There may be features of this plan which teachers who may read it may be inclined to adopt. In other cases, suggestions may occur to the mind of the reader, which may modify in some degree his present plans. Others may merely be interested in seeing how others effect what they, by other methods, are equally successful in effecting.
It is in these and similar ways that I have often myself been highly benefited in visiting schools and, in reading descriptions of them, and it is for such purposes that I insert the account here.
TO A NEW SCHOLAR ON HER ADMISSION TO THE MOUNT VERNON SCHOOL.
As a large school is necessarily somewhat complicated in its plan, and as new scholars usually find that it requires some time and gives them no little trouble to understand the arrangements they find in operation here, I have concluded to write a brief description of these arrangements, by help of which you will, I hope, the sooner feel at home in your new place of duty. That I may be more distinct and specific, I shall class what I have to say under separate heads.
I. YOUR PERSONAL DUTY.
Your first anxiety as you come into the school-room, and take your seat among the busy multitude, if you are conscientiously desirous of doing your duty, will be, lest, ignorant as you are of the whole plan and of all the regulations of the institution, you should inadvertently do what will be considered wrong. I wish first, then, to put you at rest on this score. There is but one rule of this school. That you can easily keep.
You will observe on one side of my desk a clock upon the wall, and not far from it a piece of apparatus that is probably new to you. It is a metallic plate, upon which are marked, in gilded letters, the words “Study Hours." This is upright, but it is so attached by its lower edge to its support by means of a hinge that it can fall over from above, and thus be in a horizontal position; or it will rest in an inclined position—half down, as it is called. It is drawn up and let down by a cord passing over a pulley. When it passes either way, its upper part touches a bell, which gives all in the room notice of its motion.
Now when this “Study Card"  as the scholars call it, is up, so that the words “STUDY HOURS” are presented to the view of the school, it is the signal for silence and study. THERE IS THEN TO BE NO COMMUNICATION AND NO LEAVING OF SEATS EXCEPT AT THE DIRECTION OF TEACHERS. When it is half down, each scholar may leave her seat and whisper, but she must do nothing which will disturb others. When it is down, all the duties of school are suspended, and scholars are left entirely to their liberty.