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BUFFALQ COUNTY.—The Alma Express says:
“ The Institute for Buffalo County for the year 1872, was held at the School House in Alma, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of last week under the management of Mr. KESSINGER, our energetic Superintendent. There was a good attendance of teachers present, numbering about seventy. Quite a disappointment was felt by the Superintendent and teachers, in not receiving aid from the normal board of regents, in the way of an agent to conduct the institute, but however, it was a success. Mr. Moser, of Alma, delivered an address before the teachers on Tuesday evening, his subject was “Cause and effect in Teaching,” and he sustained his arguments by well illustrated points. Mr. HARPER of Waumandee read an essay on the manner of imparting knowledge to the young fifty years ago in Scotland and contrasting it with the method of the present time. On Thursday evening, essays were read by the Superintendent, Mr PFUND, and Mr. ALEXANDER LEES.”
Messrs. PFUND, LEES, THOMAS and MORGAN, assisted the Superintendent in conducting the exercises of the Institue. An Association was organized to meet semi-monthly, and to be known as the Buffalo County Teachers' Association, the county superintendent to act as president, and thanks were returned to him “ for the efficient manner in which he conducted the excercises of the institute, without the aid of the Normal Board of Regents, especially as that aid was promised and expected.”
COLUMBIA AND DANE.-A joint Institute for Columbia county and the West District of Dane, was held at Lodi, in the former county, September 30 to October 4. In the absence of the agent the work was done by the Superintendents, Messrs. BURLINGAME and TAYLOR, and some of the leading teachers present; and notwithstanding the disappointment at not having a regular conductor, the Institute, as we gather from the report of the Secretary, J. C. YOCUM, Principal of the Lodi school, was spirited and profitable. Evening lectures were delivered by Prof. J. B. PARKINSON, of the State University, and the Assistant State Superintendent. The whole enrollment was 80.
DANE AND GREEN COUNTIES.-Another joint Institute, for Green and the Second District of Dane county, was held at Belleville, in the latter county, on the 16th and 17th days of September, and conducted by Superintendents MORGAN and TAYLOR. The Secretary, W. N. CALDWELL, informs us that great interest was manifested, that the enrollment was 54, and that several others were present whose names were not enrolled. Thanks were returned to the Superintendents for the “creditable manner in which they had conducted the Institute.”
MARATHON COUNTY.-From the Report in the Wausau Pilot, by W.O. BUTLER, Secretary (and former Principal of the Schools in that city), we learn that the fifth annual session of Marathon County Teachers' Association, opened on Mon. day morning, September 23d, at the Court House and closed Wednesday afternoon the 25th. On Monday and Tuesday, suitable exercises were conducted by Mr. BOWEN, the present Principal, and by others, and on invitation, the Associ. ation “spent a portion of Tuesday in visiting the public schools of the city and derived much profit and pleasure therefrom.” Mr. BUTLER also says :
“On Wednesday the teachers of Marathon county received their first visitation from the Agent of the Board of Regents of Normal Schools, Prof ROBERT GRAHAM, of Oshkosh. We are at last recognized by the state and made to feel that there is help, sympathy and love in the school system of Wisconsin. One day's
work with Mr. GRAHAM will be of almost incalculable benefit to the schools of Marathon county. Every teacher present seized upon the thoughts and became thoroughly imbued with the spirit
of the teacher. The work of teaching will be more delightful to us than ever before."
The entire enrollment was 39, and there are thought not to be more than 46 teachers in the county.
MARQUETTE COUNTY.—The people of Marquette county have shown their appreciation of a true man by electing SELOFTUS D. Forbes to the post of County Superintendent of Public Instruction. Mr. FORBES is well known to many of our readers as fomerly one of the editors of the Evening Wisconsin. Mr. FORBES in his new post evinces the progressive cast of his mind, for he is infusing into the educational department of Marquette a spirit of improvement in the management of the schools and school houses worthy of imitation in other counties. A man of his cast is never content with the present. He is always striving for something better.-Marquette Independent.
Rock COUNTÝ.—A Union Institute, for the two Superintendent Districts of the county, was held at the call of Superintendents TREAT and BURDICK, in Janesville, September 23–27. Monday evening, the weather being unfavorable, a small but appreciative audience listened to a lecture by the State Superintend. ent, who also addressed the teachers Tuesday morning. The Institute exercises were mostly conducted by W. D. PARKER, Principal at Janesville, whose labors gave the teachers much satisfaction. Assistance was rendered by Messrs. BOND, of Milton, CHENEY, of Delavan, SALISBURY, of Broadhead, WEBB, of Michigan, Dr. C. C. MILLER and others. Additional evening lectures were given by Dr. WHITING, and Rev. Mr. TILTON, of Janesville, and Professor BRADLEY, of Evansville Seminary. We have a full report from the Secretary, Miss ELIZABETH CHURCHILL, and gather that the enrollment, altogether, was about 50, though the number is not mentioned. Superintendent TREAT, long and faithfully in charge of the Second District, says in a note"Institute was a success."
WASHINGTON COUNTY.--An Institute was held at West Bend October 9-11. After the first day, Monday, it was conducted by Prof. CHAMBERLAIN, of Whitewater. Messrs. GRAY and CHASE, Principals at West Bend and Hartford, also rendered good assistance, as did also Mr. KING, a student from Whitewater. As Prof. CHAMBERLAIN could not longer absent himself from his post, the Institute closed Wednesday, much to the regret of those present, as well as of Superintendent REGENFUSS. Lectures were given by the State Superintendent, Prof. CHAMBERLAIN and Dr. G. F. HUNT. The Republican says the Institute was well attended, but does not mention the number present.
WooD COUNTY held her Normal Institute at Grand Rapids, during the two weeks commencing August 19. The burden of the work fell upon Superintendent EMERY the first week, who however is equal to the task. The second week the Agent, Professor ALLEN, was present part of the time. From the resolutions passed at the close, and from the remarks of the Reporter, we infer that the teachers and citizens were well pleased with the session,
MANITOWOC.-We are much pleased to obtain the following items:
MESSRS. ÈDITORS:-Perhaps you would like to hear a few words from Manitowoc. If you have never heard of the place before in your JOURNAL, you soon will. All the old log school-houses are fast dying away, as our efficient Superintendent, M. KIRWAN, Esq., says he prefers brick or marble. We have, or soon will have, the best buildings and the best teachers in the state. We will have the best teachers if money can get them. The South Side has put up a very fine brick house, finished " to a dot," and has as principal C. F. VIEBAHN, whose reputation you know is good; and though the West Side has not as good a house, it has a very able and efficient teacher in W. A. WALKER, of the Platteville Nor mal School.
BY A. F. NORTH, SUPERINTENDENT OF WAUKESHA COUNTY.
At the last annual meeting of the State Teachers' Association, the committee to whom was referred the subject of County Academies, reported adversely to “the enactment of any law having in view the establishment” of the same.
This report is in opposition to the report of the Assembly Committee of 1871, through their able and thoroughly posted chairman, Mr. Kuntz; and also in opposition to the resolution of the County Superintendents, passed unanimously at their session in Madison, January, 1872, after the subject had been very thoroughly discussed by Assistant Superintendent Pradt, President TWOMBLY of the State University and many of the county suprintendents.
The report of the State Teachers' Committee on this matter appeared at the time, to many of us, quite inexplicable, and had the circumstances permitted, a public protest would have been entered against it then and there, as was done privately, to the chairman of that committee. The report itself, signed by Messrs. EARTHMAN and PARKEP, may be found in the August number of the Journal, and deserves consideration.
It quotes approvingly and assents to the language of the Assembly report, that more than ninety per cent. of the teachers have never received any instruction in the art and science of teaching; forty per cent. are new and inexperienced, changing their places every term, looking upon the school-room as a mere make-shift for the present, and asks, “ Need we wonder that their hearts and souls are not with their calling, that they are slaves to their text-books and seem to believe that their whole duty consists in having recitations." It further says, “Poor schools and poor teachers are in the majority throughout
the country. The children are fed upon the mere husks of kowledge. Multitudes of the schools are so poor that it would be as well for the country if they were closed. They waste its resources. They are little else than instruments for the formation of mental deformities. They repress the native aspiration of the child for knowledge. They foster habits of indifference and carelessness which are the bane of his future life," etc.
The grounds upon which the committee discourage county academies are three-fold: First, that we have already the means of supplying teachers in our long and short term Institutes and our Normal Schools; second, the matter of expense and the unwillingness of the people to tax themselves; and third, the impossibility of finding competent teachers for these academies.
I assent, most unequivocally, to the great value of Institutes as affording an opportunity for teachers to compare notes; to present approved methods of teaching; to review branches already studied, that they may be grasped as a whole, apprehended in their spirit, and their inter-relations cognized; to exemplify the excellency of true teaching as distinct from the hearing of mere word recitations, and of self-government in distinction from government from without; and also as a means of inspiring teachers with higher and nobler thoughts of their work and stimulating them to more earnest efforts./To these ends Institutes are, and will continue to be, invaluable; but when they are presented as a means of conferring the body of knowledge necessary in the teacher, they must be classed with “ Penmanship taught in twelve short and easy lessons,” and other such quack nostrums. Much more time and labor than an Institute gives are necessary to furnish the teacher, even though it continue six weeks instead of one.
In regard to our three normal schools, they are confessedly unequal to the task o providing a sufficient number of qualified teachers. We in Waukesha county require 140 teachers to fill our schools, and have employed during the past year probably 200 different persons, and we have but one graduate of a normal school within our bounds, and his direct influence reaches perhaps forty scholars, half a dozen of whom, it may be, intend to teach. The report of the committee states that 40 per cent. of our teachers are new to the work every year; certainly we do not overstate it when we put it at 20 per cent.; and that implies that we require forty new teachers in this county every year, while the Whitewater Normal, from its commencement, has graduated sixteen (16), and of these, eleven only seem now to be engaged in teaching. It is true we may look for a much larger number of graduates in the future, and besides we have to acknowledge the benefit to our schools from the services of those who have attended normal schools for a time, and have not graduated; but still there is a great lack of qualified teachers. Indeed the great obstacle to educational progress is the lack of earnest teachers, fully equipped for the work; teachers who know how to bring out of our common school studies all the intellectual discipline they are capable of yielding, because they themselves have had thorough discipline under them. I emphasize our common school studies, because the mental training that ninety out of every hundred of our children receive from schools, must come through the use of these; and moreover because, when properly used, they are second to none in their power to develop the various faculties of the mind, and fit them for the duties of life.
But whence is this large army of such teachers to come? With a very few exceptions, our teaching force is drawn, not from the homes of the affluent, nor from the cities or villages of our State, but from the more humble homes of our rural population. And they must continue to come from this source. But the expense of maintaining a scholar at the University or Normal, until graduation, is a serious consideration to such, especially when we bear in mind that the average wages that our districts think they can afford to pay for male teachers is about $45 per month, and of females $25, and that only for from four to eight months in the year.
There is another important consideration: the training necessary to fit for the teacher's work must begin at an earlier age than sensible parents approve of sending their children from the parental roof to such a distance that they cannot visit or be visited by them from one school term to another. There is, therefore, a crying necessity on these grounds for an educational agency intermediate to the common school and the normal or university, and it will yet be established; it is but a matter of time, and the sooner it comes the better.
In common with other superintendents while visiting schools, I have found in almost every district two or three bright, energetic, capable boys and girls, ahead of their fellows, anxious to fit themselves for teachers, but who are debarred, either because their teacher is incapable of teaching them, or, being capable, cannot afford the nece
cessary time without unjustly depriving the great body of the scholars of their due share of instruction. Such sometimes present themselves for examination, and if the examination is what it ought to be, of course they fail. They appeal to the Superintendent, and say what can we do? How can we fit ourselves? Knowing their circnmstances it would be mockery to say, go to the University or to the Normal. One might as well recommend them to go to Oxford or Cambridge. But