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county, presided over by a class of teachers that will compare favorably with those of the older portions of our State.
We held our first normal institute in the fall of 1873. At that time the institute seemed an experiment, and our teachers did little more than listen to the oral instruction given by the instructor in charge.
The teachers did not know what was expected of them, and the instructor did not understand their needs, and so both worked at a disadvantage. Gradually we have improved upon the plan of conducting our normal schools, until they are now short training schools, in which the teachers are the pupils, and we assign them lessons daily. Thoroughly reviewing them in their studies, and doing some advance work each year. The normal institutes are a power for good in my opinion. They serve to unify the work throughout the county; bring teachers in contact with each other; broaden the idea of our teachers; give them an opportunity to exchange ideas, and create a desire on their part to reach forth a helping hand and assist a needy brother.
Our school houses are all of wood, and though we have some old rookeries our houses are, as a rule, good commodious houses, supplied with fair outbuildings. Our country school sites all contain one acre of land, and many of them have been surrounded with trees, and the others will be as soon as the land can be suitably subdued and prepared.
Our houses are nearly all heated by coal stoves, and ventilated by dropping the windows.
We have two graded schools in the county: One at Spencer, with eight rooms, and one at Peterson, with two rooms. Our Spencer schools are heated by a furnace in the basement. No means of ventilation except by the windows.
We have ten months school in our graded schools and seven months in our country schools per annum. Teachers' salaries range from $35 to $15 per month in the graded schools, with $100 per month to the principal of the school, to $25 and $30 per month for the country teachers. Only the common school branches required by law are taught in our country schools. Penmanship has been sadly neglected, drawing and vocal music also have not received the attention they deserve. We are making an effort to bring up the rear on penmanship this season, with fair promise of success. I think all our schools will cheerfully conform to school law of 1886, with reference to the study of physiology and hygiene, with special reference to the effects of stimulants and narcotics upon the human system,
The bane of our common schools is, we have no teachers that enter the work as a vocation. The salaries paid to teachers will not warrant any person of energy in entering the work for any length of time. Consequently, our best teachers are constantly dropping out, and their places are being
filled by young and inexperienced teachers. True, we are paying out a vast amount of money for education each year, but at the same time we are putting forth a vast amount of effort and doing a vast amount of labor, and I claim that the teachers, as a class, are the poorest paid laborers-taking into consideration the time and outlay of money required to prepare them to perform their labor-of any class on the face of God's green earth. “How to be happy, though married," is the title of a recently published book, and which, by the way, is the best thing about it It might be in order for some experienced person to write upon the theme, “How to live, though a teacher.” The great need of the hour is better teachers for our country schools, and better pay for their services.
BY G. H. SMART.
The Clayton county normal institute was organized in August, 1874, with an enrollment of 169. A session has been held each year since its organization, and we could not well dispense with it without serious injury to our schools. Our aim is to improve our teachers and instruct them in methods of teaching.
The school houses in the county are, with but few exceptions, frame or brick, and are in very good condition. The buildings erected for school purposes during the past few years were built with a view to comfort and convenience, and each year some old stone or frame structures give way to neat and commodious buildings.
There are three school houses in the county, in which furnaces are used ; others are provided with common stoves. Generally, there are no special preparations for ventilation.
The general condition of school grounds is good, and that of out-houses about average.
A majority of districts have their school lots fenced, and have complied with the law relating to shade trees and barbed wire.
The average length of school in the rural districts is about seven months in the year, and in town schools, nine months.
In the rural schools but little is taught besides the common branches. Some attention is given to drawing. During the institutes of 1885–86, instruction in drawing was given by an experienced teacher, and teachers are making good use of the knowledge gained.
Hygienic physiology is being taught in all schools in this county as well as possible. When the law was passed a large majority were not prepared to
comply with it; but to their credit it must be said that they have, as a general thing, tried to prepare for teaching the subject, and are now doing fairly.
In conclusion, I will say our teachers are improving and the schools advancing, and it is our constant aim to make them better.
BY GEO. B. PHELPS.
In response to your request for a report of the condition and progress of education in this county, I beg leave to submit the following: In this county we have 319 teachers actually employed in our public schools, beside several private institutions in which a number of instructors are engaged. Each year a four weeks session of normal institute is held. This time is divided between the three different sections of the county. Eastern, central and western. Our aim in Institute work is to educate the teachers in the latest and most improved methods of instruction and at the same time to refresh in their minds the leading points in the various branches taught. We endeavor to make this work in methods practical, and to give to the teachers such suggestions as can be put into every day use in the schoolroom I have endeavored in attaining this end to secure instructors familiar with the work of our country and village schools and not those who have only a theoretical and visionary knowledge of our needs.
Our school-houses in the main are comfortable and reasonably well constructed with reference to light and ventilation. We still have a few of the lingering relics of early days in the shape of the old time, wooden benched, and badly ventilated houses, but year by year the number grows smaller. In many districts the school grounds are all that they could be wishedlarge, well fenced, nicely shaded and well kept. In a much larger number of cases they are in a very unsatisfactory condition. I feel that the Arbor Day circular letter from the State Department did much good this year and trust it will be repeated each year in the future. Many districts have not complied with the law as to the number of trees on their grounds. Fences and out-houses are in very many cases in a dilapidated condition. I feel that in too many cases our directors pay but little attention to such matters and wish there was some advisable means of calling their attention to these facts
Eight months is the usual length of school year in our rural districts, yet in two townships the board have voted a ten months school and in three others they have nine. Nine months is the usual length of time for village schools. Teachers salaries vary considerably. In the summer will perhaps average twenty-five dollars per month in rural schools, and in the winter thirty-three dollars. I believe without an exception our schools are complying with the new law as to the teaching of hygienic physiology.
During the past two years we have attempted a pretty thorough gradation and classification of our country and village schools. We have formulated a course of study for the smaller graded schools of the county, and have secured the use of a classification register for the rural schools. I have each year visited all of the schools of the county once, and many of them a second time. We have a county teachers' association, and have held several very interesting meetings during the past year. I feel that some progress has been made but much yet remains to be done.
The first institute held in this county convened in August, 1873, with an enrollment of 46 teachers. The enrollment of the present session was 196. We are seeking through the normal to awaken in the teacher a higher appreciation of the profession; also the adoption of all the best methods of imparting instruction. This year I employed a lady of experience in primary work to give special training to teachers in this work. I think primary instruction is something in which country teachers are quite deficient, normal institutes should give prominence to this work for several years to
Most of the school-houses of this county are well built. The average dimensions of the country school-house is about 16x26, well lighted and ventilated, and furnished with a sufficient number of modern school-desks for the comfort and convenience of the pupils. Many of the schools, however, are deficient in apparatus, and this deficiency has been very detrimental to the progress of our schools.
The school-houses in the towns are all fine, substantial buildings, supplied with all the modern conveniences and apparatus. The brick building erected in Denison, in 1872, cost $17,000. There are 170 school-houses in the county.
One acre is the general allotment for school purposes, and is always selected at the corner of four sections which form the subdistrict. The school-house sites in this county are, as a rule, very fine.
Most of the out-houses are well taken care of, but the condition of a few are a disgrace to the whole community. I see no remedy for amelioration of this nuisance only the election of the very best men in the community as subdirectors.
Some yards are well fenced, others poorly, and still others not at all. Hitching-posts should be placed outside of every school-house fence, at about a distance of six feet from the fence.
Most districts have complied with the law in this matter, and there are from 8 to 25 trees in almost every yard in the county.
The average length of terms for the county is about 83 months for the year. The average salary is about $28.for the summer term and $33 for winter, in the district schools, and an average of $45 for the year in the town schools. We employ 190 teachers during 84 months each year. All the common branches are taught in almost every school, while algebra, natural philosophy, and some other of the higher branches, are taught in the graded schools. Every township reports a compliance with the law in regard to the teaching of the effects of stimulants and narcotics on the human system. Our schools are all in splendid condition. Teachers are beginning to take more interest in their work, and, taken all together, I think . the schools of our county will compare favorably with any in the State.
BY R. M. ANDERSON.
I am glad to be able to report the educational interests of Davis county in a prosperous and thriving condition. Many districts have a pride in their schools and elect school officers who are school men and who understand