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It may be thought by some that we have drawn too high a standard of qualifications, especially for the teachers in our Primary Schools. We are aware that it is a current opinion, that teachers of inferior attainments will answer for primary schools, and that almost anybody can teach small children. But this is a great mistake. It is all-important to start aright in study, to have skillful and thorough instruction in the very first and simplest rudiments. In education, that which comes earliest, transcends everything else in importance. Habits of study are very soon formed, and when once formed, it is almost impossible to change them. The bent and bias of pliant childhood will shape and direct the growth of maturer years.

"The dew-drop on the infant plant

Has warped the giant oak forever."

"The mind-impressible and soft—with ease
Imbibes and copies what she hears and sees;
And through life's labyrinth, holds fast the clew
That first instruction gives her-false or true."

Above all others, should the first teacher of the juvenile mind be vigilant, and competent

"To guide its first development, to watch

The dawn of little thoughts-to see and aid
Almost its very growth.”

It is necessary for such a teacher to have clear and settled views as to what faculties are to be first called into exercise, and the true method to teach each subject to beginners. Their fondness or aversion for study, the thoroughness or superficialness of all future attainments, will depend very much upon their first methods of instruction. A disrelish for study-deep, settled and lasting as life, is often formed in the primary school. There are numerous instances of those who have been pronounced dull and unpromising by their first teachers, who have made great proficiency as soon as they came under the influence of instructors who understood them, who had the sagacity to perceive their peculiar character and wants, and the skill to adapt the processes of instruction to their peculiarities of mind. To cite one of the many examples that might be given, the early teacher of the celebrated Dr. Adam Clarke often chastised him for his dullness, and expressed his fears that he never could be made to learn. His apprehensions would probably have proved true, and the slumbering powers of the Tad remained undeveloped, had he not come under better influences. But fortunately for him, at the age of eight years he was placed under a teacher who at once discovered his latent talent, and who knew how to develop it, and who, by

kindness and encouragement, by methods adapted to his peculiar state and disposition, aroused the dormant energies of his mind.

Since the existence of the Board of Education in Massachusetts, and the consequent revival of interest in the subject, there has been a regular diminution in the number of male teachers, and a rapid increase of the number of female teach


The number of male teachers in the public schools in the state in 1837 was 2,370, and the number of female teachers was 3,591. But the present Report of the Secretary of the Board of Education gives the number of male teachers as 1,932, and the number of females as 5,166. Thus in seventeen years, while schools have been rapidly multiplying and the whole number of teachers is 1137 greater than in 1837, the number of male teachers has fallen off 438, and the number of female teachers has increased 1575. These statistics clearly show, that the more thoroughly the complicated subject of education is investigated and understood, the more general is the policy of employing female teachers.

There are very few male teachers now offering simply for winter schools, who have given any attention to a proper preparation for this great work. They are usually but partially educated, and that education had no reference to teaching. They take it up as a catchpenny business at odd intervals, without experience, and with no thought of making it a permanent business, with little interest in the work, and often with a positive and strong aversion to it; and, as a natural consequence, with little care whether they succeed or not. The rapid expansion of business, of late, has increased the demand for competent young men. Those who have the requisite qualifications to make teachers, avoid this poorly paid profession, and readily obtain some more lucrative employment. Those who offer from our colleges-it is said-are usually indigent young men, and should therefore be employed in our schools as means of assisting them in their education. We do not deny that they are worthy and excellent young men-often young men of great promise. We heartily sympathize with them in their pecuniary embarrassments. They deserve all honor for their earnest and persevering efforts. They ought to be encouraged and supplied with the needful "material aid." But this aid should be given in some better way. In this land of free schools, none who thirst for knowledge should be denied the privilege of obtaining it. Public or private charity seldom does a nobler work, than in helping forward a young man of talent through that thorough educational course which will

qualify him for eminent usefulness. But if the requisite aid could be furnished in no other way, it would be better economy to make a direct appropriation from the treasury of the towns for their benefit, than to employ them as teachers of our youth. They are still students. Their sympathies and interests are at college. Their terms of teaching usually exceed the college vacations. Much of their time and thoughts are occupied with their own studies, in the attempt to keep pace with their classes at college. A double task is undertaken, and, in the end, neither is more than half done. The experiment usually proves as prejudicial to their own scholarship and standing in college, as it is detrimental to the best interest of their schools. They may be accurate scholars in Latin and Greek, but are often exceedingly deficient in the simple English rudiments. Any knowledge of higher branches, will not compensate for ignorance of the elementary studies pursued in our Common Schools.

School Committees in Massachusetts have not unfrequently felt compelled to reject College students, who on examination were found decidedly inferior in spelling, arithmetic, grammar and geography, to many pupils in the schools they were engaged to teach. It it is usually with quite a sophomoric air that the disappointed candidates express their surprise that they, members of College, cannot pass an examination before a Common School Committee, when the wonder is, that they ever were members of any College. If they are an average sample, the standard of admission in certain Institutions. must be such as to demand at once a new professorship-the Chair of Spelling and Belles lettres Elémentarie.*

Such is not the spirit and training of the true teacher. The precious interests of education should not be committed to those who make it only a temporary resource in the prosecution of some other calling or profession.

"Oh! let not then unskillful hands attempt

To play the harp whose tones, whose living tones
Are left forever in the strings. Better far
That heaven's lightnings blast his very soul,
And sink it back to chaos' lowest depths,
Than knowingly, by word or deed, he send
A blight upon the trusting mind of youth."

There is, happily, no longer any necessity in Massachusetts for employing any other than competent and well trained

*There are exceptions to all rules, and it is but justice to say that some undergraduate teachers have evidently possessed superior qualifications, evinced great skill and tact, and accomplished the happiest results.

teachers. Her High Schools and Academies, and more than all her numerous Institutes and Normal Schools, are supplying the increasing demand for thoroughly qualified female teachers for her public Schools. Already in many towns the Common Schools are all instructed by female teachers. As their wages are usually about half those of male teachers, some towns have gained an additional term by this change, and secured annual schools. So far as the experiment has been fully tried, the result has demonstrated the wisdom and propriety of the change. Should not then a system which has already succeeded so well in Massachusetts, which is becoming increasingly popular and prevalent in that state, and which furnishes teachers of decidedly better qualifications at half the usual wages of male teachers-be more extensively adopted in other states. This is a practical question of so great importance and of such immediate interest to all friends of popular education as to require a further exposition of the reasons which favor the general adoption of this arrangement.

Females seem to be better adapted by nature to the work of teaching. There is more truth than hyperbole in a remark recently made to a body of teachers by Dr. Wayland, that "it is a rare thing to find a man who has a gift for teaching, and it is an equally rare thing to find a woman who cannot teach well." It is a rare thing" to find men who have a peculiar tact for teaching the young. Experience evinces their adaptation to their ordinary and appropriate pursuits. A larger proportion of men are found to distinguish themselves, for ability and success, in other departments of life, than in the profession of teaching. But a small number of male teachers leave their impress clearly marked upon their pupils. They lack the requisite gentleness-patience and perseverance in little thingsthe quick discernment of character-the sympathy and sensibility to penetrate the youthful spirit and arouse its latent powers. Above all, they are destitute of those delicate arts which are so requisite to win the affections of children, to call forth and direct their earliest aspirations, and to impart the needful impulse to their minds. Cheerfulness and enthusiasm, courtesy and kindness, and the power of easy, quiet, unconscious influence, are requisites indispensable to the attractiveness, order and efficiency of the school. Females are endowed with a more bountiful share of these desirable qualities.

In our high schools and colleges-where mind, in its maturing state and fuller development, is stimulated by the strongest incentives to study, and subjected to the severest discipline, and led onward into the higher departments of literature and sci

ence-it is obviously better to employ permanent male teachers. But in all elementary instruction, the very structure of her mind fits woman for the task. Nature has marked her out for this great work. Outside of the family, she nowhere seems so truly to occupy her appropriate sphere. All her attainments and powers can here be actively and earnestly employed. The work is adapted to her mental and moral constitution. No occupation harmonizes better with her character, or yields her more genuine pleasure.

We are not alone in the views we have advocated on this subject. The statistics we have given, indicate their increasing prevalence. They are believed to accord with the sentiments of the most distinguished friends of education in the country. Says Governor Seward, of New York: "He, it seems to me, is a dull observer, who has not learned that it was the intention of the Creator to commit to females a higher and greater portion of responsibility in the education of youth of both sexes. They are the natural guardians of the young. Their abstraction from the engrossing cares of life affords them leisure both to acquire and communicate knowledge. From them the young more willingly receive it, because the severity of discipline is relieved with greater tenderness and affection; while their more quick apprehension, enduring patience, expansive benevolence, higher purity, more delicate taste, and elevated moral feelings, qualify them for excellence in all departments of learning, except, perhaps, the exact sciences. If this be true, how many a repulsive, bigoted and indolent professor will, in the general improvement of education, be compelled to resign his claim to modest, assiduous and affectionate woman! And how many conceited pretenders, who may wield the rod in our common schools, without the knowledge of human nature requisite for its discreet exercise-too indolent to improve, and too proud to discharge their responsible duties-will be driven to seek subsistence elsewhere!"

The leading objection to the policy here advocated, is founded on the supposition that delicate and timid women will not succeed so well in the government of a school in which rough and refractory boys are gathered together. This is the most common and plausable objection, and is worthy of respectful consideration. It was formerly supposed that physical strength was a prime characteristic of a good disciplinarian, and that brute force was the chief agency in school government. The objection under consideration has some affinity to this antiquated notion. Horace Mann has well said: "A man may keep a difficult school by means of authority and physical force; a

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