Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/185

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175
THE APPOINTMENT OF COLLEGE OFFICERS.

Harvard, or Baltimore; others have studied philology, under the fore-most German masters; still others have become thorough biologists, students of history and philosophy, or mathematicians. From among these the ranks of tutors should be filled, and legitimate promotion, in due time, ought to follow.

At some colleges, Harvard for example, the policy above indicated is followed. If a tutor in Greek is needed, some young man who has distinguished himself in Greek is chosen; and, upon the hypothesis that he intends to make a life-work of classical study, he is given every advantage to distinguish himself still further. In some other institutions, however, a different plan is adopted. At Yale, for in-stance, tutors are often, if not always, appointed in a sort of general way, without particular reference to special studies, the subject to be taught by each being settled afterward. In consequence, a Yale tutor, whose real specialty is mathematics, may be obliged to teach only Latin; while another, whose bias is purely classical, may have to struggle with pupils in trigonometry. Doubtless these evils are greater in appearance than in reality; probably in most cases matters adjust themselves in a more rational way; still, in some instances, the mischief is really done. Such a state of affairs ought not to be even possible. It is sometimes urged, in extenuation, that every young man who has graduated creditably ought to be able to teach others what-*ever he has himself learned; and, in a measure, this is true. But a fellow may have studied mathematics only as a matter of routine, get-ting none of its real spirit, and putting no enthusiasm nor vigor into his work. Doubtless he can carry others through the same routine afterward, hearing recitations from a text-book, and recognizing such mistakes as may be made; but "teaching" of this kind is hardly worthy of the name. Every college teacher, whether professor or tutor, ought to feel the subject which he teaches; he should be able to rouse the interest of his pupils, to stimulate thought among them, to encourage the bright ones forward, and to remove difficulties from the paths of those who lag behind. Such work can be done only by special scholars, who have taken up their life-tasks as a labor of love, and who are brimful of earnestness and enthusiasm. With the lower college classes this scholarly vigor is especially needed. The pupils must be started aright at the very beginning, for, if their interest is not awakened then, there is great danger that it may continue sleeping always. But in no part of a college course should mere perfunctory instruction be tolerated. A man may be a teaching machine, and yet fall very far short of being a teacher.

Now, having discussed the reasons governing college appointments, we may fitly consider the methods by which the appointments should be made. Suppose that there are several competent candidates for a given position; how shall one be selected, and by whom? Technically, there can be but one answer to this question, namely, that the