The Characteristics of an Efficient Secondary-School Teacher

Walter Ballou Jacobs
1904 The School Review  
WHEN the sculptor seeks to make a statue of the perfect man, he is not content with a single model, but he searches out many. From one he chooses a graceful hand; from another, a well-rounded thigh; from another, a high and thoughtful forehead; from still another, firm-set but gentle lips. It is becoming for one who would word a simple sketch of the efficient teacher in like manner to search for excellences wherever there have' been noble teachers, to choose the best, and to arrange in a whole
more » ... hat has been chosen. We are not so vain as to think that excellence in the teacher was born with our generation. The past, rich in memories, holds for us the names of many noble teachers. We are told that the schoolmasters of the colonial period of our history were of three classes. There were a few men of scholarly preparation who made teaching the work of their lives, and kept up the best traditions of the free-schoolmasters of Old England-of Mulcaster and Brinsley and Charles Hoole. Then there were young clergymen, and ministers of non-episcopalian denominations, recently from college, who taught school while waiting for a call to the pastoral office. Finally there was a miscellaneous lot of adventurers, indented servants, educated rogues, and the like, all either mentally or morally incompetent, or both, who taught school only to keep from starving.' Such is the lineage from which we are sprung. We can proudly say that for the most part the educated rogues and adventurers have disappeared. The high moral character of the teachers of America is cause for the most profound congratulation. The teacher may not belong to this religious sect or to that religious sect, or indeed to any religious sect; but he is almost uniformly a man of honor, of deep-seated convictions-a man to whose higher nature appeal can be made with assurance of a hearing. Nevertheless, the schoolmasters who keep up the best traditions are even now altogether too few, and there are still many who look upon teaching merely as a prelude to the ministry or medicine or matrimony.
doi:10.1086/434635 fatcat:chmvbuwgq5hvxdrb6gualdkpjy