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rent events, school management, and discuss the questions of today, they will be better prepared to teach, and, when they appear in society they will reflect credit upon their calling. They should say, with Epaminondas: " If the calling does not reflect credit on me, I will reflect credit on the calling." Many of our teachers have carried the study of current events into the school with good results.
CLERKS' REPORTS. Most of the clerks' reports have to be returned for correction. Under our present law the clerk thinks it is his duty to exhaust all the money, and the line "paid out for all other purpose" usually contains a good round sum. It should be the duty of the county superintendent to visit and personally inspect the books of every clerk. This would insure a careful expenditure of the public funds.
TEACHERS' EXAMINATIONS. The present law for teachers' examinations is an excellent one, if it were enforced. It is intended to be progressive and cause the teacher to advance in bis profession, but it has often caused him to advance to another county where he can secure another “third grade." I think every applicant should be required to state what grade of certificate he has held. From a legal point of view, the object of the examination of teachers is to prevent immoral or otherwis incompetent men or women from beroming teacbers. But when we come to consider the influence that a thoroughly qualified, judicious, and earnest teacher exerts, then it becomes necessary to maintain a high standard of examinations. I wish to protest against the current method of granting certiticates based merely upon the results of purely scholastic examinations Success in the school-room should count at least 10 per cent in granting certificates to all primary and intermediate teachers, but no person should be permitted to teach a grammar grade who does not hold a first grade certificate.
COC'RSE OF STUDY.
A large per cent of the educational work of this State is done in the country schools. Most of the public money is expended in the country, and, strange to say, the least attention is given to this part of the work. Most of our towns have a prepared course of study, and thoroughly competent teachers are usually selected to supervise the work. It is with competent teachers and close supervision that the best work is accomplished in the schoolroom. Some of our best pupils come from the country, and, could our country schools have it course of study prepared and receive the close supervision of a thorougbly competent county superintendent, the facilities for doing good work would be better than in towns. A course of study without more effective supervision would do but little good. If gradation is a good thing, it is desirable that every country school should be graded. Since we have a State series of textbooks it would be much better to have all the counties of the State adopt the same plan. A graded course of study would do much to promote regularity of attendance and continuance in the school.
TEACHERS' READING CIRCLE. The State teachers' reading circle has done much to elevate and advance the profession of teaching in this State. Umatilla county organized the first teachers' reading circle ju the State. This was done five years ago and provided a two years' course. More than half of the teachers of the county finished this course of study and received diplomas. The present bigh standard of teachers in this county is largely due to the interest manifested in reading circle work.
WORLD'S FAIR EXHIBIT. Since the legislature has neglected to provide for an exhibit of the resources of the State at the World's Fair, it is very important that we have an educational exhibit. The plan proposed by our State superintendent is an excellent one. The teachers of Oregon will do their part to make a creditable exhibit of the public schools of the State. The legislature at the coming session should appropriate a sufficient amount of money to pay the expense of collecting and maintaining this exhibit. The State can well afford to do this, and if it is done, we can present a display of school work which will compare favorably if not surpass any State in ihe Union. Three years ago Oregon presented the finest exhibit of any State at the National Educational Association held in Nashville, Tenn.
UNION COUNTY.-SUPERINTENDENT, J. L. CARTER.
COUNTY INSTITUTES. The annual county institute for 1892 was held during the first week of August, and was conducted upon the normal pian, that is, we had efficient employed leaders, who conducted recitations in the several branches of the public school course, giving practical instruction to the teacher upon the best improved methods of conducting class work, also upon school organization, school management, etc.
Several times during the week the attention of the teachers was called to the advantages to be derived from pursuing the course adopted by the State teachers' reading circle, and to the value to the teacher of reading educational periodicals. Appeals were also made for the observance of Columbus day, and for the preparing of material for the State educational exhibit at the coming Columbian exhibition.
At various evening sessions, lectures were given by prominent educators of the State, accompanied by literary and musical entertainment. Most of the teachers of the county were present during the institute, and attended the meetings with interest ; a few of the teachers, however, were neglectful of duty in not being present.
During the autumn of the past school year a county teachers' association was organized for the county, and we have held during the winter monthly meetings, alternating between La Grande and Union, they being the larger towns of the county, and accessible to a greater number of teachers than other places. Meetings were held during the day on Saturday, with occasional evening exercises. Several of these meetings were well attended, and were of interest and profit to all concerned. However, the interest in these meetings seemed to wane towards the close of the year.
In other parts of the county educational meetings were held. After visiting the several schools of the vicinity meetings were arranged at some central point, and addresses given on educational topics, especial efforts bring made to secure the attendance of the patrons and school officers.
The principal defect I find in teachers' reports is in columns eight and uine, that is, the average number belonging, and average daily attendance. This defect can be attribut d to no other cause than a failure on the part of the teacher to carefully study the instructions on the last page of the blank Often times, too, the chairman of the board of directors, either through neglect or incapacity, does not require the teacher to make correct reports at the close of the term.
The county superintendent in many cases finds it impossible to have these reports corrected, as the teacher immediately after sending the report removes to a different locality, and sometimes from the county.
I expect to prepare slips with printed instructions on these points, to be sent to both the teacher and chairman of the school board.
CLERKS' REPORTS. Several district clerks in their annual reports at the close of the year made mistakes in both the financial and statistical part of the same, while in two or three instances there was an obsurity, or a seeming design to mystify, rather than to give a systematic and intelligent report.
In a few cases I have found it difficult to secure satisfactory reports, notwithstauding I have issued circular letters, giving instructions, and urging the importance of sending in the reports in a complete form.
TEACHERS' EXAMINATIONS. The assistant examiners employed have been, in my judgment, both competent and efficient. They, with myself, have striven to deal fairly and justly with all applicants for certificates. We have found it difficult to comply with the law requiring that each applicant be handed the same list of questions at the same time, as some applicants require a greater length of time to complete a list than others. In order to avoid communication we have adopted the plan of handing out but two lists of questions each half day, unless each applicant finds time to write upou another. In this way the examination has closed on Friday afternoon, and the plan has given satisfaction.
We have had a less per cent of the failures on the part of applicants to secure certificates in this county than has been in some of the adjoining counties. Just why this is, I am unable to answer.
TEACHERS' QU'ALIFICATIONS. Most of the teachers of Union county possess the necessary educational qualifications to teach our schools, at least so far as the kiiowledge of the textbooks is concerned. This is evinced in the fact of their holding certificates, and a reasonable per cent of them possess what are termed those natural qualifications necessary to successful teaching. I think I may reasonably say that some of the former class, realizing the lack of this natural fitness, are striving to obviate their defects by an acquired fitness, in the study of books and periodicals upon the science of teaching and mind development. While some of our teachers are from the best normal schools in America, yet quite a number of our young teachers have received most of their education in this county. However, a great part of them have taken either a bigh-school course, or have spent some time in one of the higher institutions of learning in this State.
TEACHERS' PERMANENCY AND CONTINUITY OF WORK. In comparing the present teaching force of this county with what it was four years ago, I find that over 50 per cent of those who were then engaged in the profession, have either removed from the county, or have given up teaching. It is further noticeable that a majority of those who have removed, or retired, have been from the more efficient class. However, their places have been filled by a class who were of equal, if not of better qualification.
TEACHERS' REGISTER. One defect I have found in the teachers' register is in the teacher omitting to drop from the register, after a certain number of days, the names of pupils who bave left school, but continuing to mark said pupils as absent, thus making an undue discrepancy between the average number belonging, and the average daily attendance.
I find, often times, the chairman of the board of directors is remiss in duty, in neglecting to carefully inspect the monthly summaries and the teachers' final report in the register.
ENTERPRISE AND ZEAL OF TEACHERS. The spirit of enterprise and zeal among the teachers of Union county is surely much in advance of what it was a few years ago. The best means of cultivating this spirit is by the encouragement of frequent association of teachers in institutes and educational meetings, by occasional visits to other schools, by the reading of educational periodicals and books on educational subjects.
By the frequent association of teachers together, and an interchange of thought upon methods of teaching, school management, discipline, etc., is begotten an interest in and love for the profession.
FAILURES IN TEACHING. Failures in teaching do not arise so much from a lack of those natural qualifications, as from a neglect to make use of the abilities possessed, and 10 acquire by study a better fitness for the work.
Failures sometimes come from a want of appreciation of the importance of the profession and a realization of its responsibilities.
While we have in this county some teachers who are not very efficient, yet we have very few downright failures, and those do not occuras often among the young teachers as among those of several years' experience, and who have become somewhat fossilized in their methods.
SCHOOL VISITS BY COUNTY SUPERINTENDENTS. In this county there are sixty-nine school districts. I have tried to visit these in accordance with the requirements of the school law. Some districts employ different teachers for the different terms of the school year. As far as possible I have tried to visit each teacher during each term of school. The most remote school district in this county, to the east, is sixty miles from Union, the county seat, and the most remote to the north and west are each forty miles distant. In visiting the schools in these localities, I have generally found in some districts the schools not in session, which has necessitated a return, or has left these particular districts without visitation by the superintendent. Where districts are near together I have devoted the day to visiting two schools.
CONDITION OF SCHOOL HOUSES. In many of the school districts of this county the old school houses have been replaced by new and more commodious buildings, while in some other districts the old houses havo been refitted, so that at present, with a few exceptions, the school houses of this county are in a fairly good condition, and generally, so far as room is concerned, are ample to accommodate all children attending the schools.
(ONDITION OF SCHOOL PREMISES, APPARATUS, ETC. As a rule, the school premises and outbuildings of the districts of the county are not in very good condition, at least not commensurate with the
respective school buildings. In comparatively few instances are the surroundings of our school houses found in that neat and orderly condition which we would expect to see existing around a well-kept home.
As the surrounding of our school grounds have an influence in forming the tastes and habits of the youth during this, the formative state, it is importaut that these grounds be kept orderly and neat, that thereby may be cultivated a desire and love for order and beauty around the home and system in the business life.
Many of the school boards of this county have taken advantage of the law providing that each district drawing less than $500 a year from the common school fund may use $30 of the same annually for the purchase of school apparatus, and are supplying their school houses with maps, globes, dictionaries, charts, etc.
Most of the new school bouses and many of the old ones have been furnished with patent seats and other modern furniture, secured from the firms dealing in these goods.
COURSE OF STUDY FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS. During the past three years, at our county institutes, has been discussed the subject of grading our county public schools. Committees were appointed to arrange a course of study and devise plans for carrying the same into effect, but so far nothing definite has been done. Some of our leading teachers have the impression that in commencing this work in the county, we are aiming too low ; they think that it should be done by legislative action, and be made uniform throughout the State, so that pupils in going from one part of the State to another, and bearing certificates of graduation, would be prepared to enter in the proper place any public school.
It is a question whether it is best to adopt a thorough or rigid graduation for any of the public schools, only so far as is necessary for system.
Some think that classification at the hands of an intelligent teacher of pupils, according to their ability, or capability of advancement in particular studies, to be productive of better results than grading all of each of the branches of a course by terms, as by the latter course is liable to result discouragement to the best, as well as those of mediocre ability, the one being uuduly restrained, and the other urged beyond his capabilities. That is, the system should be made for the child, and not the child for the system.
AVERAGE ATTENDANCE OF PUPILS IN SCHOOLS. The number of persons between four and twenty years of age residing in this county, according to the census taken this year, was 4,399; the enrollment in public schools of persons between these ages was 3,154, while the average daily attendance was but 2,117. While the per cent of the latter average, as compared with the census and enrollment is small, it is, however, much better than it was last year.
TEACHERS' READING CIRCLE OF OREGON. This subject has been presented at our institutes and educational meetings. Its importance and value to the teacher has been urged during my school visitation, circular letters sent out on the subject, and whenever opportunity offered I have appealed personally to the teachers to connect themselves with the circle, and pursue the course. These appeals have met with a reasonable response from our teachers. Our county membership is between 30 and 40, and is said by the State manager to be the largest county list in the State. Several local circles have been organized. Our teachers are beginning to realize the need of a better fitness for the profession, which this course of reading will help to bring about.