ELEMENTARY-SCHOOL TEACHING AS A PROFESSION.
[To THE EDITOR OP THE "SPECTATOR."]
Sin,—The present seems a good oPportunity to recall atten- tion to this subject. Among the many ways of earning money adopted by girls and young women of the upper and middle classes who through their parents' misfortune, or otherwise, find themselves more or less unexpectedly obliged to do some- thing for their own support, the profession of elementary- school teacher has hitherto not received the attention which it deserves. Young ladies are to be found (and why not ?) as nurses, typewriters, dressmakers, shop-assistants, "lady- helps," governesses, companions, and so forth, but seldom acting as elementary-school teachers. Yet there are points about such a profession which seem to mark it as peculiarly suitable for young women of the class in question. It is un- doubtedly an honourable and useful work. To take a part in shaping the rising generation is work worthy of any one. It is work for which they are, or should easily become, fitted.
• Keble's "Chriatisin Year,"
The intellectual tests are not very severe; and culture, tact, refinement, all the qualities which go to make a true lady, cannot be too plentiful in our schools, provided that the requisite ordinaryqualifications are also present. It is a work full of possibilities. The influence which an ideal teacher may obtain over her scholars can scarcely be exaggerated. It is a life of independence, compared with some of those already referred to. Nor is it over-laborious. Work does not, of course, cease for the teacher, especially the upper teacher, as it does for the scholar, when the school closes. But after school the teacher can at any rate plan out her time as she chooses ; and, making all allowances, a time-table of about five to five and a half working hours a day, with Saturday and Sunday free, and about eight weeks' holiday in the year, is not so very terrifying. It is a profession with a fairly certain prospect of rise in it, leading to no great prizes indeed, but ending, if desired, with a modest pension. It is not ill-paid; in fact, the salaries are rising in a manner alarming to those who pay them. Lastly, there is now such an opening as has never occurred before. The demand, in town and country, is urgent both for quantity and quality. And it will be a great pity if so good a source of supply as that which I have indicated should continue to furnish so few recruits.—I am, Sir, &c.,
A CHAIRMAN OP A SCHOOL MANAGEMENT SECTION OF A COUNTY EDUCATION COMMITTEE.
[We most heartily agree with our correspondent, and have often wondered that in the families of professional men where it is necessary for the girls to do something, more attention is not paid to the prospects offered by our elementary schools.—ED. Spectator.]