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wants to know how many of those who recommend visiting, actually do it. I do it. [Mr. Hedges. And I do it.] In the second place, I want to recommend him, when he lays down a rule, to apply it to his own conduct in carrying on a discussion here. He says, “ Circumstances alter cases;” that no rule will apply to all cases. Now, he asks, unfairly, I say, “How can I be expected to go down to New Brunswick or to South America to visit the parents of my pupils ?” Does he not understand, that, when we are talking about visiting, we suppose that the parents are within reach of the teacher ? Is not his case one to which the rule will not apply? Then why does he ask the question ?
The gentleman from Brooklyn has told us it is not his duty to visit the parents of his pupils without telling us why. He says he wants his minister to give him “beaten oil.” Well, oil is to be beaten for all sorts of men. I want my pastor to preach right at me. I do not want him to apply his sermon to a man in Holland or South Carolina, as well as to me. I want him to know the material he is to work on. I want him to see me in the Sunday school, in my school room, in my family, and if I am having a quarrel with my neighbor; and I want he should know, not what kind of preaching I like, but what kind I need, and give it to me (applause). Now I say that the teacher ought to know what his pupils are. If a man works upon brass or leather or wood, he must know what his material is, and have the tools adapted to it. If I go into the woods of Maine to manufacture lumber from her giant pines, I am a fool if I do not dam up the stream, and make the elements work for me, and do a thousand times more work than I can do with my hands. Now, I say, it is the duty of the teacher to visit the parents of his pupils for this reason: by visiting them, and learning the influences the children come under when not in the school-room, he can do more in one day than he can do in two when he does not know them. He must have that knowledge in order to know how to manage and deal with them.
The gentleman from Boston speaks of pupils who come from the mansion and from the hovel. I wish I could feel that I misunderstood the gentleman on that point; but I am afraid I did not. Does he mean that a teacher who finds that he has one pupil from a mansion and another from a hovel is in danger of being indulgent to the one who comes from a mansion ? Sir, it is possible that I may be in danger of that; but, if you will convince me of it, with my right hand lifted, I will pledge myself never to enter a school-room again as long as I live, until I can, with the grace of God, guard myself against any such tendency. I believe, sir, that teachers often have it in their power to do an amount of good that you canpot estimate when they know that a pupil comes from a hovel (I will say nothing about the mansion). I have been myself where my pupils were under influences absolutely diabolical. I have taken pupils by the hand, and spoken to them kindly, when I knew they were words that they seldom or never heard at home. I have seen pupils look up to me with surprise when I put confidence in them. They supposed I would suspect them at the outset as liars, thieves, and everything bad. I believe that the teacher has opportunities to lift up such pupils, and, if he does not use those opportunities, I say he is guilty of neglect; and no amount of assertion that there is no opportunity to visit the parents will excuse it. But is it true, as the gentlemen from Brooklyn and Providence say, that it is impossible for the teacher to visit the parents of his pupils ? I say it is not. No teacher has such a large number of pupils under his entire control, that he.cannot visit them.
There is another consideration, female teachers. The point
is to get parents into your schools. I think there has been a great change in that respect within a few years. At any rate, my experience is, that, in large places, parents do not visit the schools so frequently as they formerly did. You teach singing perhaps, those of you who are teachers · in primary schools; at any rate, you ought to, whether you sing yourselves or not. Now, suppose you say to your pupils that next Saturday afternoon you will have a concert; no matter if you only sing, “ Try, try again,” and “ Johnny Schmoker,” and send word to the mothers to come in and hear the children sing, my word for it, you will get some parents to come in; and pretty soon it will be noised abroad that there is an unusual interest in that school, and if your mothers are real mothers, if they see the eyes of their children sparkle when they come into the school, they will take that as a very strong invitation to come again.
Mr. Mowry. I have but few words more to offer on this question. Most certainly, if I receive an invitation from a parent to visit him, I shall accept that invitation. If I were to do otherwise, I should be very negligent of a sacred duty. But I do not see that it is my duty, simply because I am the teacher of a school, to visit once in three months, or once in any other stated time, all the parents of my pupils, whether I have an invitation or not. As a matter of policy, I will go as far as any man in regard to the importance of interesting the parents, and will seek by every legitimate means to make their acquaintance, in order to secure their hearty coöperation.
But the question recurs, can I, consistently with my other duties, visit all the parents regularly and statedly? And I suppose, if this visitation is to be regular, it must be at least as often as once in three months, as the scholars change to a great extent every term. I believe that the teacher should be a man in the community, or a woman ; and that teachers
have duties to discharge besides the duties immediately connected with their schools. I have a family : that family is to be provided for. I have my own circle of friends : I am not to ignore those ties of friendship. These things take time. I am interested in various public matters, in various institutions, public or private; every teacher is. It does not seem to me that a teacher is simply a schoolmaster, and not a member of the community. I think the teacher ought to be able to discharge all those duties which any business man can discharge as a member of the community, and not be cut off from them because he must go out, and visit statedly the parents who will not come to the school-house.
Now, mark you ! I am speaking of this as a matter of duty, and not as a matter of policy.
Mr. Stone. Take it on the score of policy, - if you find that you can accomplish more good by visiting the parents of your pupils, is it not your duty to avail yourself of that agency? Does not the duty follow and form the policy?
Mr. Mowry. If I had only my school duties to discharge, and it were possible for me to do more in my school by visiting the parents once in three months, it would be my duty to visit them. But I have supposed that there are other duties which have a claim upon every teacher, and each one must settle the question for himself whether it is his duty to visit the parents or not.
The subject was then laid on the table.
Mr. W. E. Sheldon, Treasurer pro. tem., made a statement of the condition of the treasury, and on his motion Charles Hutchins, Esq., was appointed Auditor.
After a recess of five minutes, Mr. Sheldon submitted the following names for officers of the Institute for the ensuing year.
President — B. G. Northrop, Saxonville, Mass.
Vice Presidents — Samuel Pettes, Roxbury, Mass.; Barnas Sears, Providence, R. I.; * Benjamin Greenleaf, Bradford, Mass.; William Russell, Lancaster, Mass. ; Henry Barnard, Hartford, Conn.; Samuel S. Greene, Providence, R. I.; Ariel Parish, Springfield, Mass.; George B. Emerson, Boston, Mass. ; Nathan Hedges, Newark, N. J.; Zalmon Richards, Washington, D. C.; John W. Bulkley, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Thomas Sherwin, Boston, Mass.; David N. Camp, New Britain, Conn.; John D. Philbrick, Boston, Mass. ; Joshua Bates, Boston, Mass. ; Alpheus Crosby, Salem, Mass. ; Ebenezer Hervey, New Bedford, Mass.; George E. Phelps, New Haven, Conn. ; Henry E. Sawyer, Concord, N. H.; E. P. Weston, Gorham, Me.; E. F. Strong, Bridgeport, Conn.; D. B. Hagar, Jamaica Plain, Mass.; A. P. Stone, Plymouth, Mass. ; Charles Northend, New Britain, Conn.; B. W. Putnam, Boston, Mass.; John Kneeland, Roxbury, Mass.; Daniel Mansfield, Cambridge, Mass.; T. W. Valentine, Brooklyn, N. Y.; J. E. Littlefield, Bangor, Me.; Joseph White, Williamstown, Mass.; Abner J. Phipps, Lowell, Mass. ; John W. Dickinson, Westfield, Mass.; Merrick Lyon, Providence, R. I.; Elbridge Smith, Norwich, Conn.; Samuel M. Perkins, Brooklyn, N. Y.; Samuel W. Mason, Boston, Mass. ; Ebenezer Wentworth, Portland, Me.
Recording Secretary – J. P. Averill, Boston, Mass.
Corresponding Secretaries — T. D. Adams, Newton, Mass.; Granville B. Putnam, Boston, Mass.
Treasurer — William E. Sheldon, Boston, Mass. - Curators — J. E. Horr, Brookline, Mass.; Samuel Swan, Boston, Mass. ; Edward Gay, Boston, Mass.
Censors - James A. Page, Boston, Mass.; C. Goodwin Clark, Boston, Mass.; Martin L. Stevens, Portland, Me.