Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Florence Cole's Address to the Training School, Boone, N.C., 1914

From the March 26, 1914 issue of The Watauga Democrat, Boone
Miss Florence V. Cole, a member of the Training School, delivered the following short but very timely and true little address before the faculty and student body one day last week:
“From the time that Socrates held his little intellectual court until the present day, there has been a feeling with the Student Body that the Faculty is its natural enemy. This has been particularly true of the small boy, to whom the teacher has been an implacable foe whose greatest joy in life was to deny him the privilege of hunting on an ideal winter day or fishing when the spring breeze called irresistibly.
“Some of these privileges are inalienable and belong to a boy by right of birth. They are the outlet for that tremendous energy characteristic of the small boy.
“The old time school master gave little heed to these rights. He stood on a high pedestal of dignity, stiff of collar and of backbone, and swayed his classes with the ferule. The school marm was even more awesome than this; she has become a matter of tradition. She was always an old maid, invariably scraped her hair tight back from her face, and exhorted her pupils in a shrill and nerve-racking voice.
“The up-to-date teacher wishes to avoid this sort of thing Not only does the exaggerated dignity starch and dry the humanity within him, but it is obviously hurtful to the attitude of the student. It constantly reminds the small boy of his lost rights and he resents having knowledge forced into his head by a dignity of odious as the ferule.
The faculty members of the world are beginning to realize the wonderful method opening to them year by year of making friends of the students and being one with them. They are trying to substitute interest in the school for the loss of those privileges dear to the small boy’s heart. They are trying to make him realize that by meanness he is not outwitting an enemy, but injuring a friend. They are giving him athletics, play-grounds and games of all kinds. They are giving him the Boy Scout movement, that he may bore his bare toes in the soft green turf of the bank, gaze with fascinated eyes upon the shadowy water and wait with expectant thrill, that only a really, truly small boy’s heart can feel, for the nibble of the fish at the other end of the line; and do it in a way calculated not to interfere with his education.
‘The Student Body is beginning to see this in its quick, keen way, and is beginning to respond in the desired manner. We are hopeful that the day will come when the prejudice of the ages shall have been brushed aside and there shall be perfect understanding and friendship between the Faculty and that throbbing, pulsing small-boy heart of the school, the Student Body.”

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