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His greatest success was with mothers. He was not long in convincing them of the evil of having little girls sit five or six hours a day on hard benches without backs; and of inducing the committee, through their influence, to build new benches, of an appropriate form and character.
But success, in no stinted measure, attended his efforts in every direction. Not only were the benches and desks improved, but the children were sent to school early and regularly. A few drops of rain, or a little mud, or the arrival of some friend of the family, or a little headache, did not often serve as an apology for remaining at home a day or two. The pupils came cheerfully, too; not like the ox to the slaughter.
The new master and his new measures became, at length, a topic of frequent and interesting conversation ; not only among mothers, but among all. Some, of course, were opposed to every innovation. But mind had been touched, and inquiry elicited; and the 'march' had now become onward. Formerly, it was only on exhibition days, or some other equally remarkable occasions, that the parents visited the school, or appeared to take any considerable interest in its progress. Now it was not unconmon to find half a dozen or a dozen visitors at the school room, during a single afternoon. Not that the exercises themselves were much better than formerly, but the people were awaking from a long slumber over the whole subject.
There was, it has already been admitted, a great difference of opinion about the new doctrines and measures, and with some persons Mr D. spent his mornings, and noons, and evenings, almost in vain. They cared far more about the character of their meals - whether they should bave roast turkey for dinnerand oysters for supper -- than about the school. They cared more, far more, about the wants of their own and their childrens' perishable bodies, than those of their imperishable souls.
Mr D., however, persevered in his missionary labors, and, by the majority, was sustained. Three successive tours did he make, in the course of two years, from house to house, through every part of the district, reasoning with the people — persuading, urging and entreating them -- sometimes with success, sometimes to no purpose but to confirm them in their errors and prejudices. We will not say that he was always correct in his opinions, or judicious in his efforts and measures. He was evidently too anxious for speedy results — unwilling to wait the slow progress of gradual and salutary changes. Yet in despite of errors and mistakes, he evidently possessed the
Results of these Labors.
spirit of a missionary ; and were every district school teacher to possess at once the same spirit, and labor with the same zeal and perseverance, it would effect a greater revolution than the world has ever yet seen.
But Mr D. was not left to labor wholly alone. There were other teachers in the same region, who caught his spirit, and began to exhibit it. One of these disciples becarne even more distinguished in his zeal for improvement than the master. There were none, however, who went farther, in unremitting attempts to stir up the minds of the parents in their respective districts than Mr D.
There were nine school districts in the town. So great was the excitement on the subject of common school improvement, that teachers' wages were, in a few years, considerably raised, and in some instances nearly doubled. The old school houses began to undergo repairs, and new ones to be built. New and improved books were also introduced into the classes, and in a few instances, new subjects of study. The school visitors began to perform their duty more faithfully than before, and to receive a moderate compensation from the public for their services. And though nearly fifteen years have passed away since Mr D. was laboring, in season and out of season - a missionary of education among them — the happy consequences of bis labors are not yet forgotten. His name is even sometimes mentioned with respect and with affection; and the memory of his patience, and diligence, and faith, and hope, inscribed, not in brass or marble, but on the warm heart and never dying soul.
District school teacher, whoever you are, and wherever your lot is cast, remember you have a sphere of labor, for which many a herald of the everlasting gospel, did he understand the importance of your avocation as a means of elevating mankind, might sigh in vain. When you enter the humblest family, remember you have something to do — somebody to interest, awaken, excite, direct. Remember, that though compelled to beg your bread from door to door, you may be among the most active of missionaries, you shall be blessed in your deeds, and shall in no wise lose' any part of your reward,' present or future.
School at Newburgh.
INSTRUCTION BY PHYSICIANS.
On looking over a late New York Observer,' we noticed the following advertisement of an establishment for the education of boys, at Newburgh, on the Hudson ; under the care of Dr H. P. Benham.
• The method here is somewhat peculiar. It receives the pupil into the family, allows him as much as possible the benefit of parental affection, instruction, and advice ; and the proprietor, instead of being himself the teacher, selects one from the various schools in the village, suited to the age and wants of his pupils, and then himself, is in the habit daily of reviewing, illustrating, and explaining the lessons in an easy and familiar way, which gives them the benefit of two instructers, multiplying and varying the illustration, and sealing with more certainty on the mind the truths to be taught.
• The government in the family is entirely parental and admonitory; and although it is believed the best arrangements are made for labor and study, yet no pains have been spared to fit equally well for amusement. Attached to the premises are two play grounds, in which almost every source of recreation is placed, and in one of them is an artificial pond for sailing boats and other water amusements.'
By this method, two or three important points seemed to be secured. 1. The pupils, as the adversetiment itself justly observes, have the benefit of two instructers. 2. They have the rare privilege of being under the co-operative influence of house and school. 3. They have the instructions of a medical gentle
This last circumstance, if the medical man possesses every other important qualification of a teacher, is of very great value.
Perhaps there is no profession, the study and practice of which so fits men for the education of the young, as that of medicine. The reader will observe, that we say the education, and not the instruction of the young. For the mere purposes of instruction - the communication of knowledge — we doubt not that theology and, perhaps, the pursuit of several other professions may have a tendency equally favorable. But there is no man in society, other things being equal, who sees so deeply into the human character - and the juvenile character among the rest — and who knows so well the connection and dependence of mind and body, and how to manage both in the best manner, as the physician.
Physicians who have become Teachers.
In proof of this statement, if proof were necessary, we might mention a number of medical men who have left their profession to become teachers. We confess the number of those who have done this is somewhat limited, in this country. Many young men who have studied medicine, have become encumbered with debt, and have embarked in business partly to free themselves. Meanwhile, if they have not become heads of families, they have usually become established in their profession, and find it difficult to leave it, especially for the comparatively small remuneration which school teaching usually affords. And, as for those who do not succeed, they are commonly among the last to resort to the humble and laborious and thankless occupation of a pedagogue, as the means of obtaining a livelihood.
Still we have known physicians — sometimes from mere philanthropy, sometimes from a mixture of various motives — quit their profession, and become teachers for life. And wherever we have known such instances, we have found them eminent.
No man, perhaps, stood higher in his profession ihan the late Dr Keagy of Philadelphia. Yet he was bred to medicine, and was once a successful and highly respectable practitioner. We know one or two instances of the same kind in Connecticut; one in Vermont; and another in our own Commonwealth.
As the latter are still living, we forbear to mention their names, or their particular places of residence.
Of this same description of character, as we suppose, is Dr Benham, the notice of whose school at Newburgh, led to these remarks. All we know of him, however, is from the notice; which certainly spcaks well. We see in it strong evidence that the health of the pupils is not wholly overlooked, as is too frequently the case in our schools ; and we may entertain the hope, that the teacher makes it a point, not only to preserve health, but to increase it. We hope it is as much his object to make bodily health for his pupils, as to make mind, manners, or morals. We may as certainly lay up health for the future, as any thing else which is important and valuable.
If we see any thing to disapprove in the arrangement of the school alluded to, at Newburgh, it is what we regard as the fault of the day, rather than that of any particular school. We allude to the separation of the sexes. In large public schools, like of those of Boston, containing sometimes five or six hundred pupils, we know there are serious difficulties in the way of teaching the two sexes in the same building. But, as our readers are aware, we regard such large schools as in themselves an evil; and we should submit to the separation spoken of, only as a choice of evils.
Proceedings in Plymouth County.
29 The family we regard as the model school, embracing in its general constitution pupils of both sexes; and in such establishments as those of Dr Benham, we are extremely sorry this arrangement is not complied with. We wish to see daughters as well as sons, under his tuition ; not, however, without the aid of a female assistant — an indispensable requisite, in our view, for all elementary schools of every size and grade. We would no more separate the sexes, if we could help it, than we would separate the members of a young family.
One word more as to the plan of Dr Benham. If he is successful in the selection of a good school for his pupils, several hours of the day, where good instruction and example are afforded; and if the work of education, in all its departments, is conducted as it should be, at home, the rest of the time, we cannot help regarding the plan as not merely novel, but valuable.
Be this as it may, however, we hope one thing - and it is this hope which, more than any thing else, has stimulated us to write this article — that the example of Dr Benham, with the other instances of the kind we have briefly mentioned, and the remarks we have ventured in the connection, may be the means of rousing other medical men to make similar sacrifices. No sacrifices are more needed at the present crisis ; nor would any be more acceptable to a community like ours, where thousands and tens of thousands of the young are starving for just that bread of mental and moral life which, under God, holy, selfdenying, self-sacrificing physicians, are particularly fitted to impart.
ELEVATING COMMON SCHOOLS.
We have again and again urged upon our readers -- friends of common education as they profess to be, and as no doubt many of them are — the claims of our common and public schools. But we have not yet done. So long as we have strength to wield a pen, even in the feeblest manner, so long as our own tongue continues at all under our command, and so long as our heart continues to beat, we must be permitted things remaining as they now are -- to plead the importance of these invaluable institutions.
Our attention, just at the present moment, has been called to this subject, by seeing in the Boston Recorder of the 24th of November last, a circular prepared by a Committee of the Plymouth County Association for the Improvement of Common