ises and to his threats, or regardless of all 1 and on which
of these accounts were you willing to be directed by him ?
Did he appear affectionate and kind in all his intercourse,
or did he seem to delight in giving you pain and fear ?
and with which of these traits of character were you
better pleased ? Did he convince you that he was your
friend, and that he desired your good, even at the expense
of his own ease ? or did he act as if he were the friend
of no one but himself? Was he ever ready to assist you
to the extent of his ability, or did he send you away
without answering your questions or solving your doubts ?
Did he prove to you by his whole conduct, that he desir-
ed to benefit the school in the greatest degree of which
he was capable, or did he appear to regard little else
than to obtain the stipulated reward ? and on which ac-
count do you now remember him with affection and in-
You are at no loss to decide these questions. Let
them, then, serve as a directory to you, in making the
inquiry, how you can secure that degree of confidence
on the part of your scholars, which will enable you to
benefit them in the degree which you desire. If partic-
ular directions on this subject are required, I will say,
First, Endeavor to convince the scholars that you are
their friend, that you aim at their improvement, and
desire their best good. It will not take long to convince
them of this, if you do so in reality ; and if you pursue
the course with them, which would, with your own in-
structer, have excited this belief in you, with r.egard to
him. Remember, however, that merely a declaration of
being their friend, will be very far from proving you to
be such, or convincing them of it. You- would not have
been convinced by the mere declaration of your instruc-
ter, if this declaration had not been supported by his
conduct. Expect not then, that telling your scholars,
you are a friend, and greatly desire their good, will
gain you their confidence. You must prove it to them
by showing a greater regard for their welfare than for
your own ease.
Secondly, In order to secure a proper degree of their
confidence, you must not be hasty. Be not hasty to re-
prove, be not hasty to praise ; be not hasty to promise,
be not hasty to threaten ; be not hasty to punish, and be
_ not ready to forget a fault. There is somewhere an old
proverb, 'Haste makes waste, and waste brings want.'
Haste in schools in any of the particulars specified, will
bring want of confidence. Whatever is done in haste
is seldom done well. In school it must of necessity sub-
ject you frequently to the mortification of countermand-
ing your order, of failing to fulfil your promise, or of
exciting the belief in the minds of your scholars that
you are forgetful. It is generally true, that in every sit-
uation, the deliberate man accomplishes the most ; but,
in none is deliberation more important, than in him who
is to exercise authority over a large community. Loss
of time is not, however, the greatest inconvenience of
being hasty in school ; there must be loss of confidence
on the part of the scholars. You are well aware that
you place but little confidence in any man who bears the
character of being hasty, be his calling or station what
Thirdly, If you wish to secure the confidence of your
54 LECTURES TO
school, never allow yourself to speak angrily or unusual-
ly loud and be sure never to fret or scold. All these
things are disagreeable. And surely you cannot expect
to secure the confidence of a school, by indulging your-
self in those habits which must make you disagreeable to
Fourthly, You will secure the confidence of the school
by being punctual in every thing. Punctuality in busi-
ness of every kind, gains confidence. It prevents the
loss of time, and secures opportunity for every duty. It
is no where more important, than in schools. Without
it, you can accomplish but little. If, after due delibera-
tion, you make a promise, be sure to keep it. If you
say that neglect of duty will be followed by punishment,
be sure to inflict it. If you require a child to do this or
that, see that it is done exactly as you ^require. To let
him go, when he has obeyed you but in part, will be
little better, than not to be obeyed at all. By being
punctual in fulfilling every promise, you will not be ac-
cused of falsifying your word. Your scholars will not
ask a second time for any indulgence which you may
once have denied them. They will know what you
mean, when you say yes, or no ; and thus, you will have
By observing these principles, and acting in a manner
corresponding to them, you will be able to gain that as-
cendancy over your youthful charge, which is necessary
to enable you to benefit them. You will find it impossi-
ble to secure their confidence by the opposite course,
for it is opposed to the principles of our nature.
The next general direction which I wish to give, is,
Be willing to devote your whole time, and strive to make the
most judicious use of it. If you have made no reserve
of any part of your time, the whole belongs to your em-
ployers. I know not that there is any thing morally
wrong in making an agreement to reserve a portion of
time, to be devoted to your own purposes. But it does
seem to me manifestly wrong, if no such agreement have
been made with your employers, for you to use any con-
siderable portion of it for your own private benefit, in-
stead of that of the school. This rule ought to be ob-
served) whether the school be large or small ; whether
your wages be high or low. If you have made an en-
gagement, for even less than a just compensation, this
cannot alter your obligation to the children placed
under your care. They are not to be injured, if their
parents have misjudged in regard to what ought to be
your hire. You had your choice whether to engage or
not, and if you have consented to work for a less com-
pensation than you ought to receive, your obligation is
still the same as if you were to receive more. If you
have engaged to keep the school, without having made
any reserve, you are under obligation to give your pupils
all the time which you can render useful to them. This
direction may seem to you unreasonable, or impractica-
ble. If so, I have only to ask you to examine it attent-
ively, and if you shall then conclude, that you cannot
bring yourselves to adopt the spirit of it, I hope you will
renounce the idea of teaching, and choose some other
business. I do not mean by this, to say that you ought
not to take the time necessary for exercise and rest, and
for answering the claims of friendship. This would be
expected under any engagement whatever. It is expect-
ed in all other public employments, and it is equally pro-
per in yours.
But you will inquire, how you can spend the whole of
your time profitably for your school, when you are with
them ordinarily no more than six hours in a day ? I
will answer by giving you some account of my friend
Benevolus. On commencing his school, his first object
was to learn the state of improvement, the capacity and
the disposition of every scholar. His next inquiry was,
how shall I benefit each scholar, to the utmost of my
power ? This inquiry was continued with him, during
the whole time he was with them, and excited him to
constant effort to do them good. The copy books of the
school were all carried to his room, and his first work in
the morning was to prepare them for writing through the
day. He ruled them himself, and wrote out all the cop-
ies. This occupied his time, till it \vas necessary to re-
pair to the school room, which he did half an hour be-
fore the time of opening school, in order that he might
56 LECTURES TO
be assured, that a fire had been properly made, and the
house suitably prepared for the scholars when they should
arrive. When the morning exercises were finished, he
retired to his boarding house, or to some house nearer,
as might be most convenient. Two or three of his
scholars were expected to hand in letters or composi-
tions each day, in .their turn ; and the intermission of
the regular exercises was devoted to correcting them,
and suggesting such improvements as might be beneficial
to the writers. After the hour of dismissal had arrived,
he secured the fire and left the house. In the evening he
met a class or more as might be convenient, and devot-
ed his attention usually to a single branch. One even-
ing he requested a meeting of his scholars in arithmetic ;
the next, he assembled his grammarians, especially those
who were beginners. The third evening of the week
was devoted to a class in geography ; the fourth to a
class in reading, and the fifth to spelling. If, at any
time, it was not convenient for a class to meet, or for
him to have an evening school, his time was occupied
with the children of the family where he boarded, or
those of some other family, or in preparing some illus-
tration to be used in the school the next day. Thus Ben-
evolus found enough to do during the whole day. He
was never out of employment. Seeing him so much
engaged for them, the scholars became as much engaged
for themselves. Parents also became awake to the in-
terest of the school, and used every effort to produce an
early and a constant attendance of their children. Ben-
evolus taught not only in a single district, but successive-
ly in several, and in different states, and the same means
were used by him and the same results were experienc-
edr He found but very few who did not become greatly
interested in their studies. The spirit of the instructer
seemed to be infused into the whole school, and parents
were commonly forward to acknowledge that the school
made more than double the progress it had usually made
before. It seemed to my friend a thing highly ridiculous
to hear a schoolmaster say, he could not find enough to
occupy all his time, when he was surrounded with twen-
ty young persons of various ages.
If it be true that double the usual improvement might
be made in district schools generally, (I speak of schools
in the country and not of those in cities and large towns)
the subject is one of no ordinary importance. Let me
ask you then to reflect on it a moment longer. Suppose
the number of scholars in a school amount to forty.
The time, board, wear of apparel and use of books, can-
not be estimated at less for each than $1,50 a week.
The wages and board of the master will at least amount
to six dollars a week, and probably more, if we include
the expense of fuel for the school. The school then
costs sixty-six dollars a week, or two hundred and sixty-
four dollars a month. If there are six such schools in a
town, the expense of them is fifteen hundred andxeighty-
four dollars a month. Suppose each school is to contin-
ue two and a half months, the cost to the town is three
thousand nine hundred and sixty dollars, for a single
season. Now if there is but half the improvement made,
that might be made, we cannot consider the actual loss
at less than half this sum.
'If any, after looking at the subject in this light, are
unwilling to devote their whole time to the work, I would
again make the request, that they turn their atten-
tion to some other employment, and not occasion so
great a loss to the community. Leave the work to those
who will enter upon it with greater spirit and who are
willing to spare no pains.
I have been led to the direction last given from having
the conviction forced upon me, that many who have of-
fered their services as teachers, have had no higher mo-
tives in so doing, than the attainment of a pecuniary re-
ward. But while I am firm in the belief that ' the la-
borer is worthy of his hire,' and while I am as firmly of
the opinion that the ordinary compensation is lower than
it ought to be, I cannot conceive that any one ought to
engage in this highly responsible business, merely for the
purpose of compensation. In business less responsible,
it may be justifiable to make that the first object. But
where an influence so important is to be exerted an in-
fluence that will probably affect the character and hap-
piness of many, during the rest of their lives; it does
53 LECTURES TO
seem to me that patriotism, to say nothing of higher in-
ducements, requires that the first object of a teacher
should be to do good, and that those only should engage
in teaching, who are willing to devote the largest portion
of their time, that can be rendered beneficial to the
school. How often is it said in our hearing, 'that our
school has done us no good,' that 4 it has been worse
than none' that * the money might as well have been
thrown away.' I will not charge every failure on the in-
structer. It does not always belong to him ; but I am
persuaded, that a large majority of the instances of fail-
ure in the success of schools, is to be in part attributed
to the teacher. Let every one engage heartily in his
work, and devote his whole time to his business, and
instances where the school does more evil than good, will
be very rare.
The preceding Lectures have regarded subjects, which
ought to claim your attention previous to entering the
school-room. This, and the several following, will relate to
your more immediate duties as teachers. The next di-
rection therefore is, GOVERN YOUR SCHOOL. This is a
direction of great importance. Unless you govern those
placed under your care, all your other exertions will be
nearly or quite in vain.
' Order is Heaven's first law.'
Without subordination on the part of your scholars,
without good government on your own, you may as well
expect the course of nature to change, as that your school
will make any considerable progress. In order to be
able to govern your pupils, remember you must govern
yourselves, If the instructer have but little command
over his own feelings, if he be angry at one time, fretful
at another, easily excited to laughter at another he can-
not exhibit that firames of purpose, which always com-
mands respect. ' Correction administered in anger has
no effect to humble or reclaim the offender.' It shows
even to a child, that he who administers it, is guilty of a
fault as great as his own. Temptations to excitement
will undoubtedly occur. A scholar may be impudent ;
from his ignorance of good manners, or in a sudden gust
of passion, he may, perhaps, grossly insult you. Hard-
ly any thing is more apt to call forth anger, than an in-
sult from an inferior. But still the indulgence of anger
is very unwise. If a pupil commit a fault he ought cer-
tainly to be called to an account ; but if the teacher, by
an unmanly indulgence of passion, descend to the level
of a child, he cannot expect to benefit him materially by
any correction administered in such a state of mind.
There is another particular, in which it is very impor-
tant you should govern yourselves. Be careful to make
no contemptuous remarks concerning any of your pupils.
Such remarks may excite a smile from the rest of the
school, but it will not be the smile of approbation. The
affections of that pupil, you have lost ; and every effort,
to benefit him by your instructions, will do him very little
good. You may, and will often see things that might
seem to give occasion for such remarks but as your de-
sign is to benefit your scholars, use a proper method to
correct the fault, and there let it rest. If the pupil make
a blunder, he may be reproved calmly for his careless-
ness, but never should he be made the butt of ridicule.
It is of equal importance that you should govern your-
selves in regard to such speeches as may hold up families
to derision. You may see many things, in family man-
agement to excite a smile, and many things which really
deserve censure. But such censure does not come well
from the instructer of their children. To be ridiculed
by the schoolmaster will have very little effect to correct
improprieties. If you say any thing at all let it be sim-
ply a remark on what has been the mode or what has
been the opinion of others, and leave the school to draw
the inference for themselves. I will not blame you for
60 LECTURES TO
being diverted, sometimes, at what you may observe in
family management. I know well that the eccentricity^
sometimes observable, cannot fail to amuse or to vex
you. But still, keep your reflections to yourselves.
Some of these points may appear of very trilling im-
portance to you, out much of your success, in the busi-
ness of teaching, depends on little tilings.
After having used proper exertions to govern your-
selves, you will be prepared to govern those placed un-
der your care. An important object will have been gain-
ed, when you have brought yourselves to feel that to gov-
ern the school is of primary importance, and that you
can and will have proper discipline and order. When
you have imbibed these feelings, your scholars will read
them in your countenance, and will expect nothing else.
But the moment the instructor indulges in the apprehen-
sion, that he cannot govern that it is impossible for him
to have proper order, he may just as well tell his feelings
to the whole school ; the scholars will not be slo\fr to
read his thoughts, and will ' govern themselves accord-
It is not my design to say, that all have equal ability
to govern, or that the object is accomplished when the
teacher has made the decided resolve to be master ; but J
wish to be understood to say, that no one can exercise a
proper and uniform authority, any longer than he be-
lieves he can do so. This is a natural principle. When
we believe we can obtain a desired object, we try, but
when we think we cannot, our efforts are feeble.
The next direction in regard to government is, Con-
sider your scholars as reasonable and intelligent beings.
As such, they will be influenced by motives, when prop-
erly presented. They may easily be brought to know;
that they are happier when they do right than when they
do wrong. And when the right and the wrong are both
placed distinctly before them, they will seldom call the
wrong object the right, or the reverse. Right and wrong
may be exhibited to the child of very few years, and he
may be required to decide which he will pursue. This
appeal will usually exert a far better influence upon him,
in leading him to duty, than any that can be effected by
the infliction of stripes.*
I shall be better understood in what I wish to say on
this point by an example.
A complaint is made to the instructer, by George
against John. John is accused of having struck and
otherwise injured his school-fellow. After ascertaining
the fact, and finding that the complaint is not without
foundation, let a course like the following be pursued.
Instructer. John, I am sorry to find a complaint of
this kind brought against you. You have been so unwise
as to make yourself unhappy, and to make others un-
happy also. You may stand up and answer some ques-
tion, which I wish to ask you. Is it right for one schol-
ar to beat or abuse another 7
John. No, sir.
Inst. Do you think that the school could make any
good progress in study, if all the scholars should treat
each other, as you have treated George 1
John. I think not.
Inst. Are you willing that one of the larger boys
should beat you, or otherwise abuse you ?
John. No, sir.
Inst. Well, do you think it is right for you to do to
others, as you are unwilling they should do to you 1
John, I do not think it is.
[This answer will, almost invariably, be given. Not
one child in a thousand would give a different one, where
the teacher commences with him in a deliberate and
gentle manner. Conscience tells him he has done wrong,
and he must be uncommonly hardened, to say that he
has done right. If he be inclined to excuse himself, be-
cause George said or did something that displeased him,
he should be shown that he is accountable for his own
conduct, and that misbehaviour in another person does
not alter the nature of his own offence. That the of-
fence of one, does not justify a far greater error in an-
other, may be shown by reference to any judicial pro-
* See Lect. xi of this edition.
62 LECTURES TO
Inst. When one scholar injures another, ought he to
make any satisfaction for it ?
John. I suppose he ought.
Inst. Well, do you think that you ought make any
satisfaction to George ?
John. I don't know but I ought.
Inst. I wish you to give me a definite answer. Is it
right or is it wrong for you to make satisfaction 1
John. It is right.
Inst. Are you willing to do right when you know
what is right ?
John. [After some hesitation,] Yes, sir.
Inst. Are you willing then to go to George and
make satisfaction ?
[Here he will probably hesitate again, but after re-
peating the question several times, will probably say
that he is. In pursuing a mode similar to this, a great
many times, I have scarcely found an instance where
the culprit has not said he was willing to make satisfac-
tion to the injured party. He may then be sent to
George, to ask what satisfaction he shall make. George
will probably say, ' ask forgiveness,' or something simi-
lar. If such a course appear reasonable, he should be
required to do so, and then to return to the master.]
Inst. You have done what is right, in regard to
George, but that does not make satisfaction to others
who have been injured. You have set a very bad exam-
ple, have broken the rules of the school, and have
caused the loss of time, which might have been improved
in gaining knowledge. Is it not right, therefore, that I
should have satisfaction in behalf of the school ?
John. I suppose it is.
Inst. Yes, it is right that every offence should be
suitably atoned for. And this must be complied with in
your case. I have not, however reflected on the subject
sufficiently, and shall defer it till two o'clock to-mor*
row, and shall attend to it precisely at the time ap-
pointed. I hope you will yourself reflect much on the
subject, and be able to tell me what is right for me to
It has ever appeared to me, that punishment, if it be-
come necessary in any case, should be deferred for a sea-
son. But precisely at the time set, it should be attended
to. By deferring the subject, as in the case above-men-
tioned, the pupil has opportunity to reflect. He is in-
duced to reflect on the nature of his offence, that he may
form an idea of the punishment he shall probably re-
ceive. Such reflection will be of more service to him,
than any severity whatever. Indeed, I have seldom
been obliged to call a scholar to account more than
once, where I have pursued the course here recom-
I will suppose another case, to illustrate the direction
to treat the scholars as moral and intellectual beings.
Laura comes to the master and wishes to be excused
from writing a composition, which has been required of
Instructor. Why do you wish me to excuse you,
Laura. I don't know what to write I cannot write
any thing fit to be seen.
Inst. Well, Laura, we will converse about it. Do
you wish to be excused from spelling, reading, or writ-
Laura. No, sir.
Inst. Why not from these as well as from writing
Laura. They are easy, arid besides we could not do
Inst. Could you always read, Laura ?
Laura. No, sir.
Inst. How is it that you can read now ?
Laura. I have learned how.
Inst. How long were you in trying to read, before
you could read with ease ?
Laura. I do not know, it was a long time.
Inst. Did you tell the master that you wished to be
excused, and that you never could learn, and that you
could not read in a way fit to be heard ?
Laura. No, I did not.
Inst. I saw you knitting and sewing the other day :
could you always knit and sew ?
64 LECTURES TO
Laura. I could not.
In st. How then, can you now?
Laura. Because I have learned.
In st. How did you learn ?
Laura. By trying.
Inst. Did you tell your mother she must excuse you
from knitting and sewing, for you did not know how ?
Laura. I did not.
Inst. Why did you not ?
Laura. I knew if I did not keep trying I could never
learn, and so I, kept on.
Inst. Do you think it is necessary to know how to
write letters, and to express ourselves properly when
Laura. O yes, sir.
Inst. You expect to have occasion to write letters, do