Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

ered. It is not, of course, capable of extensive application, and the generally inelastic nature of the work in the lower departments remains to be supplemented, and as far as possible compensated for here. We have sought to provide for this by furnishing various parallel branches of study in this school, and it is my hope that the chevaux de frise of percentages which bristle upon every avenue of approach to this stronghold of learning may be to some extent removed, and a more liberal view taken of what the school is for. It is true that not every horse can be trained to be a race horse; but it is none the less true that we like to see our coach horses well groomed

The question has been discussed in public, “What shall we do with our boys ?” Orators, lawyers and editors have addressed audiences upon this topic. It interests all classes, and we, who are connected with educational matters, are brought closely in contact with it.

Let those gentlemen who have propounded that question cast their eyes over this audience, and we will show them what we are doing with our boys at this end of the line. But alas! the fruit that we see ripening here to-day is but a small percentage of that which was set in the primary school, and they might still say this does not answer our question.

May I be pardoned at this time, and in this connection, if I throw out a hint of what I believe will help to solve this question in the future. The subject is closely connected with what has gone before, and perhaps these words may fall upon willing ears.

I have alluded to the different planes upon which pupils of the same age stand in the graded system, and the different results that must follow from precisely the same instruction. Apart from all questions of intellectual culture, the habits of discipline and obedience acquired by a child reared in a well-ordered family are probably of more value than any other development. The receptivity of a child who has been taught to move, or to stop when spoken to, must be far greater than that

of one whose life has been spent in throwing stones at Chinamen, and building bonfires in the streets.

The generous nature of the climate here is such that the child of a family too poor to maintain constant supervision over it, is turned adrift upon the streets to charge about,* committing those minor offenses-promises, and almost certain forerunners of serious difficulty one of these days.

Experience has established, and the law has defined, the proper minimum age for beginning our regular studies in the public schools to be six years, and we all know that practically this is young enough according to our present methods.

But modern German thought has developed a system of amusing children which at the same time prepares their minds for future training, and enables parents to avail themselves of the system while their children are still very young.

If it were possible to erect a few buildings around the city, in those portions where the very young abound so thickly, and gather in the little children between the ages of three and six years, for five or six hours daily, during which time they should be amused and interested; thus removing them from the dangers and temptations

.

of the streets; comforting their mothers with the knowledge of their safety; teaching them little or nothing except methods of thought; I say, if one, two or three such schools could be tried, something could be done for the boy of twelve or fifteen years hence. From the Kindergarten these boys would enter the Primary School upon a par with the boys with whom I have heretofore placed them in contrast; with habits of obedience and methods of thought already acquired. Truancy, that terror of principals, would be reduced, for school by this system is a synonym for pleasure. The little fellows look forward with delight to the hours to be spent there, and leave for home with regret. The wild charms of a nomadic life, the comforts of a night in a dry-goods box or a sugar hogshead--all these can and would be dispelled by continuous kindly effort.' The hold that this wild, irresponsible sort of life has upon the unkempt natures of these little fellows is almost incomprehensible, and the necessity for capturing them while young-very young-and molding them to conform more nearly to some recognized social type, is evident to the reflective mind. Further, our knowledge of our pupils and their ways of life would begin earlier, and we should know better what it was essential to do to aid them in the rugged pathways of life. These, then, are the lessons which my two years' service in the

have taught me: I. The great evil of our system is its inelasticity.

II. The remedies which can be applied are: The Kindergarten at one end of the course; judicious promotions of exceptionally bright pupils during the course; and a liberal opening up of the opportunities of the High School at the other end.

I entertain the hope that the experiment of the Kindergarten or some kindred school may be tried at an early date. Properly managed it cannot fail. I urge it not so much for its direct educational result (though the experiment elsewhere has proved a success) as for the hold it will give upon the good-will and affections of these nomad children, whose lives are otherwise destined to be lost in the streets. By this means they can be gathered in. They can be kept out of mischief and they can be taught, without knowing it, what obedience is. They can be prepared for the primary work, and the tares of truancy can be weeded out of their desires. This work fairly inaugurated, the effects upon the inelastic graded system could not fail to be realized.

As to the work in the High Schools, I feel sure that all here will give the present Board of Education credit for having labored with great unanimity to improve it, and will join with me in congratulating the teachers and the boys upon the mutual good-will which seems to pervade this school.

I have before stated the purposes of the school. We have shaped our course of study to meet these purposes. In this form we shall hand it over to our successors, our term of office having nearly expired. Its future rests in their hands.

Among the problems which they will have to solve will be the various questions as to what shall entitle a person to admission, and what shall be required of students after admission. In our action we have recognized certain general principles.

It is impossible for us to ignore the fact that after passing beyond the Grammar grades, any course of study which treads beyond certain limits must overtake and lie parallel with that of the University. A due regard for economy will not permit us to retain here, at a great expense, a school simply to traverse ground, which can be gained by crossing the Bay, with little inconvenience to the student and with no expense to the city. Apart from questions of economy we have earnestly labored to maintain harmonious relations with the officers of the University, and have sought to shape our school so that it should prove a feeder and not a rival.

At the same time we have endeavored to enlarge the sphere of usefulness of the school to its greatest possible dimensions. It belongs to the public. It has been carefully provided for, and its dispensations should be made in a liberal spirit and with a liberal

hand.

Many questions relating to young men, peculiarly situated, who, under the rules cannot derive any benefit from the school, but who are worthy of our aid and sympathy, will constantly arise. No rule can be laid down that will govern all such cases. The only thing to do is to determine each case on its merits.

What I have said of this school will generally apply to the Girls' High School. We have endeavored to make the course of study there more elastic than it was. The elements with which we have to deal there, differ largely from those composing this school. A majority of the pupils desire to become teachers, and are anxious to pursue a special course of study which shall fit them for that purpose. It is not improbable that the pressure in that direction will at an early day lead to the foundation of a City Normal School. In that case, what will become of the remnant of the school which will be left ?

When the school was founded the sexes were together, and I see no objection to an opportunity being afforded them to pursue their studies together now.

I believe this to be the only true policy to pursue with reference to the higher schools. As far as is practicable, give your principals swing and hold them accountable for results. If they fail, depose them, but do not meddle with them any more than can be helped while they are on trial.

In the matter of text-books for the High Schools, fear of popular clamor against new_books should not prevent their introduction whenever needed. The world does not stand still, and advanced ideas cannot be obtained from obsolete books. It is nonsense to think of acquiring a higher education without taking advantage of every aid in the way of new books.

15. Veteran Teachers.-Ellis H. Holmes ranks as the teacher continuously engaged in teaching in the city schools for the longest period of time--23 years, from February, 1853, to June, 1876. During that time he was never absent a day from school. Mrs. A. E. Dubois, nee Miss Anna E. Sandford, ranks next to Mr. Holmes, having begun teaching as an assistant in Mr. Denman's school, April, 1853. She has been continuously in the schools, with the exception of six months' leave of absence. Mrs. L. A. K. Clappe has taught continuously since November 4, 1854, and Mrs. L. A. Morgan since 1855. Mrs. Margaret Deane has taught since 1854, but not continuously.

James Denman began teaching November 17, 1851, but resigned in 1857, and was elected City Superintendent in 1858. He has taught altogether 13 years, and held the office of Superintendent 7 years.

John C. Pelton taught in San Francisco in 1850; from 1857 to 1860; 1863 to 1870; altogether 11 years. He was City Superintendent 3 years, and County Superintendent 1 year; was Principal of the State Reform School at Marysville, 1860 to 1863, and Superintendent of the San Francisco Industrial School from 1870 to 1872.

Captain Joseph C. Morrill was the popular Principal of the Spring Valley School from 1852 to 1860, when he resigned and soon after entered the volunteer service of the United States, and remained during the war of secession. In 1870, he was appointed Principal of the Industrial School, and soon afterwards Superintendent. During an “investigation” the hue and cry of cruelty was raised against him, and he resigned. He was one of the kindest and most generous of men, and was the most useful teacher ever employed in that institution.

George W. Minns was elected teacher of Natural Sciences in the High School, August, 1856, and Principal of the Boys' High School in 1864, and Principal of the State Normal School, 1866. In 1867, he resigned and went East. Professor Minns was one of the leading educational lecturers in the State.

H. P. Carlton was Principal of a Grammar School from 1854 to 1861; Vice-principal and Principal of the State Normal School from 1863 to 1873; and has been a teacher in San Francisco and Oakland since 1873.

Theodore Bradley was made Principal of the Denman School, 1861, and of the Boys' High School in 1866; in which he remained until 1874.

Thomas S. Myrick was the popular Principal of the Market Street School and the Union Grammar School from 1856 to 1869. He is now teaching at Dutch Flat.

Mrs. E. S. Forrester has been continuously engaged as a primary teacher since May 10, 1856,--20 years.

Miss Kate Kennedy, the first female Principal of a Grammar

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »