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me so many thoughtful and wakeful hours on my pillow, to make arrangements apparently as trifling as recitation periods, that I can speak from experience of this class of circumstances, as among the most difficult to be attended to in a large school. It embraces punctuality in all the operations of the establishment, and such a regularity in the daily recurrence of corresponding duties, as to make the performance of them a matter of habit, and consequently of ease and of pleasure ; it embraces all the thousand little matters which are so apt to be overlooked; but they are the pence which, if taken care of, will save pounds. Indeed, I consider a studious attention to these arrangements as essential to the prosperity of a school. They are acknowledged in every thing else ; in mercantile transactions, in military movements, wherever the duties are multifarious, and co-operative labor is necessary; and I doubt not many schools have failed in consequence of the neglect of their minor arrangements. On the other hand, by a constant attention to this machinery, a harmony and certainty are given to the movements of the whole, most favorable to the production of good personal habits and good mental training. If model schools would be useful in any thing, it would be in teaching us this.
4. But it is in the government of a school that we are to look for its true excellence and superiority ; for it would be of no avail whatever, to possess all other advantages, unless sustained by an effective and competent school government. I can conceive of a school possessing all the advantages that superior accommodations, abundant apparatus, extensive libraries and learned instructers can insure; and yet so far failing in its objects as to become the very nursery bed of iniquity. I need hardly say I can conceive of it; for, without wishing to be censorious, I fear many such might be pointed out in actual existence.
In examining the subject of school government, I am led to the conclusion, that in a large school, (and my remarks are all intended to apply to such,) the domestic feelings and affections which prevail in a family are not, to their full extent, admissible. That, although a teacher should endeavor to engage the personal affections of his pupils, yet, parental affection and parental partiality ought not to be, and is not expected of a teacher ; and that a school in which the number of pupils is great, approaches more nearly, in the relations of its different
members, to a nation than to a family. A school is, in fact, a little nation or community, demanding of its members the same abridgement of personal liberty, and owing to them the same protection that constitute the spirit of national laws; and like a nation it is more dependent for its success, and the bappiness and welfare of its members, upon the form and efficiency of its government,
its own internal resources. A country may possess all the advantages that soil and climate can bestow; it may be fruitful and salubrious; it may abound in mineral treasures; it may spread forth its shores to the ocean, and pour into the deep the waters of many a fertilizing and navigable river; it may, above all, be inhabited by a people capable, as far as natural abilities are considered, of excellence in all the arts and charities of life ; and yet it may be, for all the purposes of bappiness to its possessors, and of fellowship with others, a wilderness or a desert. The hardiest race will fail to produce even the necessaries of life from the richest soil, when governed by oppressive or inefficient laws; but even with a rocky and barren soil, protected by the efficiency of a good government, a people will be thrifty and happy, and will command the very stones to be made bread, and add to their resources and their wealth.
Now these remarks are applicable, not only to national prosperity, but to every community, small or great, capable of being acted on by moral motives; and my apology for dwelling a single moment on these merest elements of political science, is found in the almost utter want of the practical application of the principles of government to school authority ; and perhaps one of the greatest causes of the petty tyranny that from time unremembered has been a characteristic of school discipline is, that schools have not been thought worthy of the application of correct governmental principles. But without attempting to elevate small matters to an undue consideration, I contend that a school, and especially a large one, contains all the elements of a political community. There is the protection of right, and the punishment of wrong ; there is individual enterprise to be encouraged, and the general welfare to be promoted; there is a public sentiment in schools, which a skilful ruler knows how to guide, and against which, as he values his popularity and influence, he dares not to offend ; there is such a thing as school patriotisın, which the judicious teacher can keep alive without improper rivalry ; and there is such a thing
as school treason, which the authorities of the institution should punish in the most decided and rigorous manner.
If then, the government of a school is, in its principles, essentially like that of a nation, it not only shows us why so many have failed in their attempts at school government, but it opens to us a fund of knowledge which every teacher should make his own.
Allow me, from the many truths that are here presented to us, to offer the following, as all that the time will permit me, even briefly, to dwell upon.
1. The government of a school should be vested in a single person.
2. It should not be despotic, but should be restricted by constitutional provisions and a code of definite laws.
3. The presiding teacher should be exempt from the personal instruction of the classes.
1. The common sense of mankind has long since decided upon committing the whole executive authority of the school to the hands of the principal teacher, constituting it what may be called in political language, a monarchy. All the attempts to check the abuse of arbitrary power, by establishing several principals with equal powers, must necessarily fail; for several individuals can rarely agree in those prompt measures that school discipline frequently demands. The same may be said of the introduction of democratic government in schools; if indeed a government properly so called has ever been instituted. I have known teachers to amuse their pupils, and, perhaps, themselves, by allowing them to elect nominal officers; but it amounted to nothing more than amusement. All the pretended attempts at establishing a republican form of gove ernment, have been nothing but a useless imitation of democracy, by committing a temporary authority to a part or the whole of the pupils; their legislative powers not extending beyond measures of no importance; and even these being subject to the arbitrary veto of the higher authorities.
Democracy is, and ever will be, wholly inadequate to the purposes of school government; and for this very plain reason, that the students are always pre-supposed to be minors, and as such, are by nature, and are declared by law, to be incapable of self-government. The qualifications for self-government are, enlightened judgment and fixed moral principles, - qualifications necessarily absent from the immature minds of boys. So long as foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child, I shall
never expect to see school boys legislating upon the business of the state or the school. In a word, I hold it to be evident, that minors are incapable of exercising any determinate authority; and that one of the lessons they should early learn and be slow to forget, is, that their understandings are immature, and that they are to submit to the better judgment of their elders.
2. But arbitrary power needs some check; and I object to the terms absolute monarchy, unlimited monarchy, &c. as applied to the rule of a teacher, although used and advocated by the most popular writers on the subject. I object to them, because they do not really define the kind of government existing in our best schools, even where all the school authority is nominally vested in the presiding teacher; for it must be remembered, that such authority is, at best, but a limited prerogative, being checked and balanced by various circumstances, as charter provisions, oversight of visiting committees, terms of contract, public sentiment; and farther, because the expressions, absolute, unlimited, and the like, are at variance with the acknowledged imperfections of human judgment, and limits of human power. I do not deny that an unlimited swayhas sometimes been assumed. The school, in such instances, exhibits many of the features of a petty despotism ; the appropriation of the time and even the property of the pupils, as I have known to be done, bearing a good analogy to the disregard of right which the Pacha of Egypt exhibits towards his subjects; and the ferule being a good representation of the cruelties of the bastinado. But in our better class of schools, , these things are unheard of, and the checks, to which I have already alluded, constitute what, in a practical sense at least, may be called a constitution, and the term constitutional limited monarchy is far more applicable to school government.
Even the proprietor of a private seminary, who of all teachers is, perhaps, the most unlimited, is unwise if he does not put some check upon his own powers; for I consider the exercise of uncontrolled school authority, even in the qualified sense in which a teacher may possess it, as a most difficult, troublesome and undesirable task. If a teacher attempts to make his single word a law, he will find it exceedingly difficult to make his decisions bear the stamp of equity. For he will not only do actual injustice in some cases by the difficulty of equitable adjudication, in cases presented in a school ; but
he will find himself always associated with the punishments it may become expedient to award. And though he may labor to convince his pupils of the righteousness of his decisions, yet the association remains, and the offender knows that the teacher's will, instead of statute, has condemned him. The disposition to resist the infliction of punishments is so natural, that he who wields despotic authority will find himself brought into continual collision with the personal feelings of his pupils; a circumstan most unfavorable to the cultivation of those affections, in the exercise of which the teacher finds his greatest influence and his greatest reward.
Farther, despotic authority in a school is not only resisted by its immediate subjects, but is always unpopular with the public, on account of the sympathy which parents naturally and properly feel with their children; and because the overbearing and tyrannical measures into which it leads inen, even of good judgment, presents the incumbents of such stations before the public, in a most unamiable aspect. Were we to analyze the odium that frequently attaches to the business of teaching, it would probably be found, that contempt of the petty tyranny and despotic caprice to which parents are so frequently compelled to submit their children, constitutes a principal ingredient in its composition.
I hold then, that every school should possess, in some form or other, a constitutional security of rights and a code of laws, with specific penalties for the breach of them. The advantages of such an arrangement are as great to the principal himself as to the pupils. It delivers him from the odium of an arbitrary tyrant. It enables him to administer justice without associating himself with the circumstances so generally unpleasant to the scholar. He can secure to himself a greater degree of firmness in bis awards of justice, and resist those appeals to his personal feelings, which, or I mistake human nature, every teacher is called upon to resist.
He shields himself from personal responsibility. He has done all he could. He has, by the publication of
determinate laws, shown what are the conditions on which the students receive the privileges and advantages of the school. These conditions are before them, and opportunity is afforded to every one, to point out whatever he may think unjust. If, therefore, the student should incur the forfeiture of his privileges, or the disapprobation of his superiors, the teacher may shield himself from all responsibility;