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And some, too, have I distinctly in mind, of bright souls and of high promise, who, for the lack of this inspiration and upholding, hare seemingly parted with their former zeal and, grown weary of their unrecog. nized efforts, fill in the slow-going hours with half-hearted work and meagre results.

It makes little difference what stuff a teacher is made of; she can not long stand out alone in good, earnest, honest, healthful endeavor against the blighting miasma of an incompetent, unfaithful, unreliable principal.

The pupils themselves soon inhalo the unwholesome air, and no longer respond to the touch of her quickening spirit, grow careless of their conduct, negligentof duties, and forgetful of their own good names and the fair fame of their school. No investigation is needed to learn the character of such a school; like the darkness of Egypt, it can be felt.

We no longer have the little school house under the hill with its single teacher, principal and assistant in one, working out her own suc. cess or failure; but cach is a part of the one great system. The principal alone can make or unmake it. The work which, in part, I have outlined, no one can do but he, Much is asked of him, but no more than I often see performed; a high ideal is marked out for him, but only because I have witnessed its realization, and made it my thought.

It is this that makes me feel, and feel confident that of our 1,700 teachers and 90,000 pupils in our schools, soon to be the men and women of our city, and, I trast, her pride, many, to the last hour of their lives, will look back with loving hearts and grateful thoughts for the right impulse, the worthy direction, and true inspiration they received at school, through the wise control, the kind interest, and the healthful influence of their school principal.

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Superintendent of Kansas City Schools. Boards of Education designate in general terms the duties principals are required to perform. Among which are the following:

(1) To devote themselves exclusively to the interests of their respective schools, and to have the general management of the schools under their charge, and to open and close the same on time.

(2) To maintain good order in the school building, on the premises, and in the neighborhood thereof, and to suspend refractory pupils when deemed best.

(3) To see that all pupils are properly classified and distributed.

(4) To advise with teachers and to assist them in regard to the best methods of discipline, instruction, and arrangement of exercises.

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(5) To see that teachers are properly informed as to the rules and regulations governing the school, and that they carry out the same in every particular.

(6) To examine, or to assist in examining, all classes as frequently as may be necessary.

(7) To visit, as often as practicable, the rooms of their assistants and to help them in their work.

(8) To keep all school records according to prescribed forms, and make all reports required by the Board.

(9) To have personal care of all school property, furniture, apparatus, fences, walks, shade trees, out-buildings, and yard; direct and have control of the janitor.

(10) Order supplies under proper restrictions and suggest needed improvements.

These, perhaps, are the chief duties devolving upon principals.

While a principal may perform all the duties I have enumerated and be entirely competent to perform as many more, yet it does not follow that he possesses the requisite qualifications to manage a school properly. Do we not look for other and higher and broader and deeper qualifications than these? Are not all these prescribed duties the visible machinery, labelled “special," that pertain to the external of school work rather than to the school-spirit itself?

Do not school authorities look beneath this exterior for something of flesh and blood more nearly akin to humanity than the automaton described under the head of “rules and regulations"? Were we con. structing a real, live principal, or head master, for use and usefulness, would we not endeavor to build one of broader mould and, more comely proportions than a mere executor of registered decrees ?

Suppose a large school in a city is to be supplied with a principal, does not the superintendent at once set before his mind's eye the kind of a man that is needed to fill that vacancy? Would he not take into consideration the school in all its minutiæ and the tastes and dispositions of the patrons of that vicinity?

I apprehend that an inventory of qualifications somewhat after the following would most probably run through the superintendent's head :

(1) Will his manner attract or repel teachers, pupils, and parents ? (2) Is his voice pleasing; or harsh and grating ? (3) Is he pedantic and pretentious; or manly and dignified ? (4) Is he fidgety and nervous; or quiet and equable ? (5) Is his eye restless and foxy; or calm and penetrating? (6) Is his face deceitful; or pleasant and honest ? (7) Is his walk hesitating and unsteady; or direct and firm ? (8) Is his judgment wavering and fitful; or judicial and impartial? (9) Is his judgment narrow and selfish; or broad and liberal!

(10) Is his scholarship weak and restricted; or comprehensive and accurate ?

(11) Is his health tottering; or is it vigorous and strong?

(12) Is his moral nature weak and vacillating; or is it noble and elevated?

(13) Has he stagnated; or is he still elastic and buoyant !

These and similar inquiries would arise and each one must be de. termined positively, indifferently, or negatively. Granting that each is determined favorably, there are other qualifications that far transcend these and other factors that need to be taken into account. The fore: going simply pave the way for those to follow:


Under management is included teachers, pupils, patrons, and the reflex influence on education in general.

A principal who is continually getting into "hot water" with his assistants, or keeping them in “hot water," will never succeed well. There is too much up-hill pulling for good work. At times a principal may have to stir up a “soldiering assistant” who is derelict in duty, and give vent to a little righteous wrath; yet this is only an occasional paroxysm and not a chronic condition. The principal who adopts the spy system never has the confidence of his assistants, and he, sooner or later, will be detested by them. There must be that cordiality of feeling and spirit of helpfulness, that mutual respect and forbearance which secure the happiest and best results with the greatest degree of smoothness in management and work. Impartial, cool, deliberative, inflexibly just, without harshness or severity, the principal must deal with his assistants as co-workers in school. Should an assistant fail either in work or management, it is his duty to strengthen her if possible; but if she be incompetent, then he must perform his duty with tact and delicacy. In no other situation does the principal's character show in its true colors so well as in bis relations with his assistants. Should his assistants know more of schools than he knows, they then shape the policy of the school, and he echoes their wishes. If he finds that he is ensnared, breaking out of the net is usually attended with more or less discord. This condition arises when a weak principal is put in charge of a strong corps of assistants. The principal's knowledge of school work should exhaustively cover all that is taught in his school. In other words, he should be a first-class teacher in every grade from the lowest to the highest. As a preparation for this work, he should come to the management of a school with the experience such as actual work in the various grades gives.

His dealings with pupils are under two forms-instruction and discipline. The positive instruction in his room is designed to fit the finishing class for the high school. There is a time in the life of school boys and girls when the masculine influence is absolutely necessary. Woman's mind is differently constituted from man's. She does not see the world in action as man sees it. Her vision in some respects is microscopic;

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man's the more comprehensive. Sbe works more after fixed plans and inodels; man is more independent and frequently erratic; she teaches; man educates. Both influences are necessary-the one is the comple. ment of the other. At this formative period the impress of the princi. pal must be felt in the highest class. He should finish the pupils in arithmetic, grammar, and history, and send them up well prepared, to high school. If there are holes in their education he should patch them, and not relegate the work to his head assistant.

The disciplinary side is not confined to his own immediate class. It permeates all rooms and all classes. His influenco is felt everywhere; not that the teacher is put into the background, but that, behind her, his presence re-enforces her authority, just as his knowledge is contributary to each teacher in her recitations. In the absence of the reg. ular teacher, if he will conduct recitations or question the pupils, the effect is a mental tonic to both teacher and pupils. In other words, he is a teacher as well as a manager. If he be weak in either one of these particulars, he will never be a successful principal.

A principal may stand well with his patrons, and still be weak with his assistants, and positively injurious to the pupils. But it is not in this sense that the proper relation is to be considered. First, a prin. cipal, by his ability, wisdom, and superior judgment, must be able to convince his assistants and patrons that he can manage a school on those broad principles of justice and moderation, and in such a man. ner, as to command universal respect. If he be just and capable, and conducts his school well, he secures the confidence of those who com. mit their children to his care. Second, when a patron knows that any matter referred to a principal will receive prompt and respectful consideration, he has confidence, then, in the man, which it is hard to weaken. Whereas, if the idea once becomes wide-spread that the prin. cipal is prejudiced, partial, fractious, or unreasonable, his influence is gone. There must be confidence in his intentions, and this confidence can never be secured by playing off sharp practices or by evading issues when they are to be met. In all his dealings with patrons, candor and politeness should characterize all that he says and does. Tact in communicating unpleasant matters to patrons and making the right impression without prejudice, requires a degrec of diplomacy of no mean order. A principal's dealings with the public constitute one of the most difficult duties he is called upon to perform.

If he can manage this part of his work with adroitness and skill, and still do honest work in school, he will combine the qualities of a statesman with those of a practical educator.


It is as a teacher that the principal should exhibit the highest qualities. If he be weak either in discipline or in instruction, his weakness is felt in all the upper rooms of his school. The older pupils, if not properly restrained, contaminate the lower ones until the entire school is more or less affected. The struggle of assistants to hold up the reputation of a school when the lead is weak, vacillating, and rotten, is a hopeless effort. Again, if the principal is not first class in conducting recitations and in securing good results in scholarship, his first assistant cannot make up for this defect. However much it may be glossed over, it leaves a blemish that the critical eye will readily detect.

Since every school contains some teachers that need constant attention and assistance, the principal is the proper person to give this help ; but if he cannot help when it is needed, or he knows not how to assist in the proper manner and at the right time, the teacher is left to blunder along. By help is meant that the principal knows human nature well enough to get the teacher to do the very best work possible under existing conditions. Not only this, but that he infuses a proper educational spirit into both teachers and pupils, which causes thein conjointly to attempt noble ideals. This comes from the mental atmosphere in which he works. If he cannot stimulate his assistants to their best efforts without driving or scolding, his mental machinery is deranged. In whatever department he appears as a teacher, he must exhibit all the qualities of a master workman. This necessitates a critical knowledge of all the branches pursued in his school, and how they should be taught, as well as entire familiarity with what is doing, or has been done, in other localities in this country or among foreign nations. A true principal will draw his inspiration from the world at large.


To perform routine duties perfunctorily, make out dry reports and then hide in a shell, and call it "supervising a ward school,” is to add insult to injury, and to trifle with a sacred trust. A principal should be a true educator in every sense of the term. His scholarship, bis general accomplishments should be such as to create respect for his ability wherever he goes. Among men he should be a man, not a mere “school-keeper,” or pedagogue; among educators le should take a position that comports well with the dignity of his profession. His voice and pen-his entire influence at all times-should be used on the side of justice, goodness, and the elevation of humanity.

When classes pass out from under his control his connection withi them should not cease at the school-room door. If he has done his duty, sympathetic relations have been established and cemented. As classes pass away, lie should exact from each member a promise that at least one letter a year shall pass between them. They will cherish more closely the memories of their school days and feel that the links which once bound them so closely together have not all been severed.

I leave you to fill in the picture between teacher and pupil in after years, and how the influence of the one runs into and shapes the life of the other.

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