Five years ago, I engaged to teach in one of the rural schools of my county. It had long been my ambition to become a successful teacher, and realizing that my first day at school would either make or mar my success, I gave much thought as to how I would begin.
At the appointed time there was a large number of parents and children present to greet me. First, I met and talked with each parent, asking such questions as I thought necessary in order to begin right. Upon seeing my interest and that I was going to work for the good of each and every child, they also became interested.
Then turning my attention to the pupils present, I tried to impress upon them what was right and what was wrong, telling them obedience and courtesy were necessary.
Next I turned my attention to the studies, taking one at a time, beginning with mathematics. That always seems to be a very hard study for children, they master it easier early in the day, when their minds are fresh. Next came spelling, then reading, geography, history, hygiene, etc. I tried to show them the best way to prepare the different studies to get the most from them--in short, I showed them how to study. Few children really know how.
At 12 o'clock, the time that all rural schools give recess, in which the pupils eat their lunch and play different games, I told two pupils to get the hats and lunch boxes and deliver them to their owners. Then I instituted a marching scheme for them to leave the building. This prevented much confusion.
After lunch came play-time. In this I took part, going out and being one of them.
The program for the afternoon was prepared with equal care and just before dismissing for the day I assigned the different little duties that must be done in the school-room,--such as sweeping, dusting, arranging flowers in the room, keeping the sash washed, bringing in wood and water, etc., each to do the work assigned for a week, when some one else would be appointed.
Taking it as a whole, I had a very successful school-year.