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Title: Learning to Be a Schoolmaster
Author: Cole, Thomas R.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Learning to Be a Schoolmaster" ***

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LEARNING TO BE A SCHOOLMASTER

by

THOMAS R. COLE

Superintendent of Schools, Seattle
Formerly Assistant State Superintendent of Schools,
Village School Superintendent, and City High School Principal



New York
The Macmillan Company
1922
All rights reserved.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Copyright, 1922,
By the Macmillan Company.

Set up and electrotyped. Published August, 1922.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                FOREWORD

        In "Learning to be a Schoolmaster" the author has
        related some of his personal experiences, which he
        trusts will be suggestive to those who are just entering
        the teaching profession.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

     I. Entering the Teaching Profession                               1
    II. Getting a Position                                             7
   III. Before School Opens--After Getting the First Superintendency  13
    IV. Teachers' Meetings                                            17
     V. Meeting with the School Board                                 22
    VI. School Activities                                             28
   VII. The Janitor--His Relation to the School                       39
  VIII. How the Principal Can Help the Teacher                        44
    IX. The School and the Community                                  56

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                    ENTERING THE TEACHING PROFESSION


Little did I think, during my college days, that I should ever become a
teacher. It would have made me unpopular to have said so, even if I had
had any designs in that direction. My college mates, who were planning
to be lawyers, engineers, or commercial men of prominence, considered
teaching creditable only as a "fill in job." I joined them in their
happy aspirations and tried to think I was preparing for something. Just
what that "something" was, I was unable to say.

Finally the day of graduation arrived. I was ready to go out into the
world with a college diploma, but was unprepared for a definite
position. My false aspirations had failed, and I was looking hopelessly
about for something to do that would save my pride. I must not accept
just a mere job, and to escape that humiliation I became a teacher. It
certainly was not a very creditable manner for a young man to enter a
profession, to say nothing of the doubtful compliment of such an entry
to the teaching profession. Such a confession, however, could be made by
many of my associates of fifteen years ago.

The situation that confronted me after deciding to become a teacher
_temporarily_, and two ways of meeting it, can be illustrated by the
experiences of two young men who entered the teaching profession under
similar conditions.

A few years ago I made a trip to a neighboring state to visit a friend
who was engaged in farming. On a sunny July morning I arrived in an
enterprising village a few miles from his home. While sitting on the
porch of the hotel waiting for my friend, I met a man whom I had known
years before. He recognized me. After stating that he was president of
the local board of education, he invited me to go out to their school
building, which was being remodeled.

One of the first rooms that we visited was the study hall. We found the
janitor busily engaged in arranging the seats. He said he didn't know
just which way the desks should face, as no one had told him, but he
remembered that the pupils needed plenty of light, so he was facing the
desks toward the side of the room which had the most windows.

We then went to a room set apart for manual training work. There was one
bench in evidence and Mr. ---- told me that the board had not decided on
the kind of benches or tools to buy, as the superintendent had not said
in what grades the manual training work would be offered. "In fact," he
said, "the superintendent forgot to tell us anything about the building
equipment before he left for his vacation."

We next visited a room which, he explained, might be used for a
gymnasium; but, since the superintendent had made no plans for using it,
they were leaving it unfinished.

We looked through some of the grade rooms which had been in use for
years. The seating was in bad condition, as little or no care had been
taken to keep the proper distance between the desks and the seats. Some
of the third grade seats were out of alignment at least four inches. I
pointed out the irregular distances between the seats and the desks and
asked my guide if it were due to the different sizes of the children. He
said, "I think so." I made no comment, as remarks were unnecessary. As
we left the building he said, "I guess our superintendent is more
interested in something else than he is in his job here." This statement
proved true.

Now for the second young man I have in mind. At one time it was
customary for me to represent the state superintendent's office at
county school board meetings that were held during the summer months in
the different parts of one of the leading middle western states. On this
particular trip, I was forced to stop over in a small town for about two
hours, in order to make connection with the train that would take me to
my destination. I was now really interested in education and thought it
would be well to visit the school building. The first thing to attract
my attention was the well-kept lawn, with flower beds along the walk
that led from the street to the building. This was somewhat unusual for
a school yard. I noticed that the front door was open, and entered the
building.

After looking through the well-kept lower rooms, I ascended the stairs
to see the high school portion of the building, which contained eight
rooms. Upon reaching the second story landing, I heard some hammering in
one of the rooms and proceeded to locate it. I soon found myself
confronted by a young man about twenty-five years of age, whose face
gave the expression of accomplishment. He enthusiastically told me that
he was interested in the agricultural conditions in the surrounding
districts, and was preparing boxes and equipment to offer a course in
agriculture to the boys in and out of school who might wish to elect it.
"The course," he said, "will be offered outside of the regular school
hours, at a time that will be best suited to those who may wish to
attend. I hope to make it an evening class, and that the fathers may
also become interested." He told me about the short summer course he had
taken at the state agricultural school and the help that he expected to
get from the dean through booklets and suggestive lessons.

He then invited me to go through the rooms of the building. When we
reached the fifth and sixth grade room he said, "In this room I have
corrected a condition that caused the failure of one or more teachers.
When I was elected here a year ago, the president of the board told me
they had been unfortunate for years in securing a satisfactory fifth and
sixth grade teacher. The teachers had all failed because they were
unable to maintain good order. I was asked to secure a teacher for the
room, which I did, after careful investigation. It was less than three
weeks, however, after the semester started, when the restlessness of the
pupils became apparent. I was at a loss to know the source of the
trouble until a bulletin from the state superintendent's office reached
me, which gave suggestions as to the care and equipment of school
grounds and buildings. I noticed in this bulletin that the correct
distance between No. 3 seats is twelve inches. I thought immediately of
our troublesome fifth and sixth grade room. It took me but a few moments
to discover that the distances between the seats in this room ranged
from twelve to fifteen inches. I observed how the pupils were forced to
sit on the edges of the seats in order to work at the desks and soon
became tired and restless. The desks were changed immediately and the
"teacher problem" in this room was solved. That experience was a lesson
to me, and since then I have given much time and attention to making the
building attractive and comfortable for the teachers and pupils." It was
quite evident, as we went from room to room, that he had put the lesson
into practice.

I shall never forget that young man. Three years later he was at the
head of one of the largest consolidated high schools in the state, and
when I met him at the meeting of the Department of Superintendence in
Detroit in 1916 he told me that he had recently been appointed to take
charge of one of the state agricultural schools.

One man had made school teaching a _job_; the other had made it a
_profession_.



                           GETTING A POSITION


Many young men and women enter the educational field without giving due
consideration to the type of work they are best fitted to do. A large
percentage of the teacher failures belongs to this class. I am often
interviewed by candidates who are seeking positions. When I ask them the
kind of work they can do the best, I occasionally receive the reply, "In
what grades do you have the greatest number of openings?" Others will
say, "I am prepared to teach any of the grades. I have no preference,
for I am as good in one as I am in another." In the case of some
candidates the last statement is likely to be true.

Boards of education usually grade applicants on three main points:
personality, preparation, experience. The first two, every candidate who
has completed a normal school or college course possesses to a greater
or less degree. The third must be gained by actual work in teaching.

A pleasing yet forceful personality is one of the leading factors in any
teacher's success and it should be cultivated to the greatest possible
degree. I feel that I was influenced in a large measure to complete my
high school education by the attractive personality of the principal of
our village school. His predecessor by harsh and dictatorial discipline
had driven many boys out of school, and I came near being one of them. I
found my ideal in the principal who succeeded him; and when I meet the
inspirational teacher--the teacher with a personality that attracts
young people--I can see the picture of that splendid young man who gave
me the first real desire for an education.

A teacher should always be desirous of making a good personal
impression, yet I have seen young women seeking positions waiting at the
big counter in the superintendent's office who were dressed more
suitably for a social function than for a business call. Not long ago we
were greatly in need of a commercial teacher. A young woman of otherwise
good qualifications made application. Her attire was somewhat extreme
and we decided it would be well to have her visit the principal of the
school who needed the teacher. He reported that he could not use a
teacher to instruct young men and women in commercial work who lacked
one of the first requisites of business--"dress sense."

The time is rapidly drawing to a close when mediocre preparation will be
accepted in the field of education. The teacher for elementary or high
school work must first secure a good general education. Specializing in
one or more subjects based upon a fragmentary educational foundation is
the cause of many failures in the teaching profession. One of the chief
weaknesses of such teachers has usually been found to be in English. In
reading applications I have often noticed statements of this character
given by one of the references: "Mr. ---- is good in his particular
subject, but his use of English is so bad that I cannot recommend him
for a position where he comes in contact daily with young people." "I
can recommend Miss ---- for a position, as for example penmanship
teaching, but that is the only thing she can do as her educational
vision is very limited."

After a teacher has secured adequate general education and finds his
"bent," he should then give particular attention and study to his chosen
field. A teacher, however, should never cease to utilize every
opportunity of broadening his general education. To do so means a
narrowing of his viewpoint and the power of associating his special
subject with the larger field of education.

In filling out application blanks teachers are sometimes careless in
giving the information requested. Failure to do this often results in
obtaining little or no consideration for the position desired. The
references named should be responsible persons who know of the
applicant's real qualifications and teaching work. It is always well for
an applicant to secure the permission of the people chosen as references
before using their names. A superintendent is much more likely to
understand a teacher's motive for applying elsewhere if he has been
interviewed. When the motive is understood, he is in a better position
to serve the applicant as well as the officials to whom the applicant
has applied. The large majority of superintendents encourage their
teachers to feel that they want them to improve professionally and are
ready to assist them in doing so.

Not long ago a young man came to see me about a promotion. I asked him
in what line of work he was best fitted for advancement. He said he
didn't know, but he wanted the job that paid the most money.

It was interesting to note his idea of the teaching profession as
contrasted with that of a young woman who had interviewed me a short
time before concerning a possible opening in one of the high schools.
She had taught for two years and realized the need of further
specialization in her chosen field. To obtain this training, she had
spent a year's time and her savings in taking post-graduate work. I was
interested in the frank statement that she gave concerning her teaching
experience, which she confessed had been very ordinary in character. It
was also pleasing to note the feeling of gratitude she had for those who
had encouraged her to take the post-graduate training.

We had no opening for her at that time, but I took her name and address
in order that she might be considered for vacancies that might occur
later. It so happened that a few days later a superintendent from a
near-by town called to see me, and stated his need of a high school
teacher who could teach mathematics, English, and history. It was quite
a range of work, but I thought of my visitor of a few days before and
made an appointment for her to meet this superintendent. After the
interview was over, she came in with tears in her eyes, to tell me that
she had declined the offer. She said she was financially much in need of
a position, but she could not again go into a classroom to teach work in
a department that she was ill prepared to handle. A short time later one
of our teachers resigned. The place was given to this young woman. She
has proved to be one of our best classroom teachers, and has been an
inspiration to the other instructors in her department. Self-examination
and study had caused her to realize the real strength, as well as the
limitations, of her teaching power, and she made the most of it.



      BEFORE SCHOOL OPENS--AFTER GETTING THE FIRST SUPERINTENDENCY


Four years as a high school teacher had given me an opportunity to study
the educational field. During that time I had made a practice of
attending county, sectional, state, and, whenever possible, national
teachers' meetings, so that I might become acquainted with current
school problems and with the men and women who were educational leaders.

After considering carefully my possible qualifications for
administrative work, I decided that to secure the superintendency of
schools in a small town was the proper educational step for me to
take. By an application through regular channels I succeeded in
being elected to the coveted position and thereby gained what I was
seeking--administrative opportunity.

As the election had been given me without a personal application, I
decided to invest eighteen dollars in a trip to my new field of labor
during the spring vacation, so that I might get acquainted with the
general school situation. The first important discovery that I made was
that the superintendent who was leaving had the ill will of a part of
the community, but still had the loyal support of the teachers. My
problem was to get his coöperation so that I could enter the work with
as little friction as possible, and to obtain general knowledge of his
plans of school administration. Both these factors were very essential
to a succeeding superintendent. He gave me the coöperation and
information most willingly--a service which I have never ceased to
appreciate.

I met the members of the board as individuals and was received very
cordially by them. No doubt they were interested in seeing me and
appreciated the interest I showed in getting acquainted with the work in
advance.

We moved to the town during the middle of August. As soon as we became
settled, my attention was turned to the work of the new position. I had
already given a close study to the grade and high school programs and
course of study. Copies of the different courses of study offered in
well-organized neighboring schools were also obtained in order that I
might get a broader view of the school conditions in that section of the
state.

Ten days before the opening of school I placed a notice in the town
paper inviting all the high school pupils who had attended school the
year before to call at the building and see me. A considerable number
responded to this request, and through these pupils I received a large
amount of valuable information.

One of my first tasks was to prepare a high school program which would
permit the pupils to carry the work that they should pursue in
accordance with their chosen courses of study. We had only three
teachers for the high school, including myself, which narrowed the range
of subjects that might be offered each semester. Before attempting to
make a program I compiled a list of names of all the pupils who had
attended high school the year before, with the lists of the subjects
each pupil had completed. I then made a statement of the subjects that
each pupil should take during the ensuing year. This gave the necessary
information for making a program. When school opened each pupil was
given a slip of paper showing the credits he had made to date and the
subjects for which he was to register. By checking carefully, all
conflicts were eliminated and the first day of instruction went off
without delay or friction. This was worth much to the school and to me.
Not all my time, however, was given to the making of a high school
program. I prepared a tentative time schedule for the subjects in the
elementary grades. This schedule, with a few minor changes, was
afterward adopted by the grade teachers.

The business side of the school was especially interesting to me. I
believed then, and still believe, that a successful superintendent must
be a close student of school costs. He must know and keep constantly in
mind the amount of money available for school expenses and be able to
recommend how that money can be expended to the best advantage. Too
often the superintendent, by the nature of his tenure, is forced to plan
only for the one year--a policy that is wasteful to the district and
harmful to the general efficiency of the school. In order to secure a
comprehensive idea of the school supplies on hand and what would be
needed, I asked the janitor to assist me in making a complete check of
all the books and supplies in the building. This work proved very
helpful to me later and was alone worth the two extra weeks I had given
to my new position.

With the school program made, supplies checked, and a good preliminary
acquaintance with the board members and school conditions, I left the
building on Friday evening preceding the opening of school feeling
_ready_ for the year's work to begin.



                           TEACHERS' MEETINGS


A teacher said to me recently, "I wish Mr. ---- had remained at A---- as
superintendent. We always had splendid teachers' meetings when he was
with us." This comment interested me and I asked her the character of
the meetings. She replied, "We had regular sectional meetings once a
month and a general teachers' meeting every six weeks. The sectional
meetings were for the purpose of giving and getting definite suggestions
that would be helpful to the teachers of each individual group. The
general meeting was always a happy gathering. Mr. ---- would make his
message cheerful and inspirational and we left those meetings _with a
spirit of wanting to do more than we had ever done before_." What this
young woman said is true. Teachers want meetings that give something
_tangible_ and _definite_ to assist them in their work.

The first teachers' meeting that I ever conducted was held about a
library table where we could all look at one another and get the feeling
of fellowship. A few definite points that the teachers needed to know on
the _first day_ of school were prepared and everything else was left for
subsequent meetings. It was my business to help the teachers get started
and lighten a part of their regular work, rather than to add to their
burden things unnecessary at that time.

One of the best talks I ever heard delivered by a superintendent was
given to the new teachers a few years ago at the opening of the school
year. He gave the teachers a hearty and sincere welcome and told them
nothing about what their duties were to be. He advised them to _say but
little_ at first about what they had done at their former places, but
urged them to "_listen_ and to _learn our ways_ and then, with that
knowledge in mind, to help by suggestions to make our schools better."
How very differently is such a welcome received by teachers from that
given by a superintendent who feels that he must place before the
teachers, at the first meeting, an outline in detail of what is expected
throughout the year!

The latter plan was unfortunately followed by a superintendent of my
acquaintance. He went to his new position in ample time to get the
school conditions well in hand and everything boded well for his future.
His first teachers' meeting, however, ruined his chances of succeeding
in that place. As one teacher reported, "He talked about everything in
the educational catalog that had nothing to do with the opening weeks of
school, and the teachers left the meeting with an adverse opinion
concerning him that he was unable to change." The meetings he held
throughout the year were of the same rambling type. The result was that
he failed to secure the cooperation of his teachers and was asked to
resign at the close of the year. This is an example of one who knew
much--talked much--but gave little assistance of any constructive value
to his teachers.

As a superintendent I always found it profitable, after the school year
was well started, to hold sectional meetings for teachers of the lower
grades, intermediate grades, grammar grades, and high school. Each
section met every two weeks about a table and took up definite topics of
the teachers' own choosing. The result was that our course of study and
the methods of work were constantly being improved _and the teachers
were causing the improvement_. A general meeting for all the teachers
was held from time to time when a good speaker could be secured or when
I wished to present a phase of school work that should be understood by
all.

During the past year a series of meetings of the English teachers in one
of our high schools demonstrated what can be accomplished if the topics
for discussion are of a concrete nature.

The teaching of the English classics has been somewhat varied in plan
and the results accomplished have not always been satisfactory. The
English teachers realized this and suggested that we make the classics
the subject of professional study for the year. The classics selected
were: Lady of the Lake, Ivanhoe, Old Testament Stories, Silas Marner,
Idylls of the King, Birds and Bees, Clive and Hastings, and Emerson's
Essays.

A teacher was chosen to discuss each of the classics according to the
following outline:

    1. Spend thirty minutes in explaining the methods used and the
       results expected in the teaching of the classic.

    2. Provide a written outline which gives the main points a
       teacher should keep in mind in teaching the classic, copies of
       the outline to be provided for distribution at the time of the
       meeting.

    3. Be prepared to make a typical assignment of a lesson in
       teaching the classic.

    4. State where supplementary material can be obtained to aid in
       teaching the classic.

    5. Answer questions.

At the conclusion of the year the general expression of the English
teachers was that the meetings held were among the most profitable
professional gatherings that they had ever attended. The same definite
plan could well be followed with other subjects.

There is still another type of meeting of even greater importance to the
superintendent and teachers. That meeting is the personal talk that the
superintendent should have with each teacher, as often as possible, to
enable him to learn how her work is getting on and the difficulties she
is meeting, and to welcome any suggestions she has to make. Such talks
will give a superintendent a key to the real school situation, and the
teacher will appreciate his close, personal interest as shown by his
suggestions and encouragement.



                     MEETING WITH THE SCHOOL BOARD


A few days previous to the opening of school at ----, a member of the
school board dropped in one morning to see me. In the course of the
conversation he said that the board would meet the second evening after
the opening of school, and invited me to be present, if I cared to come.
I thanked him for the invitation and assured him that I should be glad
to attend the meeting.

At the teachers' meeting on the Saturday before the school opened, I
gave each teacher a blank, and asked for a report at the close of the
first day of school, somewhat as follows:

    1. Number of pupils enrolled.

    2. Number of boys and number of girls and their respective ages.

    3. Number of pupils who were attending school for the first
    time.

    4. Supplies, if any, that were needed immediately.

From this information, which was easily obtained by the teachers, I
compiled a definite report which showed the school attendance the first
day compared with the opening days of the two previous years; the grades
having largest number of retarded pupils; and the extra supplies that
would soon be needed. The report concluded with a brief statement of my
appreciation of the hearty coöperation that I had received from the
teachers and pupils. I wrote the report very carefully and placed it in
my pocket, hoping that it might be presented at the board meeting.

The first board meeting meant much to me, for I was desirous of having
the members feel that the success of the school depended very largely
upon having the administrative head take an active part in the
deliberations. I was present promptly at eight o'clock, the time set for
the meeting, and the gentleman who had invited me explained to the other
members how I happened to be present. Before the close of the meeting,
the president of the board asked how I liked the place and how many I
had found it necessary to "strap" the first day. I replied that I was
well pleased with the school conditions, and that if there were no
objection I would like to read a short report that might be of some
interest to the board. There was no objection and I read the report. At
the conclusion of the reading, one member of the board said, "By
Jimminy, I have been on this board for seven years and that is the first
time I have ever heard a report like that. I move, Mr. Chairman, that we
thank the superintendent for bringing in the report, that we file it
with the secretary, and that we extend a standing invitation to him to
attend all our meetings." The vote in favor of the motion was unanimous.
I went home that evening feeling that I had been well repaid for the
time spent in compiling the report.

From that time on I made a regular monthly report at the board meetings,
which resulted in the extension of my authority. I was soon permitted to
order supplies when needed, if the requisitions were approved by the
secretary of the board. This was a great help to the school. It saved
much delay, and we always knew what we could get and when we could
expect it. The teachers often spoke of how much more definitely they
could plan their work. Great care was exercised to purchase only such
supplies as were needed, and we turned in many of the worn-out books as
partial payment for new texts. Hence, at the end of the year the cost of
school supplies had been cut nearly in half as compared with that of the
previous year. It was a matter of pleasure to have the board realize
that a superintendent might be a business man as well as an educator.

The next extension of authority was in regard to the employment of
teachers. It had been the general policy of the board to engage and
discharge teachers without consulting the superintendent. I anticipated
this by making, at the end of the fourth month, a report as to the
general efficiency of the teachers. Not a word was written in the report
that _the individual teacher concerned did not know_. The members of the
board expressed themselves as being much pleased with the teacher report
idea and I was told that I would be asked to recommend the teachers when
the time came for their election. This confidence of the board was a
great inspiration to me, and helped me more than anything else to decide
that I would remain a schoolmaster.

My experience with the board in another community is equally suggestive.

During the five years previous to my superintendency at this place, the
board had voted against the introduction of manual training each time it
came up for discussion. I was interested in having manual training
introduced, but before making a formal request of the board, I decided
to give the subject a very careful study. I spent a number of Saturdays
going from town to town to inspect the manual training equipment and
courses of study. At that time, manual training was very much in the
experimental stage, and I found something new at each place. After
settling upon the plan that I considered best suited to our
accommodations, I arranged to have an evening meeting of the parents at
the school building where an exhibit of the regular school work was
displayed in each room. During the evening a talk was given on the topic
of manual training by a neighboring superintendent, who was especially
well qualified to discuss the subject. I wanted to create a public
sentiment in favor of manual training before asking the board to
introduce it into the school system.

At the next regular board meeting I presented a definite, written plan
for the introduction of manual training, stating the space in the
building for it, the grades that would be given the work, the number of
times per week that it would be offered, and the cost of the benches and
tools. Without a moment's hesitation, the leading member of the board
said, "I have objected to the introduction of manual training for five
years, not because I was opposed to the subject but owing to the fact we
never had a report made to us as to its cost, where it could be placed
in the building, or the grades in which it would be offered. I move that
the recommendation be adopted and the material purchased as designated
in the report." The motion was adopted without a dissenting vote.

I have had many other experiences with school boards similar to those
cited above. School boards have not always purchased everything that I
have requested, but I have found in the vast majority of cases that if
the board has faith in the superintendent and feels that _he knows what
he wants, and what he will do with it after he gets it_, he will not
have much difficulty in obtaining what the school really needs. Too many
superintendents go to board meetings with no definite report as to what
is being done in the schools or what is really needed to make them
efficient. This inability or failure to assume leadership causes the
board to lose confidence in the superintendent, and soon reacts
detrimentally upon the school system.



                           SCHOOL ACTIVITIES


Not long ago a teacher asked me in what manner a person with executive
ability has the best opportunity of showing it. I replied, "Ask your
principal for the privilege of taking charge of some school activity." I
dare say more principals and superintendents have been found through
their ability to handle student activities than in any other way. Too
often teachers who are really capable of doing executive work object to
this extra duty and thereby miss the opportunity of demonstrating their
real capacity for leadership. They also lose at the same time one of the
most fruitful and pleasant experiences in school work. I could give many
illustrations of teachers who have "found themselves" through being
associated with student enterprises.

Some superintendents feel that student activities are a waste of time,
and in a measure this is likely to be true unless the activities are
carefully supervised.

In one of the towns where I was superintendent, the school had had no
student activities during the preceding year except football and
baseball. The teams had been coached by an outsider who was intensely
interested in having a winning team but cared little for the value of
athletics to the boys or to the school. With this condition in mind, I
called the boys together and asked them how it would appeal to them if
we formed an athletic association and had rules governing athletics
similar to those followed in the larger towns in that vicinity. The boys
agreed to the plan and elected a committee to prepare a set of rules
that were to be submitted to them for approval. After a couple of
meetings, the committee outlined the rules in accordance with the
general high school athletic regulations, and they were formally
adopted.

The results of the formation of the association were threefold: First,
good scholarship and deportment were required of all pupils who
participated in athletics. Second, no money could be expended except
with the approval of the faculty adviser. Third, the coaching of all
athletic teams was placed under the direction of the superintendent. The
last point did not necessarily eliminate the assistance that might be
secured from outside coaches, provided they were made directly
responsible to the school.

The new plan for athletics worked splendidly with the exception of a few
vigorous protests from boys who were debarred from playing on account of
poor scholarship. Sufficient money was saved during the year to pay back
the amount that had been advanced for athletic supplies and we were able
to complete equipments for first and second football teams for the
succeeding fall. The boys were proud of this accomplishment and when I
occasionally hear from some of them, they often remark, "_We_ put ----
on the map in athletics."

The second activity needed was a "literary society." There had been no
such organization in the school for five years. The janitor told me that
the last literary society had ended in a "rough-house" and he hoped that
was the end of it for all time. He further declared he was not in favor
of coming to the building in the evening. I told him that we would
attend to the opening and closing of the building if we started the
organization, and that I hoped we could get along without any
rough-housing.

The pupils in ---- had little or no opportunity for group evening
entertainment and heartily welcomed the suggestion of forming a literary
society. Officers were elected with the understanding that they would be
given full charge of the organization, subject to the regulations of the
faculty adviser.

Meetings were held twice a month on Friday evenings at 7:30. No program
was arranged that required more than one and a half hours' time. It
usually consisted of a debate, music, school news, and readings. The
school auditorium held about 150 people and on many occasions the room
would be crowded in order to accommodate those who wished to attend.
Many of the parents made it an opportunity for meeting the teachers. It
might be mentioned that the janitor never missed a meeting and was one
of the most interested listeners.

After getting the athletic association and literary society organized, I
interviewed the editors of the two local papers relative to getting some
space for school news. Both were glad to publish any information
concerning the school that I might wish to furnish. Student editors were
then elected for the different high school classes and the upper grade
rooms. The news items were given to me on Wednesday of each week to be
edited and sent to the papers. The school news had its immediate effect,
and greater interest was taken in the school by the pupils and patrons.
The literary programs which appeared in the papers every two weeks gave
much prominence to that activity. The newspaper publishers were not slow
to see the effect the school news had in increasing their subscriptions,
so we all had reason to be pleased with the results of the enterprise.

There are many other valuable school organizations that have not been
mentioned. The number of activities should depend largely on the size of
the school. The real purpose and local value of each activity should be
given careful consideration before it is organized. Much harm can come
from poorly supervised student enterprises or from a student
organization that is permitted to take more of the time of pupils and
teachers than is justified. The time for the preparation of plays should
be limited and the work should be distributed among as many pupils as
possible. The centering of effort on one debating team or on a first
athletic team may help, or the showing that a school will make against
competitors (although I doubt it), but such a plan will not develop the
power and training within the school that should be desired.

I quote the following from a report of a Seattle high school principal
regarding extra-curricular activities:

"The extra-curricular activities in a high school can be divided into
two classes, the minor and the major activities. The minor activities
are such as arise out of a desire to vitalize certain studies; the
Science Club, the Short Story Club, the French Club are illustrations.
For the most part these meet only once or twice a month for an afternoon
program in which students who are interested participate themselves or
occasionally invite some outsider to take part. Teachers desiring to
stimulate greater interest in their specialties are usually enthusiastic
supporters of such clubs. The programs are informal, held after school
and requiring comparatively little effort on the part of the teachers;
and those teachers who are alive to their work welcome the opportunities
which these small clubs offer in the way of stimulating interest and
adding zest to studies.

"Furthermore, these informal gatherings afford teachers and students an
opportunity to meet outside the classroom and become better acquainted,
which is always an important factor in successful school work. No
teacher worthy of the name is averse to such organizations. It is
difficult to find a single objectionable feature in them. Of course,
they require some after-school time occasionally, and some planning on
the part of the responsible adviser. No conscientious teacher begrudges
this extra time and effort and every enterprising teacher finds enough
in them to compensate him liberally for his efforts.

"The major activities such as class organizations, glee clubs, dramatic
clubs, athletic associations, boys' and girls' clubs, the school paper,
the Senior Ball, the Junior Prom, and the interschool debates offer more
problems in the nature of care. They take in larger groups, are more
formal or more pretentious, and demand a larger amount of time from
teachers directing them. Not only that, but they also require a larger
organizing capacity on the part of the advisers. Not all teachers can
assume sponsorship for such organizations.

"These activities are to the school what the Fourth of July parade, the
Elks' big-brother picnic, and the Wayfarer are to the city. A city could
get along without these activities and save itself a deal of hard work
and expense. But enterprising men consider them worth ten times the
effort and expense to the community as a whole. Some undesirable
features follow in the wake of all these large city enterprises. Streets
become congested, the police have to do double duty; there may be some
accidents, some thefts, some people overworked. But in life unpleasant
things are organically connected with the pleasant and if you would have
the one you must have at least some of the other.

"In like manner the major school activities benefit the entire school.
They have the effect of welding the large school into something like a
homogeneous unit. They develop school pride and school interest. A large
school can no more get along without these and be a live institution
than can a church without its young peoples' societies and programs, its
men's club suppers, and its ladies' aid societies and be a live church
organization.

"But aside from welding the school into a unit of effort and purpose,
these organizations, like the minor activities, serve to socialize the
institution, to bring pupils and teachers together in a way that the
classroom does not afford, to 'bring out' students, to discover latent
talents, and to spur students on to a maximum standard of excellence.

"Aside from their socializing value, these organizations have an ethical
purpose. Group interests are developed through them which teach pupils
to work together for a common end. School enthusiasm and loyalty are
developed which broaden in later years to interest in and loyalty to
community and nation.

"Teachers have not introduced these activities as a rule. They came in
response to a recognized need. No more can teachers put them out. They
can, however, help to direct them into proper channels, supervise them,
and keep them within proper bounds, all of which is a task worthy of a
real teacher. Those instructors who can recall the turbulent days of the
secret societies and cliques, of the unsupervised and unmanaged
athletics, have no doubt that progress has been made, and are ready to
help to keep up the good work.

"The objectionable features of the major activities are naturally more
pronounced. It is easy to make too much of such activities, to make them
too pretentious, to consume too much time with them so that they
sometimes interfere with the curricular work of the school. As a rule
principals and teachers strive to keep these activities within
reasonable bounds. Sometimes they find themselves involved in a bigger
undertaking than they planned for. However, unbounded American
enthusiasm is in no small measure to blame for the overdoing of some of
these activities.

"Organized athletics in all schools are here to stay. In fact a much
larger participation is noticeable each year. Even grammar schools,
churches, business houses, and other corporations have their teams.
Athletics, however, beneficial as they are, can be overdone and in some
respects are being overdone. So with all the other extra-curricular
activities. They must be properly directed and sanely managed. This sane
management and proper direction must be encouraged by the public as a
whole.

"Necessarily, too, such activities as have proved their worth will have
to be provided for by the employment of teachers who are capable of
handling them and wherever they are a large drain on the adviser's time
and effort, that, too, must be taken care of. Improvements and
adjustments in looking after these activities are sure to come as the
result of increased experience. That there is much room for improvement
along these lines no one doubts. Let those who have experience and can
offer constructive suggestions do so freely. Their suggestions will be
gladly received, for nowhere in the high schools of the country has that
problem been solved.

"There is another form of organization commonly associated with high
school activities for which the high school management is in no wise
responsible and over which it claims no jurisdiction. It is the social
and club dances managed entirely outside of the schools and chaperoned
or patronized by people not connected officially with the schools. These
purely social activities are the most time-consuming and costly of all.
Many of these formal and informal functions occur every week in the long
dancing season, and because they are patronized by boys and girls of
high school age are mistakenly called high school functions. Many
parents are deceived into the belief that the schools are sponsoring
these club dances. For these the schools assume no responsibility and
should not be blamed."



                 THE JANITOR--HIS RELATION TO THE SCHOOL


A few months ago the vice-president of a large manufacturing
establishment invited me to accompany him and the president on a trip to
their factories. Having heard that the president of the company was a
self-made man, I was anxious to learn something about his plan of
business administration.

When we reached the office of the first plant, I was impressed with the
cordial greeting the president gave to _all_ the employees. Their
attitude toward him was equally cordial. I recognized one of the clerks,
who was a former school pupil, and made use of the acquaintance to ask
some questions concerning the management of the factory. He said, "We
feel like a family here. Mr. ---- gets everyone from the errand boy to
the manager to take a personal interest in the business." As I went
about the big establishment with one of the workmen, I was impressed
with the truthfulness of the statement.

That evening when I was conversing with the president, I mentioned the
fine coöperative spirit that I had noticed among his men. He said in
reply, "I learned a long time ago as a day worker that in order to get
the largest returns from your men, you must treat them all well and feed
them well. Some managers forget, in these days of keen competition, that
the lowest salaried employees are often the persons who make a business
a success or a failure." I thought how simple was his formula of
success, yet how few possess the inspirational power of leadership to
follow it successfully. The same principle applies equally well to the
school business.

I shall never forget the August morning that I reported at one school
building to begin my duties as superintendent. I had not seen the
janitor, and proceeded to air the office, dust the chairs and desk, and
get the place in readiness for work. The noise attracted the attention
of the janitor, who finally appeared at the door, and after giving me a
cold, casual inspection, introduced himself by saying, "I am the
janitor," and left the room before I could engage him in conversation. I
had heard of him before--how he considered the superintendent nothing
more than a boss whom he must endure. It was no surprise to me,
therefore, when he left the room without waiting to become acquainted or
offering to assist in the house cleaning. Later he brought to the office
some mail that had been accumulating during the summer. I thanked him
and asked him to be seated. We talked over a few matters of interest and
then made a trip through the building. I carefully avoided saying
anything about the janitor's duties. Before leaving that afternoon, he
met me in the lower hall and said it was not customary to keep the
office cleaned during the summer, but if I intended to be at the
building again before the school opened, he would sweep it out. I told
him that I had a few things that I should like to do during the two
weeks' interval before the opening of school, and would probably be at
the building daily, but I could easily look after the cleaning of the
office during that time. He looked at me with some astonishment. I don't
know whether it was due to the statement that I expected to have
something to do at the building for two weeks before school opened, or
because I was willing to clean the room. He said nothing and, with a
"good evening," we parted at the end of the first day--with the question
of _coöperation_ or _no coöperation_ somewhat unsettled in the janitor's
mind.

When I reported for work the next morning the office had been thoroughly
cleaned, which I considered quite a victory. As the janitor did not make
his appearance during the forenoon, I went in search of him to inquire
about some record books. He then proceeded to tell me what he thought of
the teachers and superintendents in general and how I would do well if I
could find anything, and showed me a closet in a teacher's room that was
filled with a pile of books, supplies, and record sheets. I listened to
what he had to say, and then suggested that it might be well if we put
some shelves in the closets, and arranged all the books and supplies in
an orderly manner before the teachers reported for work. I told him I
was interested in what the closets contained, and if he would build some
shelves, I would do the rest. He was sure that the shelves would do no
good, and that his time and mine would be wasted. We said nothing more
about it at that time, but the next day I started on a closet-cleaning
crusade. I do not know when I have received greater value for the time
spent. Two days of work gave me an educational and business insight into
the school that was invaluable. I learned the courses of study and the
texts that were used in all of the grades.

After three days' delay, the janitor decided that I had done a fairly
good job, and that he would put in the shelves. I gave him some
assistance and the books and supplies were listed, recorded, and put
into place. This work was appreciated by the teachers, even though we
had entered their private domain, and, I dare say, gave them a feeling
that good housekeeping would be expected throughout the year.

The janitor had now learned to know me fairly well. He found that we
could work together, and by the time that school opened we were quite
friendly. I was amused some months later when a teacher told me of the
account the janitor had given her and the other teachers at the opening
of school, of the new superintendent.

When I reported at the end of the year the splendid services the janitor
had rendered, the members of the board were so well pleased with the
change in "Rosy" that they raised his salary for the ensuing year. I am
not sure but that the raise in salary pleased me more than it did him.

The help that I received from this janitor throughout the year is no
exception to the general rule. I do not wish to give the impression,
however, that all the janitors with whom I have worked have been
efficient, but I do wish to say that I have received from each of them a
much greater degree of coöperation when I caused him to feel that I was
his _co-worker_ and not his boss.



                 HOW THE PRINCIPAL CAN HELP THE TEACHER


The principals of our city schools have for two years been carrying on a
series of monthly evening meetings which have proved to be highly
interesting and instructive. The topics chosen have been along lines
that directly affected the work they are doing.

One of the meetings was devoted to the subject "How the Principal Can
Help the Teacher." The topic was assigned to two principals, who
prepared questionnaires which were sent to all the teachers in the city.
The questions asked were along three lines: (1) What can the principal
do to help the teacher in a professional way? (2) What can the principal
do to help the teacher in an administrative way? (3) What can the
principal do in making his personal relationship to the teacher more
effective?

Replies were received from about fifty per cent of the teachers and were
classified as follows. Percentages indicate the number of teachers
giving the replies which they follow:

I. In a professional way.
    1. Assistance with the exceptional child, 37%.
    2. Interpretation of the course of study, 29%.
    3. As a professional leader, 20%.
        a. The recommendation of good professional literature, 18%.
        b. Sound advice, 11%.
        c. Assistance by teaching, 6%.

II. In an administrative way.
    1. Furnishing supplies and equipment, 50%.
    2. Definite directions, 28%.
    3. Distribution of building load, 13%.
    4. Regime so planned that interruption of classroom instruction is
       minimized, 9%.
    5. Management of halls, basements, and playgrounds, and of
       difficult disciplinary cases, 12%.
    6. Teachers' meetings, 5%.

III. In personal relationships.
    1. The higher human qualities, 60%.
    2. Constructive criticism, 16%.
    3. Poise, 7%.
    4. Helping teachers in self-analysis and mannerisms, 1%.

I shall discuss briefly some of the main suggestions made by the
teachers.

I. How the principal can help the teacher in a professional way.

a. _Assistance with the exceptional child._ In these replies it will be
noted that thirty-seven per cent of the teachers advocated assistance
with the exceptional child. This gives further emphasis to the need of
greater attention being given to the classification of pupils in the
public schools. The use of tests and measurements has demonstrated the
wide range of abilities that can usually be found in different pupils of
the same grade. The teacher with from thirty-five to forty-five pupils
must handle the work of her room more or less in groups, which often
fails to reach the retarded or the accelerated pupil. Too often the
teacher through her efforts to give extra assistance needed by the
backward pupils gives them a disproportionate amount of time. The entire
class suffers from such a procedure. It is unfair to the ninety per cent
of pupils of average ability to have one fourth of the teacher's time
given to the other ten per cent of the pupils in the room.

How to care for the special pupil is a difficult problem. No plan thus
far advanced seems to meet it entirely. The ungraded room with an
auxiliary teacher has proved to be fairly satisfactory in schools
sufficiently large to justify such an arrangement. The principal in the
smaller school as well as in the larger must give greater attention to
the use of intelligence tests as an aid in classifying the pupils so
that they can be better graded according to their ability. No teacher
should be required to keep a pupil in her room indefinitely who is not
mentally able to do the work or who is a constant disturber. The "ninety
and nine" who "can do" are more important to save than the one lost
sheep who may never be able "to do" if saved.

b. _Interpretation of the course of study._ Twenty-nine per cent of the
teachers called attention to the need of greater assistance in
interpreting the course of study. I am not surprised to get this
expression from the teachers, as they are sometimes given at the opening
of the term a new course of study with little or no explanation of the
plan back of it or how it is to be administered. I question if any
course of study entirely new in content should be put into operation
until the teachers have had at least a semester's time to study it
thoroughly and get explanations from those who have been instrumental in
working it out.

A good illustration of the difficulty in getting satisfactory results
from plans new to the teachers has been demonstrated by some of the
results obtained with the problem and project methods. It is very easy
for a supervisor to pick out some good problems and illustrate them
before the teachers and thus leave the impression that all topics can be
handled in a similar manner. The teacher goes back to her classroom and
attempts to follow the directions given. Some of the teachers have gone
so far as to attempt to make every lesson in geography or history a
problem lesson regardless of the nature of the topics to be covered or
the reference material or textbook assistance that is available. The
results from such a procedure are certain to lead to a poorly connected,
piecemeal knowledge by the pupil of the subject as a whole. A semester
of practical study of the problem method for any given subject before
introducing it would give the teachers, and I dare say the supervisors,
a better knowledge of what can reasonably be expected to be
accomplished. It is this failure to be able to reach that visionary goal
that discourages teachers and causes them to lose confidence in many
methods that are excellent in themselves if they are used with
moderation and sense.

After a course of study has been in operation for a few months it is
well to ask some of the teachers who have been the most successful in
getting satisfactory results to explain what they have done and how they
have done it. Small groups can then discuss such a report with much
profit to all. I have never experienced any difficulty in getting large
attendance at a teachers' meeting if the program provided concrete help
for the group in the work they were doing. This is indeed a rich field
for the principal to cultivate.

Supplementary books are often purchased and sent to the teachers as a
means of interpretation of a subject. They, too, need explanation and
discussion.

c. _As a professional leader._ The desire for professional leadership is
coupled with the need of interpretation of the course of study. There is
probably no more damaging contribution to the teaching profession than
the presence now and then of school executives who give but little, if
any, of their time to the professional inspiration of the teacher. The
teachers in a building with such a principal in charge soon lose their
spirit of wanting to serve and become a part of a routine business
organization. The lack of holding power of such a school is soon
apparent.

Some principals and department heads feel that they make a sufficient
contribution professionally when they say to a new teacher, "I am glad
you are to be with us. If you have any trouble, come and see me." This
is one of the best invitations one could possibly give to get a teacher
to remain away. The best evidence that a principal can show that he
wishes to help the teacher is really to help her, and, best of all, to
find means to help her without being asked.

Not long ago a teacher who wished a transfer came to see me. He said, "I
have been in ---- building for five years, during which time I cannot
recall having received any professional suggestion from the head of the
department. He sees that I have ample supplies and textbooks, but that
is merely routine work. What I need is to be encouraged and shown how I
can grow." I wonder how many teachers have had a similar experience.

Two years ago I visited an algebra teacher who happened to be assigned
to a portable building. He had five classes daily in the same subject. I
had known this teacher for a number of years and had regarded him as an
average instructor. On this visit I said, "You are out here by yourself
and I would like to see what kind of record your pupils can make at the
end of the year in the competitive tests which will be given to the
algebra pupils in all the city high schools." His face brightened and he
said, "All right, I welcome the invitation." Six months later the test
was given and his five classes of pupils made more A and B grades than
all the algebra pupils combined in any other one building of the city.
To-day, this teacher is easily one of our best instructors in
mathematics, and he has recently prepared suggestions as to the teaching
of mathematics by the supervised study method which have proved to be of
great assistance to the other teachers. He simply caught the spirit; his
pupils also caught it, and the results were assured. It did not require
professional suggestion to arouse this teacher, but rather a real chance
of recognition to show what he could do.

II. In an administrative way.

a. _Furnishing supplies and equipment._ One half of the teachers have
apparently suffered from the delay that so often occurs when school
material is not ready when it is needed. Sometimes conditions arise due
to the shifting of pupils or other unforeseen difficulties which make a
delay in the furnishing of supplies and equipment unavoidable. In the
large majority of cases, however, there is no excuse for the delay other
than "Order too late," "Board held up requisitions for investigation,"
"Copy of outlines not ready to be printed," etc.

No efficient business establishment would make a practice of permitting
highly paid help to remain idle a part of the time waiting for necessary
material. In the schools the loss is much greater than in business
because it affects the work of the pupils, who form bad habits early in
the semester which are hard to correct later on.

Some principals make a practice of keeping their stock rooms in perfect
order. Pupils often assist in this work. This makes it possible to keep
a close check on where material can be found and how soon the supply
will be exhausted. Such a spirit of order is contagious and teachers and
pupils are unconsciously encouraged to give greater attention to the
proper use of school material. Thousands of dollars are saved annually
in some school systems having free textbooks and supplies by the careful
checking and transferring of the supplies. We must not forget that some
of the most valuable lessons for the girls and boys come from
experiences gained in other avenues than those learned from textbooks.

b. _Definite directions._ The lack of a well-defined plan of
administration is called to the attention of the principal by one third
of the teaching force. It is sometimes astonishing to note how little
some of us practice what we preach to the pupils and the teachers about
the need of being punctual and definite in the work to be done.

Not long ago, a questionnaire was sent to the teachers of the high
schools asking for suggestions for the handling of school activities.
One of the outstanding replies was--"make a definite schedule for
activity needs and assemblies." One teacher stated it as follows: "I
will plan my work with the classes for tomorrow with the expectation of
having a full period for its recitation and development. On the
following day, without a moment's notice, the bell is likely to ring for
an assembly which will mean a shortening of all the forenoon periods
about one half. My plan of work for the day is practically ruined and
the worth of the period to the class is lost." While it is not always
possible to foretell the time of an assembly or school meeting, it is
generally known by the principal a day or more in advance. A knowledge
of the schedule of such meetings on the part of all the teachers a month
in advance would often save much confusion and embarrassment. Rules
covering tardiness, the issuance of report cards, school discipline, and
general building routine should be definitely understood by all. Much of
the friction between teachers often arises from lack of well-understood
building rules or of enforcement of rules that have been made.

III. In personal relationships.

a. _The higher human qualities._ The last item of the three main
suggestions by the teachers was the subject of the greatest unanimity of
opinion.

The human element is one of the greatest prerequisites to successful
leadership. Time and again I have heard teachers say, "I do not want to
ask Mr. ----. May I take the matter up with Mr. ----, for he is much
more approachable?" The irate parent is usually quickly calmed when he
is met with a feeling of friendly welcome that puts him at ease. It is
hard for the majority of people to tell their troubles to anyone, much
more so to tell them to a superior in authority who has an outward coat
of formality that is difficult to penetrate.

Too much of the principal's time is often given to looking for the
difficulties that arise in the administration of a school with a view to
checking them. This naturally gives the teacher the impression that such
a principal is always looking for trouble, and he is not, as a rule, a
welcome visitor. The principal should endeavor to find something the
teacher is doing that is worth while and to give it the proper
recognition. No principal, however, can see what to commend unless he
keeps closely in touch at all times with the work the teachers are
doing. Idle flattery is far worse than no praise at all.

The kind word or a pleasant "good morning" sincerely spoken by the
teacher has always meant much to me. Why should not a similar expression
on the part of the principal be equally refreshing to her? It is one of
the biggest dividend-paying investments a principal can make. Try it!



                      THE SCHOOL AND THE COMMUNITY


Never before in the history of America has the public school been such
an important factor in the life of the child. In fact, to some extent it
has become too great a factor and the home has permitted or even forced
the school to take over certain responsibilities that cannot well be
delegated.

The high school enrollment is gaining at a tremendous pace and with the
rapid growth comes the problem of greater diversity of student ability
to serve. Twenty years ago the best of the students in the elementary
schools continued their education in the high school. This made a much
simpler problem in the providing of courses of study and equipment.
To-day, however, many of the children who enter the high schools are
able to pursue only such subjects as will fit them for industrial or
commercial occupations. Unless a reasonable amount of such work is
provided, these pupils soon drop out of school and add to the large army
of untrained workers.

The adjusting of boys and girls to proper vocations is one of the big
problems confronting the home and the school. The patron often fails to
understand what the school has to offer and the pupil, with little or no
definite knowledge as to what he is best fitted to do, struggles along
hoping that through the aid of the school he may find himself. In fact,
this country's future depends to a considerable degree upon the
educational adjustment that can be made for its boys and girls during
the upper grade and high school period of their lives. It is no wonder,
then, that vocational guidance departments, trade schools, part-time
schools, and continuation schools have come into prominence during the
last decade.

One of the first things to be done in any community is to study the
industrial and commercial conditions in that locality and then attempt
to offer such special subjects as the district can afford. The students
must be encouraged to learn what the requirements are for certain
vocations. Some schools have provided special courses of study along
vocational lines, while others use student club organizations as a means
of giving information to the pupils.

A good example of the club organization was worked out recently in one
of our high schools. The eight hundred high school boys in attendance
were divided into three groups. One group consisted of those interested
in the study of opportunities offered by the different professions; the
second group, those interested in commercial work; and the third group,
those who wished to enter the industrial and engineering field. One of
these groups met each week on Tuesday morning, forty-five minutes before
the opening of school. An outside speaker, actually engaged in one of
the vocations, would address the meeting and answer questions. Special
provision was made to see that the speaker gave the information needed,
and he was asked to answer the following questions:

    1. How did you happen to enter the profession?

    2. What are the advantages that you have experienced in your
       profession?

    3. What are the disadvantages that you have experienced in your
       profession?

    4. What is the remuneration in your profession?

    5. If you were to attend high school again, to what subjects
       would you give special attention in order to make yourself
       better fitted for your profession?

The interest that was created by these meetings and the value of the
work accomplished went beyond the expectations of the principal. Many of
the pupils changed their programs for the succeeding term so that they
might select subjects that would fit them better for the vocations they
expected to follow. Other pupils stated that it was through what they
had learned at the meetings they had decided to change the vocation they
had previously had in mind.

Many of the student difficulties are due to the unfamiliarity of the
parent with what the school has to offer. I recall one instance in which
a gentleman called at the office and openly criticized the high school
for not offering work whereby his daughter could learn something that
would be useful to her in earning a living. I listened to his complaint,
and then asked him if he would spend five minutes in going about the
building with me. He refused at first to do so but finally consented to
my request. I took him to the sewing rooms, the cooking rooms, the art
rooms, and finally to the typewriting and office-practice rooms. He was
astonished to see that the very subjects he was criticizing the schools
for not offering were available at any time for his daughter if she
wished to take them. He apologized for his attack on the school and
assured me that henceforth he would give attention to the work his
daughter pursued in school.

A few years ago the mayor of the city was invited to address the pupils
at an assembly. At the conclusion of the program I asked him to spend a
few minutes viewing the work offered in the school. After some
hesitation he accepted the invitation, and before he left the building
he said, "I am ashamed to say it, but I have lived in this city for
twenty years and this is the first time that I have had any idea of the
work that our high schools are offering. I feel very much better
prepared now to champion the cause of education."

It is easy for some patrons to feel that a high school education is
useless because now and then they see a boy or girl fail in a position
who had previously had some high school training. They forget that the
high school of to-day is called upon to serve a much more diversified
group of pupils than ever before, and it is not always able to determine
in every case just the type of work that the boy or girl needs in order
to make a success in life.

The schools are making strenuous efforts to give each individual pupil a
chance to adjust himself to a vocation. The junior high school
organization, classification of pupils according to ability, tests and
measurements, and vocational guidance are all means to this end. The
schoolmaster of tomorrow must realize that there is much good in the
education of the past, but that the changing conditions in our social
and industrial life must be met with similar readjustments in the
program of education.





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