THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY
|TRAINING COLLEGE TEACHERS|
By W. B. PITKIN
NEW YORK CITY
YOUR American is quite willing to admit that his children, on commencement day, are not what they should be, but he is sure that he and his fellow taxpayers are not to blame. They support twice as many teachers as saloonkeepers. They have built all the machinery of education. Never were more kinds of schools, never better equipment. If, therefore, a college president were to sigh over the scarcity of good instructors, your American would not understand. He would say:
You have your buildings and your professors and your students. You offer graduate work for all who would teach. You even have teachers' colleges. And I see many young men of exceptional attainments becoming college instructors every year.
And probably the college president, too, would join in his mystification, or—what amounts to the same thing—repeat "nascitur non fit," and fancy the shortage explained. But the machinery is not complete, as either party may discover when asked to point out the exact process of training college teachers. Suddenly it will appear that there is no such process.
Every other sort of teacher is being broken in. Normal schools are swiftly filling elementary and high schools with men and women who can manage not only their subjects but also their pupils. A teachers' college prepares its students
for university and college professorships or instructorships in education; and for work as supervisors, principals and superintendents of schools, and as heads of academic or educational departments in normal and teachers' training schools; as well as professional training, both theoretical and practical, for teachers of both sexes for secondary, grammar and primary schools and kindergartens; and for special teachers of such technical subjects as domestic art, domestic science, fine arts, manual training, music, nature-study and physical education.
"Professorships in education," but no classes for ordinary professors who would educate! And so everywhere else. The university specialist is drilled for research and for the management of graduate classes during the years of his doctorate and later assistantship in laboratory or library. But where does the college teacher, the man who is to teach freshmen English and economics, pick up the tricks of his trade?
If he ever picks them up, it is by chance or cleverness and in spite of obstacles. The special knowledge he is to impart he gets well enough