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kind. Some of you may think that such exhortations are well enough for Institutes; they round a period admirably. As for us, our motives and aspirations are those of ordinary mortals, and if we get through our school work passably we shall be satisfied. I can only say that whether you accept these teachings or not they are divinely true. Whoever takes them into the heart, and moulds the life by them, has not only found the secret of success but " a peace which flows like a river.”

I hope I shall not be accused of egotism if I say in conclusion that the part of my life to which I look back with most satisfaction is that which was given to the public schools and the public library. My only regret is that I discharged my duties so imperfectly, and that I did not give more time, thought, and labor, to them. My enthusiasm for, and interest in, them increases rather than diminishes.

If I have been able to say anything which shall be of the least help to you, teachers, I shall be more than repaid. To you, now, at the beginning of another school year, is intrusted the administration of a grand instrumentality for enlightening and elevating society in our city. As each of you does the work well or ill so will the grand result be marred or perfected. This year, as in the past, you will no doubt, be subjected to much unjust criticism; the perversities of parents and children will sorely try your patience; your hearts will oftentimes fail, but if you do your duty bravely and well you will be solaced by the best consolations accorded to man in this world, the favor of God and the approval of a good conscience.


Defence against what? The exactions of examining boards? the fault-finding of parents ? the parsimony of school directors ? Yes, with many teachers these constitute not only valid causes of antagonism, but indeed the sole ones. But, however justifiable the opposition at times to one or all of these annoyances, we purpose to say nothing concerning them at the present. Defence then against what, pray? We answer, against the natural tendencies of the teacher's occupation.


The first of these, which we shall notice, is the tendency toward shortness of life. The teacher is generally regarded as a very short-lived, if not positively the shortest-lived of all human workers—the ephemera of the species. Just in what way this impression has come about we may not certainly decide; unless, perhaps, it has been effected through the agency of certain would-be authoritative tables of vital statistics, which have not unfrequently (we were about to say graced, but we will say) gloomed the columns of our daily newspapers. Examining one of these tables, you will find at the tip-top, or thereabouts, of a long list the doctors of divinity, of physic, and of law-the health aristocracy of the race,-at the bottom, or uncomfortably near it, you will discover the teacher, timorously picking up a few despised crumbs of the bread of life; while, lying between, at all degrtes of vital endowment, and hopelessly separating the foregoing extremes, stretched a vast, immovable company of hewers of wood and drawers of water; of brawny, begrimed sons of Vulcan and delicate, immaculate daughters of Terpsichore, of those that delve in the depths of the earth and of those that scratch upon its surface. Perhaps we shall be allowed to remark, in passing, that, in addition to the feeling of sadness that such a table is calculated to inspire in the mind of the teacher on the score of relative vitality, there is produced that sadder impression which an exhibition of his antipodal removal from all that is accredited holy and honorable and professional occasions.

Well, suppose that it is so; that the Eagle, with his capacious talons full of unspent energies, his broad wings plumed with multiplied years and his eye radiant with the concentrated lustre of countless suns, a type of the goodly life advantages vouchsafed the doctors and lawyers and divines; and that the May Fly, whose birth, life, and death are clasped by a few sunny hours (perhaps not so sunny either), and whose organism is hardly more robust than a morning mist, is a fitting emblem of the teacher's brief sojourn; what then? Why, clearly, let the teacher cease to contemplate the bold evolutions of the centennial bird, and look carefully into the uncertain movements of the ephemeral insect.

Does the teacher's occupation involve life-shortening influ. ences? That it does, no teacher either of experience or intelli

gence will deny. And then influences, like electricity, are twofold-positive and negative. The negative, we will say, consists in the deprivation the teacher experiences of external, atmospheric air, of solar light, and of out-of-door exercise ; while the positive includes the sufferance of all those physical discomforts and injuries engendered by the close, vitiated air, the imperfect light, and the restricted bodily movements of the school-room. Presuming that no teacher will for an instant deny the existence of these evil influences, nor underestimate their deadly weight, the only question admissible concerning them is, how to mitigate, if not wholly to counteract, their baleful effects.


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And first as to a remedy for the positive evils. That thesefoul air, imperfect light, and sedentariness should prevail to an alarming degree, is, we affirm, the teacher's own fault,-a grave fault, too,-the very gravest; for it is not only murderous in its issue, but also suicidal. For with the school-room that, as a rule, the present fair-minded public furnishes-commodious, well-windowed, well-registered, and with floor space enough to admit of considerable movement, there can be no good reason why a fairly wholesome measure of air, light, and exercise should not be preserved. The responsibility of not maintaining such a possible status lies, as we have just said, with the teacher; and is traceable either to the ignorance or indifference -both alike culpable—that permits a mismanagement of the means at hand. It is generally supposed that an engineer, to whom is committed the management of a steam apparatus, is the subject of a momentous trust. And so one is assured when one observes how constantly he moves about from place to place, trying a gauge here, examining an indicator there, tightening at this point, and lubricating at that, now admitting a supply of water, now releasing a surplus of steam, again, increasing or diminishing the quantity of fuel, and so on, at almost every moment making some change that is essential to a safe and satisfactory handling of the precarious forces in his charge. Well, a little experience, if not reflection, ought to convince a teacher that his office is one that demands, if not more, then, at least, as constant and as intelligent attention as that of an engineer. It is not enough that the pupils be properly seated, that the warm-air register be partly closed and the cold-air register be partly opened, that the window-blinds be thrown back, and the thermometer examined; an occasional change of the pupil's position, a frequent glance at the thermometer and consequent modification of the supply of warm and cold air, and re-adjustments, now and then, of the windowblinds,--these and numerous other attentions, must be constantly bestowed, if the teacher would properly regulate and heathfully operate the vital forces committed to his care, and thereby insure, as well for himself as for his pupils, a tolerably safe conduct through the perils of study hours. And if, in spite of his facilities, he shall neglect properly to attend to these imperative duties, he may blame none but himself for dying from gradual asphyxia and excessive inertia; and moreover, his premature decease, instead of the sympathy it generally elicits, may well awaken a suspicion, not in the mind of the grave-digger only, as to whether he deserves Christian burial.



Next, as to a remedy for the negative evils that attend the teacher-the deprivation of out-of-door sunlight, air, and exercise. No edifice erected by human hands, though it should excel in sanitary facilities the best appointed of our present schoolhouses by as considerable a stretch as these surpass their worst predecessors, can answer, except to a very limited extent, the inestimably salutary purposes subserved by the sky-roofed, grass-floored, tree-pillared, flower-decorated and perfumed, rock and turf-seated, sun-illumined and warmed, crystalline atmosphered school-house of Nature. We call our public schools free and inexpensive; but into this great Outside School, which is at once primary, intermediate, and high school, college, university, and normal school, the world is invited to come; is there furnished, free of cost, the handsomest, and most instructive, and most authoritative of text-books, and is presided over and taught by an infallible and an irresistibly lovable educator

- God himself. And though, as we have just noticed, all may claim membership here, this is pre-eminently-from necessity if not by right-the teacher's school. One may, as we take it, suffer the loss of a normal-school training, or even the instruction of a normal institute, and yet manage upon a fair stock of gumption to get on with his school duties measurably well; but we pity the sapless, lifeless efforts of that teacher who ha

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bitually ignores the pedagogical discipline of Nature's institute.

And the blame for slighting blessings being in proportion to the opportunities for availing oneself of the same, the teacher's blame for neglecting to derive a very large benefaction from nature is great beyond that of any other applicant. For only consider the abundance of his leisure. Each day, on the average, an hour, or more, of time in the morning before school, and a like amount between the close of school and nightfall; then, in addition, each week a whole day, and each year two months, —these are the portions of leisure peculiarly the teacher's, and which, making even ample deductions for non-recreative employments, is still adequate for the indulgence in a remunerative amount of out-of-door physical exercise.

In our schools only those pupils who put forth strenuous efforts secure any marked mental reward; but, most fortunately for an ease-loving race, Nature places no such hard conditions upon her disciples; but upon him who preserves even a tolerable fidelity she bestows bountifully. Why, a simple saunter along woodland paths-or better among pathless woods,-a daily walk through grassy and flowery suburbs, where the pollutions of city smoke are driven out of the temple of the atmosphere by the spiritual, but intolerant, presence of fragrant ether, where sunshine and shade lead on with clasped hands the delightfully checkered way, where trees in welcome bow their venerable or youthful heads, dressed after innumerable patterns, and ungrudging birds drop about us gay, many-colored feathers of song

even an experience thus passive, is replete with medicinal, tonic influence upon the physical man; aye, and upon the mental and moral man also. But if from this mere genteel loitering in Nature's footsteps, we cast aside our superfluities of toilet, and give chase to the graceful, spirit-like forms that challenge us on overy hand, with what health-telling cheeks, with what Promethean light of eyes, with what merry trooping pulsation, in fine, with what aroused and invigorated sensation and aspect do we return? Our rejuvenated feelings would at first condemn us as plunderers of nature; but only a little experience will assure us that hers is a magic treasure purse, that never exhausts or impoverishes however many or lavish the handfuls that be abstracted. And this enrichment of the creature, let us note, ensued—though not so completely we suspect-whether the recipient be gifted with the poet's rare sus

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