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The following table exhibits the course of studies pursued in the school, during the required time of connection with it, viz., one year and a half.
The pupils are divided into three classes; the Junior, Middle, and Senior.
The studies for the First Term, or Junior Class, stand upon the left of the table, next to the column of Hours, &c.; those for the Second Term, or Middle Class, occupy the next column to the right; those for the Third Term, or Senior Class, are placed upon the extreme right.
The table shows at a glance what are the particular studies for any part of the course, together with the days and hours of recitation.
The arrangements of the school are such that, besides pursuing this course of stud. ies, the pupils are employed at times in giving instruction. This affords the principal and his assistants the opportunity of rendering the pupils more efficient aid in the application of principles, and the illustration of methods.
A course of lectures on Physical Geography is annually given in the school, in the month of December, by Prof Guyot ; also a course on Chemistry, by some other professor. Table.-Plan of Study and Instruction in the State Normal School, at Bridgewater, Mass.
MONDAY AND FRIDAY 9 to 9 1-4
Devotional Exercises. 9 1-4 to 10-10 Arithmetic.
Arithmetic. Amerionn History.
Polit. Class Book or Const. U 3
10-45 to 11-45 to
Geology and Natural History
MONDAY AND THURSDAY.
4 to 4 3-4 Geography. Geography. Geography or Indust. Drawing.
TUESDAY AND FRIDAY. 2-10 to 3
Theory of Teach. & Sch Lawa 4
4 3-4 Geography. Geography. Surveying ind. Drawing. 43-4 to 5
General Exercises every P. M. There have been 1035 pupils, viz., 424 males and 611 fema es, connected with the school since its opening; of which number, 706 have completed the course of study.
*These are the hours for the Summer Term, those for the Winter Term are a half hour earlier.
In 1861 the Legislature appropriated the sum of $4,500 to the enlargement and repairs of the building. By this means the building originally 63 feet long by 41 feet wide, and two stories high, was enlarged by the addition of two wings, each 38 feet long and 24 feet wide, projecting from the center of the main edifice, and of the same height. Upon the lower floor are four convenient recitation rooms, two rooms, one for philosophical and the other for chemical apparatus, one room for mineralogical and geological specimens, and two anterooms for the pupils. In the second story, the whole of the original structure is devoted to a common school-room, which is 62 feet long by 40 feet wide, with a large recitation room opening from it into one of the wings, and a large library and reading room into the other wing.
By a subsequent appropriation new furniture has been supplied, the warming and ventilation of the entire building improved, and the grounds graded and securely inclosed.
The Visitors of this school in their report for 1865 report the following statistics :Number admitted since September 9, 1840, to September, 1865,. .1,499 of graduates to September, 1865,
956 in attendance in 1864–65,..
122 graduated in 1865, ...
22 The course of study now embraces four terms or two years. The Principal expresses a desire for additional assistance " that the quality of our teaching may be improved by reducing the amount, for which the teacher could make more thorough preparation."
AT THE DEDICATION OF THE STATE NORMAL SCHOOL-HOUSE
August 19, 1846.
The completion of a new edifice to accommodate the Stato Normal School at Bridgewater was signalized by appropriate exercises, on the 19th of August, 1846. Addresses were made during the day by His Excellency, Governor Briggs, Hon. William G. Bates, of Westfield, Amasa Walker, Esq., of Brookfield, at the church, and in the new school-room. After theso addresses the company partook of a collation in the Town Hall, on which occasion the health of the Secretary of the Board of Education was given by the president of the day, and received by the company with enthusiastic applause. To this sentiment Mr. Mann responded as follows, as reported in the Boston Mercantile Journal.
Mr. President: Among all the lights and shadows that have ever crossed my path, this day's radiance is the brightest. Two years ago, I would have been willing to compromise for ten years' work, as hard as any I had ever performed, to have been insured that, at the end of that period, I should see what our eyes this day behold. We now witness the completion of a new and beautiful Nor. mal School-house for the State Normal School at Bridgewater. One fortnight from to-morrow, another house, as beautiful as this, is to be dedicated at Westfield, for the State Normal School at that place. West Newton was already provided for by private munificence. Each Normal School then will occupy a house, neat, commodious, and well adapted to its wants; and the Principals of the schools will be relieved from the annoyance of keeping a Normal School in an ab-Normal house.
I shall not even advert to the painful causes which have hastened this most desirable consummation,—since what was meant for evil has resulted in so much good. Let me, however, say to you, as the moral of this result, that it strengthens in my own mind what I have aïways felt; and I hope it will strengthen, or create, in all your minds, a repugnance to that sickly and cowardly sentiment of the poet, which made him long
“For a lodge in some vast wilderness,
boundless contiguity of
Might never reach him more.” There is oppression in the world which almost crushes the life out of humanity. There is deceit, which not only ensnares the unwary, but almost abolishes the security, and confidence, and delight, which rational and social beings ought to enjoy in their intercourse with each other. There are wars, and the question whether they are right or wrong tortures the good man a thousand times more than any successes or defeats of either belligerent. But the feeling which springs up spontaneously in my mind, and which I hope springs up spontaneously in your minds, my friends, in view of the errors, and calamities, and iniquities of the race, is, not to flee from the world, but to remain in it; not to hie away to forest solitudes or hermit cells, but to confront selfishness, and wickedness, and ignorance, at whatever personal peril, and to subdue and extirpate them, or to die in the attempt. Had it not been for a feeling like this among your friends, and the friends of the sacred cause of education in which you have enlisted, you wel! know that the Normal Schools of Massachusetts would have been put down, aud that this day never would bave shone to gladden our hearts and to reward our
toils and sacrifices. Let no man who knows not what has been suffered, what has been borne and forborne, to bring to pass the present event, accuse me of an extravagance of joy.
Mr. President, I consider this event as marking an era in the progress of education, - which, as we all know, is the progress of civilization, on this western continent and throughout the world. It is the completion of the first Normal School-house ever erected in Massachusetts,- in the Union,-in this bemisphere. It belongs to that class of events which may happen once, but are incapable of being repeated.
I believe Normal Schools to be a new instrumentality in the advancement of the race.
I believe that, without them, Free Schools themselves would be shorn of their strength and their healing power, and would at length become mere charity schools, and thus die out in fact and in form. Neither the art of printing, nor the trial by jury, nor a free press, nor free suffrage, can long exist, to any beneficial and salutary purpose, without schools for the training of teachers; for, if the character and qualifications of teachers be allowed to degenerate, the Free Schools will become pauper schools, and the pauper schools will produce pauper souls, and the free press will become a false and licentious press, and ignorant voters will become venal voters, and through the medium and guise of republican forms, an oligarchy of profligate and flagitious men will govern the land; nay, the universal ditfusion and ultimate triumph of all-glorious Christianity itselt must await the time when knowledge shall be diffused among men through the instrumentality of good schools. Coiled up in this institution, as in a spring, there is a vigor whose uncoiling may wheel the spheres.
But this occasion brings to mind the past history of these schools, not less than it awakens our hopes and convinces our judgment respecting their future success.
I hold, sir, in my hand, a paper, which contains the origin, the source, the punctum saliens, of the Normal Schools of Massachusetts. [Here Mr. Mann read a note from the Hon. Edmund Dwight, dated March 10th, 1838, authorizing him. Mr. Mann, to say to the Legislature, that the sum of ten thousand dollars would be given by an individual for the preparation of teachers of Common Schools, provided the Legislature would give an equal sum. The reading was received with great applause.?
It will be observed, resumed Mr. Mann, that this note refers to a conversation held on the evening previous to its date. The time, the spot, the words of that conversation can never be erased from my soul. This day, triumphant over the past, auspicious for the future, then rose to my sight. By the auroral light of hope, I saw company after company go forth from the bosom of these institutions, like angel ministers, to spread abroad, over waste spiritual realms, the power of knowledge and the delights of virtue. Thank God, the enemies who have since risen up to oppose and malign us, did not cast their hideous shadows across that beautiful scene.
The proposition made to the Legislaturo was accepted, almost without opposition, in both branches; and on the third day of July, 1839, the tirst Normal School, consisting of only three pupils, was opened at Lexington, under the care of a gentleman who now sits before me.-Mr. Cyrus Pierce, of Nantucket,-then of island, but now of continental fame.
(This called forth great cheering, and Mr. Mann said he should sit down to give Mr. Pierce an opportunity to respond. Mr. Pierce arose under great embarrassment; starting at the sound of his name, and half doubting whether the eloquent Secretary had not intended to name some other person.
He soon recovered, however, and in a very happy manner extricated himself from the "fix" in which the Secretary had placed him. He spoke of his children, the pupils of the first Normal School, and of the honorable competition which ought to exist between the several schools; and to the surprise, as well as regret, of all who heard him, he spoke of being aumonished by infirmities which he could not mistake, that it was time for him to retire from the profession. The audience felt as it, for once in his life, this excellent teacher had threatened to do wrong. He then told an amusing anecdote of a professor who retained his office too long, uod was toasted by the students in the words of Dr. Watts, —" The Rev. Dr. —, Aush, my bak, lie still and slumber.” And then he sat down ist the sincere plaudits of the company, who seemed to think he was not * so plaguy old” as he wished to appear.)
I say, said Mr. Mann, on resuming, that, though the average number of Mr. Pierce's school is now from sixty to eighty; and though this school, at the pres ent term, consists of one hundred pupils, yet the first term of the first school opened with three pupils only. The truth is, though it may seem a paradox to say so, the Norman Schools had to come to prepare a way for themselves, and to show, by practical demonstration, what they were able to accomplish. Like Christianity itself, had they waited till the world at large called for them, or was ready to receive them, they would never have come.
In September, 1839, two other Normal Schools were established: one at Barre, in the county of Worcester, since removed to Westfield, in the county of Hampden; and the other at this place, whose only removal has been a constant moring onward and upward, to higher and higher degrees of prosperity and use fulness.
In tracing down the history of these schools to the present time, I prefer to bring into view, rather the agencies that have helped, than the obstacles which have opposed them.
I say, then, that I believe Massachusetts to have been the only State in the Union where Normal Schools could have been established; or where, if established, they would have been allowed to continue. At the time they were established, five or six thousand teachers were annually engaged in our Common Schools; and probably nearly as many more were looking forward to the same occupation. These incumbents and expectants, together with their families and circles of relatives and acquaintances, would probably have constituted the greater portion of active influence on school affairs in the State; and had they, as a body, yielded to the invidious appeals that were made to them by a few agents and emissaries of evil, they might have extinguished the Normal Schools, as a whirlwind puts out a taper. I honor the great body of Common School teachers in Massachusetts for the magnanimity they have displayed on this subject. I know that many of them have said, almost in so many words, and, what is nobler, they have acted as they have said :-"We are conscious of our deficiencies; we are grateful for any means that will supply them,—nay, we are ready to retire froin our places when better teachers can be found to fill them. We derive, it is true, our daily bread from school-keeping, but it is better that our bodies should be pinched with hunger than that the souls of children should starve for want of mental nourishment; and we should be unworthy of the husks which the swine do eat, if we could prefer our own emolument or comfort to the intellectual and moral culture of the rising generation. We give you our band and our heart for the glorious work of improving the schools of Massachusetts, while we scorn the baseness of the men who would appeal to our love of gain, or of ease, to seduce us from the path of duty.” This statement does no more than justice to the noble conduct of the great body of teachers in Massachusetts. To be sure, there always have been some who have opposed the Normal Schools, and who will, probably, continue to oppose them as long as they live, lest they themselves should be superseded by a class of competent teachers. These are they who would arrest education where it is; because they cannot keep up with it, or overtake it in its onward progress. But the wheels of education are rolling on, and they who will not go with them must go under them.
The Normal Schools were supposed by some to stand in an antagonistic relation to academies and select schools; and some teachers of academies and select schools have opposed them. They declare that they can make as good teachers as Normal Schools can. But, sir, academies and select schools have existed in this State, in great numbers, for more than half a century. A generation of school-teachers does not last, at the extent, more than three or four years ; so that a dozen generations of teachers have passed through our Public Schools within the last fifty years. Now, if the academies and high schools can supply an adequate number of school-teachers, why have they not done it! We have waited half a century for them. Let them not complain of us, because we are unwilling to wait half a century more. Academies are good in their place; colleges are good in their place. Both have done invaluable service to the cause of education. The standard of intelligence is vastly higher now than it would have been without their aid; but they have not provided a sufficiency of competent teachers; and if they perform their appropriate duties hereafter, as they have done heretofore, they cannot supply them; and I cannot forbear, Mr. President, to express my firm conviction, that if the work is to be left in their handa, we never can have a supply of competent teachers for our Common Schools, without a perpetual Pentecost of miraculous endowments.