Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/132

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122
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

us of malting one of these little ones to offend. Perhaps if I might sum up in a single phrase the teacher's true temper toward his pupils, especially boys in a large school, I should say it is one of sympathetic severity. . . . Severity is not worth much if it stands alone. It may be said that severity without sympathy is a guarantee of failure.

"There is one word, and only one, that I have simply begged my colleagues never to use in their reports of boys—the word 'hopeless.' Masters and mistresses may perhaps be hopeless, I can not tell; but boys and girls—never.

"An angry schoolmaster, or rather a schoolmaster who can not control his anger, is the drunken helot of the profession. In an angry moment words are spoken, deeds are done, that are irreparable. Fling away from you the poisoned shafts of sarcasm; they are forbidden to the humanities of school life. "It appears to be the particular danger of schoolmasters and schoolmistresses that their profession has naturally a cramping or narrowing influence upon the mind; it is therefore the primary duty of all teachers to take every opportunity of enlarging and liberalizing their views. The schoolmaster must not be a schoolmaster only; he must be more than a schoolmaster. He must be a man of wide interests and information; he must move freely in the world of affairs. Fill your pitchers, however humble they may be, at the wide and ever-flowing stream of human culture. It is my counsel, as a precaution against narrowness, that you indulge largely and lavishly in reading. You can hardly read too much. It may be a paradox to say so; but I doubt if it matters much what you read, so long as you read widely. . ., Novelreading I conscientiously recommend. It will take you out of yourselves, and that is perhaps the best holiday that any one can have. It will give your minds an edge, an elasticity. The peril of reading no novels is much more serious than that of reading too many. . . . Apollo himself does not keep his bow on the stretch forever, and most of us need relaxation as much as Apollo."

The above is good advice, and happy is it for those who can take it to heart and act upon it—for those whose faculties have not been already so deadened by a mechanical routine as to be incapable of the ambition of individual culture. Dr. Weldon speaks and writes from the elevated standpoint of head master of one of the great English public schools, a position of as great independence probably as any the educational world affords, and one in which there is infinite scope for the exercise of individuality. The position of the average public-school teacher is very different. To the latter functionary individuality may be a personal advantage, but it may easily become, from a professional point of view, a burden and a drag through the lack of encouragement or even opportunity for its exercise. That the advice given by Dr. Weldon as to reading is not very widely followed out by teachers in this country was proved some few years ago by some one who took the trouble to write to all the principal public libraries to ascertain to what extent teachers took advantage of the privileges which these institutions afforded. We forget the precise result of the inquiry; but it showed that the teachers, as a body, used the libraries almost less than any other class of the community. We recall this fact in no unfriendly spirit, but solely with a view of showing to a public that is hard to convince on this point how far we are from having as yet commanded the most successful conditions for general education.

 

 

THE SCIENTIFIC ALLIANCE.

The formation of the Scientific Alliance of New York marks an important step in the scientific movements of this city, and will not be without beneficial influence, we believe, in the advancement of research in the country at