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Image provided by: South Dakota State Historical Society – State Archives
Newspaper Page Text
Many there are who enter upon the high employment of teach
inga common school as a secondary object. Perhaps they are stu dents themselves in some higher institution, and resort to this as a temporary expedient for paying their board, while their chief object is, to pursue their own studies and thus keep pace with their classes. Some make it a stepping-stone to something beyond, and, in their estimation, higher in the scale of respectability,—treating the employ ment, while in it, as irksome in the extreme, and never manifesting so much delight as when the hour arrived for the dismissal of their schools. Such have not the true spirit of the teacher and if their labors are not entirely unprofitable, it only proves that children are sometimes submitted to imminent danger but are still unaccountably preserved by the hand of Providence. The teacher should go to his duty full of his work. He should be impressed with its overwhelming importance. He should feel that his mistakes, though they may not speedily ruin him, may per manently injure his pupils. Nor is it enough that he shall say, "I did it ignorantly". He has assumed to fill a place where ignorance itself is sin and where indifference to the well-being of others is equivalent to willful homicide. He might as innocently assume to be the physician, and, without knowing its effects, prescribe arsenic for the colic. Ignorance is not in such cases a valid excuse, because the assumption of the place implies a pretension to the requisite skill. Let the teacher, then, well consider what manner of spirit he is of. Let him come to this work only when he has carefully pondered its nature and its responsibilities, and after he has devoted his best po wers to a thorough preparation of himself for its high duties. Above all, let him be sure that his motives on entering the school-room are such as will be acceptable in the sight of God, when viewed by the light beaming out from his throne. "Oh! let not then unskillful hands attempt To play the harp, whose tones, whose living tones Are left forever in the strings. Better far That heaven's lightnings blast his very soul, And sink it back to Chaos' lowest depths, Than knowingly, by word or deed, he send, A blight upon the trusting mind of youth."