“SWANZEY. — George I. Cutler, Alonzo A. Ware.
SCHOOL-HOUSES AND TEACHERS.
Some of our districts have made a good beginning in setting out trees and otherwise ornamenting the grounds around their school-houses. We wish this practice might be continued. It costs but little; its benefits are many. Future generations will thank us for our efforts in this direction.
We have noticed that some of our school-rooms have been ornamented the past year to an unusual extent with flowers and appropriate pictures. We would encourage the practice; its tendency is to elevate and refine. The profane word and the uncouth expression are not heard in our parlors and among the attractions of home as in those places which are repulsive and forbidding. The child may be taught to love the beautiful, to adorn the premises where so many of his youthful days are spent. The result would be good and only good.
Many of our teachers are well qualified in every respect for their vocation; but, in common with other school committees, we are compelled to say that some, even intellectually, are not qualified as they should be. They may, perhaps, answer the questions when asked in order from the book (though some even then would need the initial letter, as in some geographies, to guide them), but in the practical application of the lessons they pretend to teach, in the philosophy of language and other sciences, they are sadly deficient. We would by no means discourage any teacher; we deeply sympathize with them in their work; but we would urge that a higher standard in knowledge be aimed at, — that every subject required to be taught be well understood, that the teacher be ready with a liberal fund of general knowledge and familiar illustrations outside of the book to enable the pupil to clearly comprehend the lessons therein contained. Scholars are not expected to learn that at school which the teacher does not know; the stream does not rise above the fountain. In these palmy days of science, when every needed facility is at hand for preparing teachers for their work, there need be no excuse for lack of intellectual qualifications.”
Biennial Report of New Hampshire State Board of Education. Vol. 35, by New Hampshire State Board of Education, New Hampshire Commissioner of Common Schools and New Hampshire Dept. of Public Instruction, 1881, pages 79-80