« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
one week after he had found a suitable person to supply his place professionally, he was found engaged in a district school, and instead of receiving the 'thousand' dollars a year, accepting of fifteen dollars a month and his board; which was, as usual, among
the families. This school was now for some time the scene of his sacrifices and missionary labors.
Many years have elapsed since his return to teaching, during the whole of which time he has been laboring, in one form or another, for the cause of education, and particularly for the benefit of district schools, with scarcely a sufficient compensation to procure his daily bread ; yet, as he assures us, he has never to this hour regretted—no, not for a single moment-his labors and sacrifices. On the contrary, he rejoices in them, and thanks his Heavenly Father for placing in his power the means of making them. Employments of a more lucrative kind have frequently offered, but a sense of duty has hitherto prevented bis engaging in them. He has chosen poverty and self-sacrifice as his portion for life, rather than to relinquish what he deems the cause of God and his country.
We might have related other anecdotes besides the foregoing. We might have spoken of his engaging as a teacher, at ten dollars a month, and board himself; of his gratuitous purchases of books for his pupils, of gratuitous evening schools, &c. Enough has been said, however, to show that there are opportunities for teachers to make self-sacrifices; and that there are those in the world who are ready and willing to be offered.',,
DISTRICT SCHOOL MISSIONARIES. No. II.
In the number of Parley's Magazine for September last, we find an article entitled Children's Friends, of which the following is an extract. The person alluded to is Theodore Dwight, Jr. of New York.
· One of our correspondents, who spends the greater part of his time in doing good, has lately written us a long letter, and told us about some experiments he is making among children. He is in the daily habit of going into the schools of his neighborhood, the Sunday Schools, Week-day Schools and Infant Schools; and, with the permission of the teachers, instructing the children. Sometimes he teaches them to sing, at others, he converses with them, and asks them questions on other subjects. Natural history, in all its branches-geology, mineralogy, bota
What the Friends of Children may do.
ny, and zoology—he is very fond of; and sometimes he teaches them about the human body, or, as it is called, anatomy and physiology. In a letter of his, lately received, after saying that he was instructing, in the ways above mentioned, no less than 800 or 1000 children, he remarks as follows.
""I wish we had a few thousand experiments now making in all parts of our country. One person, male or female, who would step out in each village as the Children's Friend, might do a good deal of good by spending for them two or three hours a week. My Saturday afternoon singing meetings are interesting, being sometimes connected with a walk, and always intermingled with snatches of instruction in natural history, morals, religion, life, manners, &c. Will you ask your readers, in all your publications, to begin at once, experiments of this kind ? I should be very glad to have them send the results to me, as Corresponding Secretary of the American Lyceum.”
We wish, too, most heartily, that a few thousand of these experiments-charities we would call them, rather-were at this moment going on, in all parts of our country.
Is there not one person, male or female, to every school district, who might find the tiine-and who is qualified—to step out, and by spending two or three hours a week in the school, nobly stand forth as a Children's Friend ?— We have spoken of qualifications for this charitable work; but we regard a love of doing good, and especially of doing it to children, as the principal qualification. Find but an individual who sees the condition of district schools to be as it truly is, and loves the souls of his fellow men, especially the young, and if he can possibly spare the time, he need not hesifate on account of any other qualifications. He cannot fail to do good.
His mere presence in the school room will do good. Children are apt to be interested in that which interests their adult parents and friends, and what does not appear to interest the latter, is not apt long to interest the former. There are hundreds and thousands of primary and district schools in the United States, into which no parent or friend, no, nor even any stranger -except, perchance, the visiting committee-ever enters from one year's end to another. The presence, therefore, of one individual of the district among them, daily or even weekly, will afford them some encouragement.
But he can do more than encourage the teacher and pupils
bis presence. He can give them now and then an encouraging word. Even his looks may do them good. How many a time, has the kind look, attended by a kind word, urged the tardy youth up the hill side of improvement ?
Common School Missionaries.
He can do good by conversing occasionally with the teacher. There is often no sympathy, nor any intercourse, between the proprietors of a public school and him whom they have selected to stand in their places six or eight hours a day, and give instruction by his example, and by his precepts and lessons, to the immortal minds of their children. These things, indeed, ought not so to be. But since they are so, it is a great mercy, as well as a great public charity, in a benevolent person-known more or less to the pupils, as he must be, if he resides in the same school district-to step in, and not only see and converse with the pupils, but suggest valuable hints to the teacher.
But this is not all that can be done. A thinking person will be able to give a lesson now and then, as was done by the gentleman mentioned in Parley's Magazine. If he cannot instruct in music, geology, mineralogy, botany, zoology, anatomy or physiology, he can do so in something. Let him relate a story, or anecdote of some place or object he has seen, or let him give an account of some book he has recently read. nothing more, let him get the teacher's permission to read a selection from the newspaper, throwing in an occasional remark.
We have alluded, in the last instance, to the necessity of the teacher's permission. It is indispensable in all cases to have this. Indeed, most teachers rejoice in such aid and assistance ; but if there are any who do not, it is easy to discontinue our visits, and call on those who do.
It is impossible for those who have never made experiments of this kind to conceive of their value. We talk of the benevolent enterprises of the day, but we scarcely know of any which are more important than those we are describing. We talk about giving money, by dollars and by thousands ; but time spent in doing good is worth more than money. We talk of the heathen of distant countries, and we do well. Benevolence in every form, giving money where we can give nothing better--missionary labors in China or New Holland even-all are good, very good. But time, and advice, and effort in behalf of the common schools are far better. We envy not the philanthropy of him who sees, any where on the earth's surface, a more important missionary field than the district school.
Nor does it require very great learning, or effort, or sacrifice, to do good in these schools. It is true, that ministers, and physicians, and lawyers, and other learned men,-especially those who have had the charge of families and schools of their ownif they really have their hearts engaged in the work, may do more than some other people. But there are few who cannot
Such Missionaries are Needed.
do something. In schools which are conducted solely by females, how welcome would the presence, and encouragement, and suggestions, and occasional lessons of a philanthropic female friend, in the neighborhood, often be? Are there no such philanthropic females ? Are there not some in every district ? There are certainly some who might find leisure. And would not their leisure hours be as well filled up in these efforts, as in bestowing extra attention upon their persons or their dress; or in reading novels; or in going to theatres or balls; or in sighing over distant and sometimes half imaginary evils, which they cannot remove ? It is due to the female sex to say, that their sympathies are more easily roused in behalf of those who are enveloped in ignorance and superstition, or who are suffering in their bodies or their minds, than those of our own sex. Shall it be said that these sympathies are easily roused to remove ignorance, and vice, and suffering, at a distance, but not that which is near their own doors ?
If ever there was a time since the world began, when missionaries were needed --holy, self-denying men and women-it is the present. If ever there was a wide or important field for missionary operations, it is the family, and the district school. If ever good could be done in both departments of this great field, not by money so much as by time and influence, it is also the present. It is so because the family and school are almost every where, and by every body, overlooked. It is so because many despise and slander them, and say all manner of evil against them; and if they can get money enough in any kind of business which is called respectable, (even though it were founded on fraud) will take their children out of these nurseries of vice, as they call the common schools, and send them to private schools, and suffer the former, instead of their laboring to make them, as is their Christian duty, nurseries of virtue, to run down, and become a thousand times worse than they were before. Lastly, now is a favorable time for missionary efforts of the kind we have mentioned, because there is a tide of good words just now setting in favor of efforts of this kind. There is a great deal beginning to be said in the community of the importance of taking the teachers of our children by the hand, and recognizing them as our equals, our friends, our most worthy associates, visiting them, inviting them to visit us, &c. Let us show forth, then, by actions as well as by words, that we regard teachers not only as human beings, but as friends, and brethren, and benefactors; and let us make the school room, next to the parlor, the pleasantest, happiest, most profitable place for our children.
Review of Sullivan's New Work.
75 But the efforts of Mr Dwight are not the only missionary efforts which have been made among us in behalf of common and primary schools. We know of several others; and we trust there are many of which we do not know. We hope Mr Dwight has received accounts of this kind in great numbers. We wish, most heartily, that he and others, who possess facts of this description, would transmit them for insertion in the Annals of Education.
It is now nearly twelve years since we, ourselves, have been more or less in the habit of making these experiments. We have always found both teachers and pupils glad to receive us ; and apparently encouraged and benefited by our conversations and lessons. We often revert to these missionary efforts-insignificant or trifling as the public are apt to regard them—with very great pleasure; accompanied, however, with feelings of deep regret, that circumstances do not give us more leisure to prosecute them.
We have been most successful in conversing with teachers and pupils on subjects connected with physiology and the laws of health. We have invited teachers to our room, and have found them, in many cases, glad to accept the invitation. But we have been most frequently in the habit of giving daily lessons to pupils, at the school room, on the hand, the eye, the ear, the hair, the teeth, the nails, the skin, the stomach, &c. We have seldom found any difficulty of sustaining their attention to these subjects quite as long as was profitable, for one time. We have done enough, at least, to satisfy us of the practicability, no less than the importance of the efforts for which we plead. We beg those who have the time and the means, to make similar experiments. There are those arnong us, of both sexes-we repeat it--who have abundance of leisure for the purpose, and who, had they the necessary faith in this form of doing good, are not wanting in benevolence.
STUDY OF HISTORY.
Historical Causes and Effects, from the Fall of the Roman
Empire, 476, to the Reformation. 1517. By William SulLIVAN, Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, &c. &c. Boston: James B. Dow. 1838. 12mo. pp. 615.
We have often regretted the frequent attempts which are made, to give the young a knowledge of history by means of