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course should be, but it is the supervisor's part to say what the topics shall be for his school system. It is then the teacher's part to teach what is found in the course of study as best he can. As has already been said, reading, literature, and language study allow more ground for freedom of choice without loss of value. Yet even here, it seems to me there is a best choice of books to read and of stories and poems to learn. And my opinion is that more satisfactory students will be brought out of our schools if the supervisor lays down a course of language and reading to be adhered to pretty closely. This supervisor will be the superintendent for most branches of study in the smaller city and the supervisor of special subjects in the larger cities.
The part of the individual classroom teacher is to instruct, to inform, to educate the growing children committed to his care, using as material for this purpose what the supervisor has laid down in the course of study. In this teaching the greatest liberty, the widest latitude as to method should be granted the teacher. He should be encouraged to test new methods, to plan new devices, to base his teaching upon recognized principles. The supervisor, from his deeper knowledge of these principles, from his wider observation of good teaching, and from his own skill in teaching, may reasonably be called upon from time to time to show the classroom teacher how to teach. But this is not the first nor the second function of the supervisor. His first function is to say what shall be taught, his second to see that it is taught. The supervisor of music, for example, should decide what music is to be taught in his schools. This he should plainly outline to his teachers and explain it to them in teachers' meetings. He should then visit the individual teachers to test their schools, to learn what has been accomplished, to offer suggestions for correcting and improving the results, and perhaps to give a model teaching exercise for the teacher's benefit.
Modern city school systems are in great danger of over-supervision. The rural school is most needy from the lack of any sort of supervision. The city system has gone to the other extreme, with its superintendent and special supervisors of music, drawing, penmanship, manual training, primary methods, nature-study, language and reading, etc. No wonder teachers are bewildered in trying to serve so many masters-no wonder hardly a day passes without having the regular program interrupted by the visit of a "special." With advanced and more extensive requirements as to the training of teachers, the time will perhaps come when our smaller cities can eliminate the visits of supervisors of special subjects. We may look forward to the time when teachers will be so trained in drawing, music, and handwork that they will be prepared as well to carry forward the teaching of these branches as of reading, writing, and arithmetic. At present the technical character of these subjects of study, coupled with the inadequacy of the teacher's preparation, makes necessary the classroom visitation of the supervisor. But let us see to it that this visitation is not so frequent as to become dwarfing and deadening in its effect upon the teacher. Weekly visits of any supervising officer, be he superintendent or special teacher, are too frequent. Once in two weeks, three weeks, or four weeks is often enough—never should scheduled visits of the supervisor be oftener than fortnightly. This will leave the teacher alone long enough to lay out a plan of teaching and to carry it into execution. Too frequent visitation is like the classic example of pulling up the beans to see whether they have sprouted.
Having now pointed out that a system of schools should have unity in its purposes, as set forth in its course of study, it remains to speak more closely of how this unity may be idealized and then carried out into living reality in the life of the school and of the community. To this the most important answer is-it can best be accomplished thru the personality of the supervisor. The supervisor includes the superintendent as well as the supervisors of special subjects. The ordinary means of supervision are well known and call for no comment here, namely, written outlines, teachers' meetings, school visitation, model lesson exercises, etc. But back of all these methods and above them lies the character of the supervisor himself. A supervisor of a special branch should be chosen first
for his knowledge of his subject. Nothing will take the place of this. He should have studied the subject-matter long and thoroly, he should have studied methods of teaching it and then he should have taught it under circumstances similar to those under which he is supervising the work. Unless the supervisor has taught in the classroom he will fail to appreciate the difficulties of the teacher's problem. The supervisor should also be a constant student. He should go on to perfection in his art. If he is a supervisor of drawing he should have continued practice in the art of drawing; he should be acquainted with the history of drawing and of fine arts, both past and present; he should be familiar with the theory and practice of art instruction, as carried on today in the schools of our own land, both public and private, as well as those of foreign lands. Besides this knowledge and skill the supervisor should have a sunny disposition which shall bring joy and inspiration to the teachers whenever they come in contact with him. His visits to the classroom should be like a summer breeze, bringing rest and refreshment.
Now what has been said of the supervisor may be demanded of the superintendent a fortiori. We have truly said in the past, "as is the teacher, so is the school." We may as truly say today, as is the superintendent, so is the school system. The true answer to the question before us, how to secure unity of ideals and purposes in teachers, is thru the personality of the superintendent. The ideals of the superintendent should inspire supervisors and teachers alike. In every city having no more than three or four hundred teachers, the superintendent should come closely enough in touch with the teachers to make his personal influence felt. This influence should be an educational force, not merely a commercial relationship. Fifteen years ago, when considering the advisability of giving up the high-school principalship for the superintendency, I talked the matter over with one of my college professors. He discouraged me from making the change, saying of the superintendency, "It is after all only a business." His manner and voice indicated his estimate both of the superintendent's work and of business in general. Connected with the superintendent's work are many commercial details, but they should be made as few as possible. Happily the tendency is to relieve the superintendent more and more of the selection of tablet paper and the repair of broken windows. To be sure every part of the school administration is of interest to the superintendent. He must have enough native business ability and he must have given enough attention to school-board business to make his opinion of value to his board, but this opinion should be asked for only in emergencies. The questions which the board of education should ask of the superintendent are, Can our eighth-grade pupils write a business letter? Do our sixth-grade pupils have a legible handwriting? Superintendents should more and more train our boards of education to provide some other way of looking after janitors, schoolhouses, and school supplies than thru the superintendent.
Granted now that a school system should have unity, and that the superintendent is the unifying agency, how is his influence to be carried into effect? In the first place, the superintendent should have a policy, a progressive policy, probably not too progressive, and an aggressive policy, certainly not too aggressive. This policy will of course assume different aspects in different places and at different times. It may be the improvement of teachers in service, the awakening in them of a professional zeal; it may be practical education, making a vital connection between the school and society; this year it may be the improvement of teaching reading, next year of arithmetic, next year of composition, and so on. But the superintendent must have a definite policy, he must himself be conscious of what this policy is, and it must be recognized by the teachers. For getting before the teachers large questions of purpose and policy, nothing takes the place of the general teachers' meeting, on Saturday morning or on an afternoon when school has been dismissed for this purpose, never after four o'clock when teachers are tired and perhaps Respect for the superintendent is the center about which unity of ideals and purposes should cohere, and the nucleus of this respect must lie in the superintendent's policy. He should be a leader, the educational leader of the community, but he should not there
fore assume to know it all and resent any suggestion of school betterment. Every hint should be welcomed by the superintendent, carefully considered, and judged on its merits, whether it come from members of the board of education, teachers, business men, or even from the newspapers. The superintendent should keep just a little in advance of his board and his teachers and his community-one or two years in advance, not ten or twenty years in advance-this makes him unpractical and a dreamer, but he never should be behind his constituency—not even a month—if he is, time for his retirement has come. Having a policy, well defined and well known, respect for the superintendent arises from several other factors.
1. As was said in regard to the supervisor, nothing will take the place of knowledge in commanding respect and even obedience. Knowledge of subject-matter is the best cure for nine-tenths of the classroom teacher's troubles with discipline, and so it is the solvent for the superintendent when he finds a lack of loyalty among his teachers. It is manifestly impossible for one man to have scientific knowledge of all or even of many of the particular branches of instruction. But the nearer the superintendent approaches to this knowledge, the better for his standing among his teachers. Even if not familiar with the latest data in all the sciences, he should at least be familiar with methods of teaching every subject. He should know the literature of methodology in every school subject and should be able to refer teachers to the sources. Moreover he should see that teachers study this literature and have opinions in regard to it. For example, the superintendent should know of the Aldine and the Natural methods of teaching reading, he should know what topics recent writers would eliminate from arithmetic, he should know what emphasis to lay on war in teaching history, he should know why ancient history is taught in the first high-school year, he should know how algebra is taught graphically, why so few pupils take physics if an option is offered, why the natural method of teaching German and modern languages is advocated, how to make botany appeal to an increasing number of students-all these topics of current interest the superintendent should be familiar with, as a means of inspiring his teachers to know them too.
2. Respect for the superintendent grows also from a knowledge among his acquaintances that he is absolutely devoted to his profession. This devotion is of course evident from his knowledge of his subject, but it may also be judged from the time which the superintendent gives to his work and from the way he spends his time. The proper division of his time is one-half to school visitation, one-half to study. The superintendent needs to spend half his time visiting schools in order to know the needs of the pupils and the difficulties of the teachers, and he needs to spend the other half in study in order that he may have something more than platitudes to offer to the burdened teacher when he does visit her. Further, the superintendent should spend some time each year in visiting contemporary school systems. School boards are wisely learning to bear the superintendent's expenses in such visitation, but even at his own charge the superintendent cannot afford to pass a year without this source of information and suggestion.
3. A third source of respect for the superintendent is his teaching ability. The only adequate preparation for the superintendency is a degree or degrees, supplemented by actual classroom work, preferably first in the country school, then in a graded system, and last in a high school. One may be able to recognize poor teaching without having been a teacher himself, but one cannot show the unhappy teacher how to teach well without having taught. The classroom teacher invariably says to herself, and frequently to her nextroom neighbor, “It's mighty easy for the superintendent to come in for twenty minutes once a month and find fault because the class doesn't know more, but why doesn't he take hold and show me how to do it? Because he can't." And, too often, fellow-superintendents, this is true, we can't do it. We ought to try our hand at teaching, teaching classes, or teaching a half-day at a time, enough to be able to show our teachers that we can teach and that we do appreciate their hard places from having trod them ourselves.
If a superintendent's life among his teachers is such as to command the respect I
have been describing, the result will be a unity of ideals and purposes because the teachers will make the ideals and purposes of the superintendent their own. The wise superintendent will gather his principals and teachers about him, take them into his confidence, ask them their opinion about everything, and, if possible, he will agree with them about everything. If, however, he must disagree with them; if he must ordain a course of study at variance with their wishes, the only possible way to have it taught is by teachers who respect the superintendent's knowledge, devotion, sincerity, and teaching ability, even when disagreeing with him. If then the course of study calls for primitive arboreal man, the teacher must teach it, but he will put no spirit into his teaching unless there exists in the system that esprit de corps which gives a unity of endeavor to all the teachers, derived from a respect for the policy of the school, as determined by the superintendent's life and character.
GEORGE A. WORKS, superintendent of schools, Menomonie, Wis.-In the discussion of this topic, we are made to face the fact that the superintendent who wishes to secure unity of ideals and purposes in any corps of teachers, must himself be in possession of definite, clear, and rational ideals of education. These ideals are of two classes: First, the broad general aims which underlie the work of the public schools as a factor in education. These ideals should be rationally progressive, but with all so firmly anchored in the best educational theory and practice, that their possessor will not be swept away by every wave of pedagogical reform, either of a local or country-wide character. Second, the superintendent must also have clear and well-defined ideals of what constitutes highgrade classroom instruction, management, organization, and spirit. Lack in either of these respects means that the school system having such supervision will not reach the highest possible degree of efficiency.
Granted that the superintendent is well fitted for his supervisory duties so far as ideals are a factor, he still has important functions to perform in getting these ideals before the teachers so that they may comprehend them, desire to make them their ideals, and to realize them in practice, in showing teachers how to attain these ends in practice, in following up this work to determine the degree of success with which teachers are meeting, and giving them encouragement when the results will justify it and further help where it is needed.
A rough classification of teachers may help in deciding upon the best methods of solution for these questions. There is in every school system a small percentage of exceptional teachers-people who have a vital interest in their work, and a thoughtful attitude toward it. They are people who would do good work without any or even with poor supervision. Such teachers need little more than the encouragement and loyal support of the supervisor in order to do the very best of work. When well grounded in pedagogical principles, they should be allowed and encouraged to make experiments in educational practice so long as they do not run counter to rational doctrine. Too frequently teachers of this group are held so closely by the machinery of the system that they lose the vital interest in their work that is essential for the best results.
A few words of explanation may make these last two statements more definite. In the graded-school system, each teacher has certain results to accomplish that the work of the grade may fit in with what has gone before and what is to follow. This may not always be the subject-matter that the teacher likes best to present, but whether or not it shall be used, should not be left to his determination. In general, the teacher's individuality becomes an impertinence when it determines what is to be taught over any considerable period. There is ample opportunity for the exercise of the teacher's judgment in determining the method of presentation. When teachers are lacking in individuality, the superintendent must at times enter even this field and insist that his methods be used. Upon this basis, individuality may be developed in the teacher's work.
The second class, which comprises the majority of teachers, are those who render a medium or fairly good quality of service. Conscientious, frequently to a fault, they fall a little short of the first group because of lack of initiative and thoughtfulness. Such teachers need frequent encouragement and inspiration from the supervisor to keep them from losing faith in themselves and their work. The third and last group are the poor teachers. Here is to be found the teacher of some ability, but devoid of interest in her duties. Frequently it is impossible for the superintendent to substitute interest in the school affairs for the social or other extraneous interests which already occupy this teacher's attention. There likewise belongs to this class the teacher who is so weak in discipline or some other fundamental characteristic, that in spite of all the help the superintendent is able to give, he is not able to cope successfully with the daily problems of the schoolIn fairness to the pupils and these two kinds of individuals they should be dropped from the service, and unless a superintendent is free to do this, he should not be held responsible for their work. In this same group are found teachers completely lacking in initiative but who, by imitation of others, do passable work. The proportion of this kind that has to be retained in a system depends on the salary schedule. There is also in this group the weak teacher who is capable of considerable growth when subjected to proper stimulus. With these two kinds of teachers, there is much need of frequent individual conferences with the superintendent, a possibility in the small school system. There rests upon every superintendent a solemn obligation to do his best by each teacher that works under his direction. When a teacher is failing badly, it is the duty of the supervisor to make the best possible analysis of the failure and discuss the causes fully and frankly with him at an early date. The teacher should not be permitted to go thru the year without warning and then dropped unceremoniously or foisted upon an innocent superintendent in some distant city. We should realize fully our opportunity for helpfulness to the weaker members of the teaching staff.
From this part of the discussion, it is evident that we believe a great deal in the personal conference in securing proper ideals in a teaching force. But even in the small school system, not all can be accomplished by this means. Further help may be secured thru the different kinds of teachers' meetings. There should be the general teachers' meetings about once a month so that the superintendent may have an opportunity to impress on his co-workers his views of education, to keep them in touch with the best pedagogical thought, to commend that which he has found in his visitation that may be worthy of commendation, and to offer constructive criticism where it is needed. When pedagogical literature is made the basis of study, the results obtained will be greatly improved by placing in the hands of the teachers thought-stimulating questions when they are preparing on the subject-matter. At these meetings the topics of discussion should be of such a character as to appeal to all teachers, and have in them something of help to all. There is no virtue in teachers meeting for the sake of formality. Some of the complaints that are registered against teachers' meetings come from our most conscientious and loyal co-workers because we give them stones when they ask for bread.
If all of our teachers belonged to the first class described, there would not be great need for more than the general teachers' meetings. The large number of teachers in groups two and three, however, make very necessary the meetings by grade and by subject. In the first of these meetings the teachers of a given grade are brought together to consider questions peculiar to their grades, and in the second the teachers working with a particular subject in two or more grades meet for consideration of the subject. It is well to let the teachers know in advance what the topic of the meeting is to be so that they may come prepared to take part. Occasionally these gatherings may be devoted to a consideration of some of the general criticisms the superintendent has brought together as a result of his visits to classrooms. A plan that has proved very helpful is for the superintendent to group the criticisms he has to offer so that a fundamental weakness underlies any given group. A thought-stimulating question or series of questions based on each weakness