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Case, for a School Library.
illustrating the principles of traffic and the office of the merchant.
10. Literature and Education. Comprising a collection of standard works, in English classics, with which every family should be acquainted. Works on education, giving its history, its progress and prospects, the philosophy of its principles, in a way calculated to extend and deepen the interest in universal education.
It will be the object of the society to embrace in the range of the publications all subjects of general interest and utility, and their greatest care that the whole be pervaded and characterized by such a spirit of Christian morality as shall fit it to refine and elevate the moral character of our nation.
The volumes are designed to be of about 250 pp. 12mo. ; to be bound in a uniform and very thorough manner, and boxed in sets, so as to be bought, sold and transported with the convenience and safety of bales of merchandise ; and the box to be so constructed as to answer the purposes of a case, when it reaches its final resting place in the school room.
It is, as will be perceived, by examining the above engraving, a flat box, two feet long, one foot wide, and six inches deep, divided by partitions which become shelves when the box is placed upright, into four compartments. The cover is to be attached by hinges, so as to become a door when the box is opened.
Account of a Teacher.
SACRIFICES BY TEACHERS. No. I.
Much is said, at the present day, of the want of teachers in this country, and of the unfitness of many of those now employed, for the performance of their duties. They are also represented as being actuated by low and unworthy motives—the love of ease, or emolument; or by a desire to use the employment merely as a stepping-stone to something of more importance.
Teachers, we acknowledge, are very far from being the perfect men and women that they ought to be. Few, very few, as we have abundant reason for believing, enter the profession, from the mere love of it, or from the pure desire of doing good. And yet such teachers there are. We know a few such. We have known them to make sacrifices for the common school, which are seldom exceeded by men of any other profession—the apostles of the cross in foreign lands not excepted.
'We knew a man who, having spent some half a dozen winters in teaching district schools, had acquired a high reputation in this department of human labor. But this was wholly unsatisfactory to himself; he felt more and more his deficiencies, and sighed more and more for an opportunity to qualify himself for a station of such high responsibilities as that of directing not. only the young “idea,' but the young mind and heart.
He had hitherto“ taught school in the winter only ; for it was not customary in that part of the country where he resided, to continue a man's school ihrough the summer. He was sometimes even tempted to relinquish teaching altogether, and to engage in mercantile business. Public life had also its charms, and besides being already spoken of as a member of the State Legislature for his native town, he held several responsible town offices.
But his great desire was to realize his own idea of a good schoolmaster; and one spring, at the conclusion of his winter's school, he formed the resolution of devoting himself to the profession of teaching for life. He had no sooner formed this determination, than he proceeded to put his plan into execution.
There were, however, many serious difficulties. The greatest was to obtain a school permanently. The usual wages of the best male teachers of the largest schools, for about four months of the winter, were only twelve or fifteen dollars a month in addition to board ; and of a female, six dollars a month, for four or five months of the summer, with the same additions. This
His Labors and Sacrifices.
would amount to a yearly expenditure, on the part of the district, of only about ninety dollars. In most districts, the sum expended was less; not more than seventy or eighty dollars. It was scarcely possible, therefore, to hope to find a district ready to pay more than one hundred dollars a year.
Application was made to a large and comparatively liberal district for a school, to teach it for one hundred and eight dollars a year. The offer was unexpected, but so highly gratifying, that an effort was made to get a vote to accept it. The only difficulty was in regard to terms. For eleven months—with a vacation of one month, they were willing to give ninetynine dollars ; and one individual more public spirited than the rest, proffered another dollar ; making up the round sum of a hundred dollars. This sum, on reflection, was deemed sufficient, and the school was commenced and continued.
It is often said that men labor according to their pay; and as a general rule, the saying may be true. But though paid at a low rate for teaching a very large and, at firsi, a disorderly school, the teacher of whom we are speaking is believed to have labored with as much diligence as any teacher of a common school in that vicinity. We might even say inore. He devoted himself so exclusively and so earnestly to the school, in thought and deed, by night and by day, that he wore himself out in this single year more than during any five years of his whole life besides. Indeed, he actually lost his health by the effort, and came very near losing his life. Low as school teachers' wages were, and as the price of labor in general was, at that time and in that vicinity, there can be no doubt that he earned, and ought to have received for his year's labor, at least two hundred or two hundred and fifty dollars. His employers even seemed more than half convinced of this; for though they could not get a vote to continue the school another whole year, they gave him eighty dollars for six months of the winter next following.
Nor was it his whole time and strength alone that this teacher devoted to the welfare of his pupils. He actually purchased a small library for their use, and gave them many valuable presents besides; and in these two ways expended no inconsiderable share of his already too limited wages.
During his second term in this school—that of six monthshe conceived the plan of obtaining a more liberal education. As his means did not permit a full collegiate course, a shorter one was thought of. It was at length decided that he should study one of the professions ; chiefly under the eye of a private tutor ; spending only six months at the university. The object was twofold ; first, to prepare himself for teaching more sucTeaching at Six Dollars a Month.
cessfully ; secondly, to have another employment for life, as a dernier resort ; that is, in case of the complete failure of his health in teaching ; of which there was, at that time, considerable danger.
The diligent study of a profession three years gave him a fine opportunity for mental discipline and improvement. All this time his heart was set on the business of teaching, rather than on any other employment. And no sooner had he received his parchment,' than we found him taking charge of another school.
Here again was sacrifice. Though qualified, according to the laws of the land, for the pursuit of a profession which was universally regarded as lucrative; though somewhat involved in debt by his course of study ; and though pressed by his friends and relatives, to several of whom he was under many obligations, to bury his love of teaching, and be at once more respectable and more useful than he ever could be while thus employed ; he did not allow himself to hestilate for one moment to do what he believed to be his duty. It is not, indced, known that any one urged upon him, directly, the consideration that teaching a district school, as things then were, would never enable him to free himself from debt and support a family ; yet it is scarcely possible that such a consideration could have escaped him; and circumstanced as he was, the temptation to yield to it would have been great.
And yet, as we have already said, he did not hesitate. He was burning with zeal to improve the condition of common schools ; and his zeal had been increased by the appearance, about this time, of the first volume of the · Journal of Education. He began with the central school in his native town. It was in the spring, and the compensation for a female teacher, in the district where he made application, was usually a dollar and fifty cents a week, or six dollars a month, and·board. He applied for the school on the same terms; and though his application occasioned some surprise, it was not rejected.
Having expended a small sum for books and for furniture for the school room, he immediately began his labors. Every thing went on, for a time, quite favorably. Every body wondered, it is true, at the circumstance of a man, with the ' honors of the university' in his pocket, engaging to teach twenty five or thirty children at six dollars a month, with the privilege of begging his bread from door to door,' when he might, as they supposed, just as well be receiving a compensation or salary of a thousand dollars a year. But they knew almost as little of his purposes and plans for the benefit of mankind, and of his resolution to
spend and be spent for them, as if he had not been brought 70
Sacrifice of his Health.
up among them. The truth is, that a person of this description is always a stranger, even among his best friends. It is exceedingly rare for hcaven to raise up more than one person who is willing to be a Christian indeed, and to make truly Christian efforts and sincrifices, in the same neighborhood; and those who are not of the same character with such a man, can no more understand, or even sympathise with him, than if he were of another nation or tongue.
But our teacher pursued his course unmolested; which, considering his many peculiarities and innovations, was more than could have been predicted. In the families where he boarded, he was in the highest sense of the term, a missionary; imparting information and encouraging inquiry, and endeavoring to elevate, everywhere, the parental estimates of the importance of common schools. Some, notwithstanding the general stupidity, were, as the consequence of his efforts, awaking; and he was already beginning to look forward in the hope of reaping the reward of his labors, in the entire reformation of the schools of his native town.
Here, in the midst of his career, his health failed. He was obliged to leave his employment and resort to one better adapted to promote health. With the advice of the best physicians, he engaged in the labors of the other profession for which he had qualified himself.
Yet even here, he did not forget his favorite field of reform. Though he could not actually teach, he encouraged teachers. He threw open his doors and invited them all, of both sexes, at set times and at all times, to come to his room. He loaned them books, visited their schools, both privately and officially ; spent much time in conversing with them; and encouraged, everywhere, the introduction of a new spirit, new methods, and new school books. So that even while ardently engaged in another laborious profession, he was silently working a reform in a very different department.
At the end of two or three years, he found his health restored, with a prospect of its continuance. The question now arose in his mind, whether he should remain where he was, or return to teaching. Friends, whom he consulted, advised the former. He had just become established, they argued, in a useful profession; and there was scarcely an individual who would be willing, for a moment, that he should leave them, especially to engage again in school teaching. Above all, how could he, they seemed to say, so demean himself? How could he think of it, for a single moment ?
However, his sphere of action was at length relinquished. In