Who Shall Teach

Who Should Teach our Children? (1856)

(From the Woman’s Department of Indiana Farmer) Much has been said and written upon the subject of schools, and the education of the young. At the present time it seems to occupy and interest deeply the public mind. To parents it is a subject of deep and abiding interest —for upon this rests the future happiness and well-being of their children as well as prosperity and success of our republican government.

It is in the common schools, these nurseries of leaning, the young and impressible mind receives its first impressions of book knowledge in many, indeed most cases. The inquisitive mind of childhood is continually seeking after knowledge—grasping after hidden stores—longing to fathom the mystery which, as yet, it cannot comprehend.

Then of what vast importance that kind, judicious teachers be selected, to unfold the hidden treasures of learning to eager impulsive childhood. Parents should acquaint themselves with the general character of those to whom they entrust the management and control of their children.

This item, and others like it, can be found in Accessible Archive’s Women’s Suffrage Collection. We can provide access to fully searchable newspapers by and for women including The Lily (1849-1856), National Citizen and Ballot Box (1878-1881), The Revolution (1868-1872), The New Citizen (1909-1912), The Western Woman Voter (1911-1913), and the antisuffrage newspaper, The Remonstrance (1890-1913).

Can we expect anything else than that young and guileless hearts will be injured, and evil passions aroused by being subjected to passionate, arrogant teachers . Surely self-control should first be acquired before entering the responsible profession of teacher to others. But as the teacher, next to the parent, occupies the most responsible station of all others, it should be the object to secure those who from choice, make it a profession.

A warm heart, and compassionate nature, are essential in a teacher and the law of kindness and justice should be strictly observed. But in no case should children be encouraged or allowed to carry home to the listening ear of the parents, tales or misrepresentations of their teachers caused, perhaps, from pique or dislike. The teacher’ s authority should be upheld and respected by parents; for when that is set aside or disregarded by the pupils, the instructor’s influence for good is destroyed.

The parent and teacher should labor together; there should be a mutual confidence and co-operation to serve the best interest of the young and susceptible minds of the children; they will be much encouraged by seeing their parents take an active interest in the school where they are taught; by so doing the teacher’s authority will be supported, and their arduous labors and duties made lighter.

Source: The Lily, April 15, 1856

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