/" ^N .
CONTAINING A TREATISE UPON
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL,
AND OTHER PAPERS UPON
THE TEACHEE'S QUALIFICATIONS AND WOKK.
HIRAM ORCUTT, M.A.,
PRINCIPAL OF TII.DEN IiADIES* SEMINARY.
" Discipline la the great educational process."
THOMPSON, BIGELOW, & BROWN,
25 & 29 CORNHILL.
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871,
BY THOMPSON, BIGELOW & BROWN,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.
Stereotyped and Printed by Sand, Avery, & Frye.
THE ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND LADY TEACHERS
IN THE UNITED STATES
HAVE BEEN INTRUSTED THE MANAGEMENT AND INSTRUCTION
OF TWO-THIRDS OF ALL OCR PUBLIC SCHOOLS,
WHICH WAS WRITTEN FOR THE AID AND ENCOURAGEMENT OF
ALL WHO TOIL IN THE SCHOOLROOM,
IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED
BY THEIR FRIEND,
THIBTEEN years ago, the Author published his
" Gleanings from School-Life Experience," which
has passed through several editions, and the last
one is now exhausted. That little book was sold
and read in nearly every State in the Union.
The present work is the result of a longer ex-
perience in the schoolroom (now some thirty-five
years), and presents the subjects discussed more
fully and in a different form. Yet, like its prede-
cessor, this book claims to be eminently practical.
The treatise upon " The Discipline of the
School," which comprises the opening chapter
and larger portion of the work, covers the whole
ground of school-keeping, and furnishes the young
teacher with practical suggestions upon every
topic that will be likely to occupy his attention.
It treats upon all the disciplinary agencies to be
employed in the successful management, govern-
ment, and instruction of the public school.
The other chapters, so far as they are repro-
duced from the former treatise, have been re-
written, and will, it is believed, be found both
practical and profitable to all who aim to rise in
The mathematical chapter (it will be sufficient
to say) was prepared by EPHRAIM KNIGHT, M.A.,
Teacher of Mathematics in the New-London In-
stitution, New London, N.H., who has earned an
enviable reputation as a teacher in that depart-
WEST LEBANON, N.H., November, 1871.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL ,
THE DIGNITY OF THE TEACHER'S WOBX ..... .....184
THE TEACHER'S QUALIFICATIONS. ............. 196
CONCLUDING RBMAPIMI TO TEACHEBB ............ SIT
COMMON SCHOOLS THETC HISTORY AND IMFOBTAHOB ... 234
RULES FOB THE DIVISIBILITY OF NUMBERS ......... 360
THE DISCIPLINE OF TEE SCHOOL
" y\ISCIPLINE is not the art of re-
- warding and punishing, of mak-
ing pupils speak and be silent : it is the
art of making them perform, in the most
appropriate, easy, and useful manner,
all the duties of the school."
School discipline cannot, therefore, be
confined to the government of a school,
but applies equally to management and
instruction. Schoolmaster, schoolmis-
tress, or school-teacher does not fully
describe the person who educates our
10 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
children. He is a school disciplinarian.
In other words, a good disciplinarian
must be a good teacher; for correct
teaching is one mode of discipline. And
for the same reason, a good teacher is a
good disciplinarian. Nor can good dis-
cipline or instruction be found in the
school that is not managed with ability
It is the teacher's duty to call into
activity the observation, industry, love
of learning, capacity for independent
action and self-control, of his pupils; to
rouse and direct all their faculties; to
discipline them outwardly and inwardly ;
to secure order, propriety, morality, good
manners, obedience, regularity in com-
ing, going, standing, sitting, and in pre-
paring and reciting their lessons. This is
the work of school discipline ; and these,
if accomplished, are the results of man-
aging, governing, teaching.
THE DISCIPLINE OF TEE SCHOOL. 11
From this stand-point, our subject, ex-
pands, and assumes a vast importance.
Indeed, lack of discipline is a radical,
ruinous defect in any school, and in a
large majority of the public schools in
I shall aim, in the following pages, at a
practical presentation of my subject.
Teachers in search of professional knowl-
edge do not read patiently the discus-
sion of mere theories. They want prin-
ciples and facts gleaned from the practi-
cal life-work of the schoolroom.
It has been my good fortune, during
the last thirty-five years, to have " seen
service" in every grade of school, and
under varied and complicated circum-
stances. I have been compelled, in these
relations, to study human nature, and to
observe the working of different systems
of school government, and all the meth-
ods and appliances usually adopted for
12 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
the, accomplishment of the desired ob-
I may therefore, perhaps, without pre-
sumption, view the subject from my own
stand-point, and, in a measure, in the
light of my own experience.
Discipline is itself the great edu-
cational process. The well disciplined
alone are well educated. It is the teach-
er's chief business, therefore, to disci-
pline his pupils. He cannot "add to their
stature one cubit," nor to their mental
or moral capacity one new power ; but
he can bring them under such a process
of training as will subdue their wild and
untamed impulses, develop the latent
energies of body, mind, and soul, and
direct them to a course of right action,
so that the future citizen and lawgiver
may be fitted for his great work and
School discipline has reference to
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 13
all the regulations and prohibitions, re-
straints and stimulants, which are "calcu-
lated to regulate the habits of study and
deportment, through the interesting and
important period of school life.
The object to be secured is twofold ;
viz., school vices must be prevented or
cured, and school virtues must be cul-
Among the school vices, as they have
been classified, are idleness, whispering,
disorderly movements in the school-
room, injury to property, and rudeness
of speech, or act, in the intercourse of
The school virtues to be cultivated
are suggested as the opposites of these;
viz., regularity of attendance, prompt-
ness, obedience, truthfulness, earnest-
ness, diligence, kindness, neatness, and
thoroughness in the preparation and
recitation of lessons.
14 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
And these are to be secured not only
to promote the business of the school-
room, but also for their influence in
forming habits and character.
I do not propose here to lay down a
series of fixed rules by which all teach-
ers must be governed, in the manage-
ment of their schools. No one is safe
who attempts to treat every case by a
specific rule. Yet every act of disci-
pline is subject to fixed principles which
underlie and regulate the circumstances
attending it. And the judicious teacher
will adhere to the principle, while he
varies the means and appliances to suit
the circumstances of the case.
I will now call the attention of the
readers of this Manual, to the discipli-
nary agencies to be employed in the
successful management, government, and
instruction of a school.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 15
I. THOROUGH ORGANIZATION AND CLASSIFICATION.
I have seen the school in operation, so
perfectly systematized, all its arrange-
ments so complete, and its departments
so perfectly adjusted, that the working of
its machinery not only produced no
friction, but created order, interest, and
zeal, such as secured the desired object.
I have seen these arrangements so per-,
feet, as not only to prevent general dis-
order, but to punish wrong, without the
agency of the teacher.
And, on the other hand, I have often
witnessed the utter failure of apparently
competent masters for the want of sys-
tem in the arrangement and classifica-
tion of their schools.
Organization is the first business of
the schoolroom ; and nothing else should
be attempted until this is completely
16 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
The pupils should be so arranged upon
their seats, that they will present to the
eye of a visitor system and uniformity,
and will not disturb each other in the
necessary movements of the day. The
rogues should be separated, and every
temptation to idleness and mischief re-
Irregularities must be provided for.
.They will occur in every school,, and
hence should be reduced to system and
made disciplinary. Recesses should be
at regular intervals, when one division of
the school, male or female, may be ex-
cused for ten or fifteen minutes, to take
the open air, and then the other division
in its turn. The time of recess in the
schoolroom may be spent by the teach-
er in attending to individual wants and
rendering individual assistance. It is a
suitable time also for the practice of
school gymnastics, which will, ere long,
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 17
be required in all our schools, both for
recreation and development.
There should also be an occasional
recess from study, say for two minutes,
in which pupils may whisper, ask ques-
tions, and attend to any necessary irreg-
ularities not allowed at other times.
No general disorder should be toler-
ated, even at such recesses ; no loud talk-
ing, or leaving of seats, without permis-
sion ; but special attention should be giv-
en to those disturbing habits which can-
not be avoided in the schoolroom. In
this way the last excuse is removed for
indulgence during the quiet hours of
study and recitation. The teacher can
now insist upon perfect order while or-
der is the law.
In classification, great pains should be
taken to have as few classes as possible,
and to have each pupil assigned to his
appropriate sphere, where he will work
18 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
easily and successfully, with his time
fully occupied; and to have each class
control its own specific time and place of
recitation, without change or interrup-
The school, when thoroughly organized
and classified, still needs the vigilant
care of the master, lest its machinery
become disarranged and work mischief.
The order and system thus secured will
be everywhere felt and appreciated.
2 THE NEXT NECESSITT OF THE SCHOOL is LAW.
" Order is Heaven's first law," and this
order is the result of law. Indeed, law
is the ruling agency in the universe of
God. It controls planets and suns, and
holds in subjection the very particles of
which they are composed. "Withdraw
this controlling principle from the ma-
terial world, and anarchy, confusion, and
chaos would result.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 19
Law is also a necessity in all organized
society. Man, as a social being, could
not exist without it. And so, in every
community and among every class of
men, from barbarism to the highest grade
of civilization, we find a code of laws
for the regulation and control of indi-
viduals in their social capacity. Hence,
we have civil government, family gov-
ernment, school government, each an
absolute necessity for the existence of
human beings in these various relations.
And above all and over all, the su-
preme law of God bears sway.
In the material world, these laws are
so definite and exact as to control the
smallest particle that floats in the sun-
beam, and so comprehensive as to em-
brace worlds and systems of worlds that
roll in infinite space.
So human law must be definite and
comprehensive. And to be obeyed, it
20 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
must be understood by every child, pupil,
In the government of the school, the
regulations necessary to secure order
and proper discipline must not only .be
fixed and uniform, but fully made known
to every pupil, that there may be con-
cert of action, and a harmonious work-
ing of all its members.
It will not do to trust a matter of so
much importance to the good sense and
good intentions of pupils, however much
we may confide in them. It will not do
to allow each to be " a law unto him-
self," and to act alone upon his own
responsibility. Every experienced teach-
er knows how utterly impracticable such
a theory is. And every one should take
an early opportunity to announce and
explain the principles and facts upon
which the school is to be governed. And
these necessary school laws must be
strict, and promptly enforced.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 21
Says a practical teacher on this point,
" A system of discipline ought to ac-
complish completely the object it aims
at. It should have no rules that have
not been well considered beforehand.
It should then admit of no exceptions,
but for the most imperative reasons. Let
down the bars to-day, and the scholars
will leap the fences to-morrow, and snap
their fingers at all barriers the day after.
The system, while it lasts, must be in-
flexible, earnest, strong, thorough. It is
much easier to govern perfectly than par-
tially, to say nothing of the clear gain in
temper and comfort.
If an evil ought to be prevented, let
the teacher deliberate and then prevent
it. He can, if he will. He must be
patient, but determined. If any posi-
tive advancement is to be made, the
matter should be well considered ; then
let the teacher will and act like a Napo-
22 TEACHER 'S MANUAL.
leon." [The writer, in this quotation,
could not be understood to refer to Na-
poleon III., but Napoleon I.]
Again, the pupil must be taught and
made to believe that all school regula-
tions and laws are based upon authority,
authority vested in the office of the
teacher, which is his not to withhold, but
This is the very germ and the only
foundation of good government. Let it
be distinctly understood that persuasion
may never take the place of authority.
In school management, as a means of
preventing evil, we may persuade, invite,
and win ; we may allure by kind treat-
ment, at any tune, when the necessity of
subordination is not questioned by the
pupil, or after he has been subdued by
But kindness cannot supply the place
of authority. Obedience is not a volun-
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 23
tary compliance with a request, but a
hearty response to acknowledged author-
ity, an implicit yielding to a command.
The pupil must not wait the dictates of
inclination or feeling before he yields,
but promptly obey.
In the words of another, " This is a
government, not of persuasion, not of
reasons assigned, not of the will of a
majority, but of one master. From his
decision there may be an appeal, but
" But may not the master be unreas-
onable and unjust in his requisitions ?
And if so, may not the pupil refuse to
obey ? " I answer, No. Obedience even
to an unjust command is better than dis-
obedience ; for the right to disobey, in
any instance, disarms authority, and
leaves the master powerless. Who may
decide what is right and proper ? May
the rebuked or chastised pupil pronounce
24 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
the law unjust ? Then the government
of the school is in the hands of the reck-
less. No rebel approves of the laws he
has violated ; and, if he may disobey at
discretion, all power to govern is over-
come. Lawlessness and anarchy pre-
vail. There is no remedy for this state
of things, but to demand unqualified
obedience to the laws of the school. If
injustice has been done, the pupil may
appeal to higher authority, and have the
case faithfully reviewed. This position
should be taken and maintained in every
public school, academy, seminary, and
college in the land. No discipline can
be maintained on any other principle.
But some substitute persuasion for
authority, and claim no right to enforce
submission. They would persuade the
rebel to regard their wishes, or purchase
his obedience to law. Sugar-plums,
money, or any other desired indulgence,
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 25
is offered and given on condition of
obedience. Now, mark the effect of such
discipline upon the child. Who conquers
and rule's in this instance ? The child,
and not the master.
And he soon learns that disobedience
is the best currency at his command,
to purchase the desired reward. And
hence his stubbornness becomes more
persistent, and his impudence more in-
tolerable, as he desires the greater indul-
gence. Insubordination becomes a habit ;
and he soon loses all respect for authority
and those who exercise it over him, and
grows up in reckless disregard of the
laws of the family, the school, the State,
and of high Heaven.
The present is an age of insubordina-
tion. We have fearful illustrations of
this fact in the frequent outbreak of the
rebellious spirit in our public schools,
academies, and colleges, as we have had
2(5 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
in the great Rebellion that deluged our
country in fraternal blood, and consumed
the wealth of the nation.
In the town of Canton, Mass., in the
summer of 1870, four boys, from nine to
eleven years old, who had rebelled
against the authority of the school,
afterwards assaulted the teacher on her
way to her boarding-place, and actually
stoned her to death ! In the winter of
1871, Curtis A. Wood, a school-teacher
in District No. 2, in Dudley, Mass., at-
tempted to subdue Erlow Kiblin, in re-
bellion in his schoolroom. The next
morning he was brutally assaulted, by
said Kiblin and his brother, on his way
to school. Fearless and defiant rebel-
lions are common occurrences in our
academies and colleges ; and in some in-
stances, within a few years, they have
assumed so much importance as to
threaten the very existence of the insti-
TEE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 27
If these children and youth had been
properly trained under law, and the
authority rightfully vested in their
parents and masters, would such fearful
and disgraceful scenes have been wit-
nessed, and such crimes committed ?
Surely not. Then lack of discipline is
an evil to be deplored and corrected.
School law has its disciplinary power
and influence while yet unbroken, and
when no penalties appear. As gravita-
tion, which controls and directs planets
and suns in their orbits, is as really
demonstrated while they move on in
undisturbed harmony in their wonted
course, as it would be if one of these
planets which had left its beaten track
should, under the discipline of law, be
restored to its accustomed sphere.
Indeed, the very object of school law
is to prevent and not to punish evil.
The necessity of punishment as often
28 TEACHER'S MANUAL
results from the absence of rigid authori-
ty, as from any other cause.
Pupils must be subject to the laws of
the school at all times and everywhere,
in the schoolroom, by the way, and at
their homes. I assume it as an axiom,
that, so far as the pupil's conduct can
affect the welfare of the school, he
should be under the control of the mas-
ter. Parents should co-operate with
the teacher in enforcing school laws ;
but, if they fail to do this, the teacher
should enforce them by his own authori-
ty, whenever and wherever the good of
the school requires.
And to enable him to retain this pow-
er, without question, he should never
dismiss his pupils from the opening of
the term until its close. He may ex-
cuse them for recess for a few moments,
for an hour, for a night, for a day or
two, as the case may be, but not dismiss
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 29
them. He can, in this way, hold them
under his authority and control their
actions during the hours of recreation,
as well as when they are employed in
study and recitation. This control is
as important in the one case as in the
other ; and that master who is deprived
of the right in question has no longer
the power to govern his school.
3. ANOTHER IMPORTANT AGENCY IN SCHOOL,
DISCIPLINE is WORK.
Work is equally important both for
master and pupils. Indolence in him
begets idleness and recklessness in them.
Life, energy, and industry manifested by
him will be at once reproduced in them.
The teacher must work to fit himself
for his high calling, and to elevate
his profession. He must work for his
school, to interest and benefit his
patrons, to rouse and inspire his pupils,
30 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
and to prepare himself for his daily
teaching. Indeed, the true teacher is
always reading, thinking, or acting for
his school. He has no other business
on hand, and no other object in view,
but to perfect himself in the art, and to
earn success in practical teaching.
The good teacher also manages to
make his pupils work.
Study and recitation are their only
.business in the schoolroom. But, in
a well-governed school, it is not often
necessary to enforce industry. Children
and youth naturally love work. Among
the thousands in our families and public
schools, not one indolent child can be
found, unless he has been made so
by the mismanagement of parents or
teachers. Every child of common men-
tal and physical ability is full of activity,
and not only craves knowledge, but is
fond of study.
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 31
And it is the teacher's business to
direct and encourage this necessary
The studies pursued must be adapted
to the capacity and standing of each
scholar. They must not be so difficult
as to cause discouragement, nor so easy
as to encourage idleness.
His time must be fully occupied, to
keep him out of mischief ; and his ener-
gies must be severely tasked, that he
may secure the benefit of mental disci-
pline. If his lessons could be learned
without effort, his school-life would, so
far, be without profit.
But an industrious and laborious
school not only requires no outward
discipline, but is sure of improvement.
The teacher should, therefore, spare no
pains to awaken the interest and occupy
the time of his pupils, that he may gain
these desirable objects.
32 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
4 STILL ANOTHER MOULDING AND CONTROLLING
POWER ix SCHOOL, is PUBLIC OPINION.
This must be created and directed by
the teacher, or he is powerless.
And, first; he must create a favorable
opinion of himself. By this I mean, he
must gain the confidence of his patrons
To this end he must become intimate-
ly acquainted with the parents of his
pupils and with the pupils themselves,
not so much in his official capacity, as
in the relations of private life, at home
and by the way.
As the teacher moves round among
his patrons, he must interest himself in
whatever interests them, and adapt him-
self to their varying tastes and employ-
With the farmer he must be interest-
ed in crops and animals ; with the me-
THE DISCIPLINE OF THE SCHOOL. 33
chanic, in works of art ; with the mer-
chant, in merchandise and trade ; with
the mother, he must not forget the
children which constitute their mutual
care, nor fail to notice the little darling
that occupies the nearest place to that
mother's heart. To neglect the young-
est children is to incur the mother's dis-
pleasure, which may result in unpopu-
larity -with the whole family, and per-
haps the whole neighborhood.
The master must be on terms of
friendship and in full sympathy with all
who are interested in the success of the
school, if he would himself achieve the
greatest success. He must also gain
the confidence and esteem of his pupils.
Indeed, the opinion of the teacher en-
tertained in the district is generally the
measure of his popularity in school.
Comparatively few parents ever visit the
schoolroom, to learn from their own ob-
34 TEACHER'S MANUAL.
servation either the success or failure
of the school. They are in full sympa-
thy with their children, and generally
reflect their views and feelings in regard
to the teacher.
But the master will not gain the con-
fidence of his pupils by an attempt to
gratify all their wishes. The reckless
are always the first to find fault with
loose discipline. If he would be re-
spected in his office, he must govern
with sternness and vigor. He must act
with kindness, magnanimity and justice;
must sympathize with childhood and
youth, and may sometimes join in their
games and share their pastimes. Out of
the schoolroom he may throw off the
master, and -become a companion with