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Heating and lighting.-All country school-houses are heated with stoves and lighted from the sides.
Ventilation. But little attention has been given to ventilation, the doors and windows being the chief reliance for ventilation in nearly every school building.
Comfort and conrenience.-In internal arrangements comfort and convenience have been considered.
Condition. But little attention has been given to the improvement of school grounds. But little will be done till the grounds are fenced. One township only, Cherokee, has fenced school grounds. Many trees have been set out but in many instances they have not been properly protected and in consequence have been destroyed.
Out-houses for boys and girls have generally been provided and are as a rule in fair condition.
Length of terms.-In village schools 9 months is the rule; in country schools the average is now about 7 months.
Teachers' salaries.- Teachers' salaries range from $20 to $40 per month in country districts. First-class teachers receive from $28 to $40 per month; second.class, from $25 to $32; and third class, from $20 to $28.
Branches.--The common school branches alone are regularly taught in country schools. Drawing is beginning to receive some attention in nearly all our schools. Our school boards have made an effort to comply with the law in reference to hygienic physiology.
BY A. O. MC FARLAND.
The schools of Chickasaw county have never been in a more prosperous condition than at present. Our people have never before more fully realized the truth of Gen. Grant's terse statement made some years ago in our capital city than they do at present, viz , "the free school is the promoter of that intelligence which is to preserve us a free people.”
Our schools were classified some six years ago and a “classification register " and " course of study" adopted by the school boards throughout the county. This has proved to be an excellent plan. Common school diplomas
have been granted to some ninety boys and girls, and we expect to have several graduating classes during the present term.
A teachers' library association was organized in August, 1883. We have at present eighty-four members of this association, and our library contains nearly ninety volumes. Much good has been accomplished by means of this organization. Many of our best teachers have read a large number of professional works.
In eight of the twelve townships of this county we have a uniform series of text-books, and a number of schools in the other four townships have adopted the standard series.
Applicants for teachers' certificates are required to secure an average standing of eighty per cent for a third class certificate, eighty-five per cent for a second class, and ninety per cent for a first class. This standard enables the superintendent to reject many who might reach an average of seventy per cent, which is the standard for third class certificates in a majority of counties of the State, and still have teachers enough to fill the schools. It has a tendency to make applicants more thorough before they attempt to secure a certificate.
The first exhibit of school work, in connection with our county fair, was made last fall, in 1888. Twenty-two schools were represented, and the sample work attracted much attention.
TEACHERS' NORMAL INSTITUTE.
The spring normal institute of 1886 was well attended, and our teachers showed a strong interest in the work, but the spring normal institute of 1887 was the largest in the history of Chickasaw county.
This increased attendance over former years I attribute largely to the plan of Igrading the institute, which was adopted during the last session. The interest was excellent and the best of feeling prevailed throughout the entire session.
In our institute work here we are seeking to advance our teachers in scholarship and to present to them the best plans of teaching. The methods employed are of practical value to teachers. A model school of primary pupils has been an important and valuable feature of our institutes.
Of the 117 school buildings in this county all but two are frame buildings. The rooms are all heated by stoves, except six rooms in the Nashua school, which are heated by furnace. In a majority of cases the arrangements for ventilating are very imperfect. The only means of admitting fresh air being the door and windows.
We bave patent seats in perhaps ninety or ninety-five of these buildings. There are no district libraries yet, and in perhaps one-fourth of the schools, there is not enough blackboard space.
Most of the grounds are fenced and trees have been planted. There are, however, a fow of the districts that have neglected to set out trees.
The outbuildings are not at all what they should be, in perhaps half the schools of the county. There should be some means provided to compel school officers to furnish separate outbuildings for boys and girls. In some cases I have found it necessary to make urgent appeals to school directors in order to get them to repair these privies, and even personal appeals have sometimes failed.
In the rural schools of the county the average time taught during 1886 was 6.8 months.
Teachers salaries are low. The average salary for 1886 being only $28.20 for the entire county, and in the rural districts the average salary was $26.60.
The above figures, which are correct if the district secretaries reports are reliable, show that our people are not paying the teachers living salaries.
All the branches in which teachers are required to pass an examination, except theory and practice of teaching, are taught. In a few, not to exceed three or four of the district schools, algebra is taught, while civil government and word analysis are taught in perhaps some twelve or fifteen of these schools. In our graded schools a number of the higher branches are taught. Drawing is taught in a very few of our district schools.
Hygienic physiology, in compliance with the recent enactment of our General Assembly, is taught in nearly all of our schools; but in many districts the boards have taken no action in the matter, leaving the teacher to give oral instruction in this branch.
REMARKS AND SUGGESTIONS.
In my opinion a circular prepared by the Superintendent of Public Instruction, and showing the average salaries paid teachers in a number of the counties of our State, and also the average salary paid for the entire State, might, if printed in sufficient number to reach all school officers, tend to increase the wages in some of our counties.
I believe that the average for certificates throughout the State might be raised to eighty per cent for third class certificates and eighty. five per cent for second class.
BY J. J. TAYLOR.
There is an increasing interest taken in education in this county, though it is by no means as great as should be.
The increasing interest is shown by a better attendance at normal institute, more and better school journals are taken by the teachers, samo teachers are raising their grade at examination, more parents are visiting their schools, and teachers are attending higher institutions of learning to become familiar with the higher branches.
Before January, 1886, no classification existed in the country schools, pupils were allowed to pursue their studies with irregularity, making a hobby of one branch and neglecting others, no record was kept of standing and advancement of pupils, and each succeeding teacher was compelled to begin and organize his school as if it were the first taught in the district. Now there is a course of study, prepared especially for the schools of this county, and a classification register in every rural school in county.
Teachers (with exception of a few antideluvians) are much pleased with change, and are giving the work their hearty support. Fourteen completed the course and received diplomas at close of spring term; several of these are now attending the high school at Osceola and other places. Have also graded or normal institutes; two classes have finished course of study, one in 1886, the other in 1887, and received diplomas.
The change in the plan of normal institutes has also met with approbation of our teachers, shown by an increased attendance. Knowing more teachers · fail in their work from poor methods than from any other cause, the instructors who were chosen were able to give the teacher the newest and most natural methods for imparting instruction. Particular attention was given to didactics and language. One feature of our normal institute was an institute exhibit," the first ever held in the county. It consisted of all kinds of drawings, composition and language work, letters of all kinds, examination papers, topic books, sets of books from book-keeping classes in the rural schools, biographies, etc.
In rural districts in most places school boards and teachers are trying to improve appearance of grounds in different ways. “Arbor Day" was observed by a number of teachers by appropriate exercises.
Length of term in country schools about seven months. Teachers are not 80 well paid as should be, but in the near future the salaries of deserving teachers will be raised.
Teachers are giving all the common branches more attention and trying to have the pupils become regular in the course of study.
In several rural schools several of the higher branches are taught, but one or two of those who received diplomas but had studied algebra, civil government, natural philosopy and physical geography; several had studied book-keeping.
Teachers are required to give fifteen minutes daily drill in penmanship. But little attention is given as yet to vocal music, but most teachers have a song mornings at opening exercises and after noon.
Considerable attention is given to both map and physical drawings. The Electic system is introduced in all grades of the Murray schools.
The teachers are generally complying with the new school law requiring the teaching of hygienic physiology.
Most of the school buildings are in fair condition and a good many are being furnished with apparatus.
BY G. S. MANN.
In entering upon the duty of making a report to you of “The Condition and Progress of Education" in Clay county, I do so with a feeling of inability to do justice to the subject. However I will give you a few thoughts upon the subject that may serve to give you some idea of our growth and prosperity during my residence in the county. I have been a resident of Clay county for sixteen years, coming to the county in the spring of 1871. At that time school-houses were few and far between. The few settlers that were then here were mostly of an intelligent class of people, and at once took steps to organize schools. Our first schools were held in the kitchen or bed-room of some enthusiastic settler, and consisted of the children of the former and perhaps those of one or two of his neighbors, and the teacher in many cases was the good wife of the settler, or perhaps his daughter. A table and a bench or two, or a few stools, constituted the furniture, and for books we used any kind that came to hand, several little lads ofttimes reading from the same book. With little money, grasshoppers and poor crops, for a few years the wheels of progress in education moved slowly, but by diligence and perseverance, and an undying interest in education we have lived to see our prairies dotted with fine school-houses, furnished with the best furniture manufactured. We have steadily grown and increased in wealth until we now have over one hundred schools in Clay