughly convinced myself that such was the case.

Gov. Low and Mr. J. C. Pelton—two gentlemen who, like myself, at the time, were in office—are particularly anxious about certain children between the ages of four and eighteen years; and they requested me to visit the mothers thereof, in propria persona, or Anglice, 'proper person.'

Now, whether this proper person refers to myself or the mothers, I don't know. I would scarcely, however, apply the epithet of “proper' to the persons of some of the matrons I met in my rounds —especially those who closed their doors in my face, and shook their fists at me through their windows, or threatened me with hot suds, for taxing as they remarked politico-economically-the production of children, and thus cutting off the supply.

I found it vain to be facetious with such people. I assured them that the state had passed no law against having children; that our legislature believed the more the marry-er. I thought a poor joke would do for poor people; but they did not laugh at this one them any more than the reader does now.

« PreviousContinue »