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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 338 pages of information about The Teacher.
practices may prevail.  Then the spirit of enterprise and experiment must be awakened and encouraged.  Which of these two is to be the duty of a writer at any time will of course depend upon the situation of the community at the time when he writes, and of the class of readers for which he takes his pen.  Now, at the present time, it is undoubtedly true, that while among the great mass of teachers there may be too little originality and enterprise, there is still among many a spirit of innovation and change to which a caution ought to be addressed.  But, before I proceed, let me protect myself from misconception by one or two remarks.

1.  There are a few individuals in various parts of our country who, by ingenuity and enterprise, have made real and important improvements in many departments of our science, and are still making them.  The science is to be carried forward by such men.  Let them not, therefore, understand that any thing which I shall say applies at all to those real improvements which are from time to time brought before the public.  As examples of this, there might easily be mentioned, were it necessary, several new modes of study, and new text-books, and literary institutions on new plans, which have been brought forward within a few years, and have proved, on actual trial, to be of real and permanent value.

These are, or rather they were, when first conceived by the original projectors, new schemes, and the result has proved that they were good ones.  Every teacher, too, must hope that such improvements will continue to be made.  Let nothing, therefore, which shall be said on the subject of scheming in this chapter be interpreted as intended to condemn real improvements of this kind, or to check those which may now be in progress by men of age or experience, or of sound judgment, who are capable of distinguishing between a real improvement and a whimsical innovation which can never live any longer than it is sustained by the enthusiasm of the original inventor.

2.  There are a great many teachers in our country who make their business a mere dull and formal routine, through which they plod on, month after month, and year after year, without variety or change, and who are inclined to stigmatize with the appellation of idle scheming all plans, of whatever kind, to give variety or interest to the exercises of the school.  Now whatever may be said in this chapter against unnecessary innovation and change does not apply to efforts to secure variety in the details of daily study, while the great leading objects are steadily pursued.  This subject has already been discussed in the chapter on Instruction, where it has been shown that every wise teacher, while he pursues the same great object, and adopts in substance the same leading measures at all times, will exercise all the ingenuity he possesses, and bring all his inventive powers into requisition to give variety and interest to the minute details.

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