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The influence a master has over his scholars is very great; the veneration wherewith they regard him is almost equal to idolatry, and that simply by his conduct in his station; so much so, that they are all his willing servants, and doubly proud to be his ambassadors on trivial occasions: his smiles are precious, and even bitter things are sweet, when bestowed by his hand.
The following quotation may be worthy the reader's attention:-“ By way of sport, or to try the dexterity of the pupils, the master leads them to a clump of trees, and, while he is counting fifteen, every one must climb up some tree, so high, as to be out of the reach of his cane; all exert themselves, with much laughter, to escape the stick, as if some wild beast were at their heels; if any one be defec
tive in agility, he will be reached, and receive the penance of a few playful strokes." --Sallzmann's Gymnastics for Youth, page 225.
These playful strokes, from a companion or an equal, would most likely produce a tough battle, and black eyes; but from a master; -a beating, we read, is taken very pleasantly. The effects of approbation, or the contrary, expressed by the senior boys to lesser, seem to carry a degree of weight, almost similar to that of their master. Whenever a neat, ingenious trick, of a mischievous nature, has been played, we may be sure some arch wag, who officiates as captain of the gang, perhaps a Franklin*, was the original and life of the conspiracy.
* “When embarked with other children, the helm was commonly deputed to me, particularly on difficult occasians; and in every other project, I was almost always the leader of the troop, whom I sometimes involved in embarrassments. I shall give an instance of this, which demonstrates an early disposition of mind for public enterprizes, though the one in question was not conducted by justice. The mill-pond was terminated on one side by a marsh, upon which we were accustomed to take our stand, at high water, to angle for small fish. By dint of walking, we had converted the place into a perfect quagmire. My proposal was to ereçt a wharf, that should afford us firm footing, and I pointed out to my companions a large heap of stones, intended for the building a new house near the marsh, and which were well adapted to the purpose. Accordingly, when the workmen retired in the evening, I assembled a number of my play-fellows, and by labouring diligently, like ants, sometimes four of us uniting to carry a single stone, we removed them all, and constructed our little quay. The workmen were surprized next morning
The predominant feature in the youthful disposition is an almost irresistible propensity to action; this, if properly controlled by suitable employment, will become a valuable auxiliary to the master; but, if neglected, will be apt to degenerate into rebellion, Active youths, when treated as cyphers, will generally show their consequence by exercising themselves in mischief. I am convinced, by experience, that it is practicable for teachers to acquire a proper dominion over the minds of the youth under their care, by directing those active spirits to good purposes. This liveliness should never be repressed, but directed to useful ends; and I have ever found, the surest way to cure a mischievous boy was to make him a monitor. I never knew any thing succeed much better, if so well.
In education nothing can be more important than economy of time, even when we have a reasonable prospect of a good portion of it at our disposal; but it is most peculiarly necessary in primary schools, and in the instruction of the poor:--cases wherein the pupil seldom has too much on his hands; and very often a fine genius or noble talents are lost to the state, and to mankind, from the want of it. If we wish to do the best for the welfare of youth, and to promote their interest through life, it will be well for us to study economy of their precious time.
at not finding their stones, which had been conveyed to our wharf. Enquiries were made respecting the authors of this conveyance: we were discovered; complaints were urged against us; many of us underwent correction on the part of our parents; and though I strenuously defended the utility of the work, my parents at length convinced me, that nothing but what was strictly honest could be use ful." --See Life and Works of Dr. Franklin. Vol. I.
“ Be careful of time,” says the philosopher, “ for time is the stuff life is made of.” In
this respect, I would recommend the teachers of + youth, for example, to the industry of the Chinese
waterman, who plies one oar with his right foot, another with his left hand, dexterously guiding the sail, in the mean time, with his right hand, while he enjoys his whiff of tobacco seemingly quite at his
As a further proof of the benefit resulting from this mode of instruction, the following instance is remarkable. Several boys belonging to my school were in the habit of playing truant continually. This habit was contracted, as it usually is, by frequenting bad, idle company. One boy seemed quite incorrigible: his father got a log and chain, chained it to his foot, and in that condition, beating him all the way, followed him to school repeatedly. Nothing was of any avail--neither was the lad reformed by any thing the parent could do. At last he was reformed by a contest about an old rusty mail. I am not fond of laying wagers; but, without