“Now of these three methods the last is undoubtedly the best. If you once commit the addition table thoroughly, you have it fixed for life; whereas if you do not, you have to make the calculation over again every time, and thus lose a vast amount of labor. I have no doubt that there are some in this class who are in the habit of counting, who have ascertained that seven and eight, for instance, make fifteen, by counting up from seven to fifteen hundreds of times. Now how much better it would be to spend a little time in fixing the fact in the mind once for all, and then, when you come to the case, seven and eight are—say at once ‘Fifteen,’ instead of mumbling over and over again, hundreds of times, ’Seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen.’
“The reason, then, that some of the class add so slowly, is not, probably, because they want skill and rapidity of execution, but because they work to a great disadvantage by working in the wrong way. I have often been surprised at the dexterity and speed with which some scholars can count with their fingers when adding, and yet they could not get through the sum very quick—at least they would have done it in half the time if the same effort had been made in traveling on a shorter road. We will therefore study the addition table now, in the class, before we go any farther.”
21. TARDINESS.—When only a few scholars in a school are tardy, it may be their fault; but if a great many are so, it is the fault of the teacher or of the school. If a school is prosperous, and the children are going on well and happily in their studies, they will like their work in it; but we all come reluctantly to work which we are conscious we are not successfully performing.
There may be two boys in a school, both good boys; one, may be going on well in his classes, while the other, from the concurrence of some accidental train of circumstances, may be behindhand in his work, or wrongly classed, or so situated in other respects that his school duties perplex and harass him day by day. Now how different will be the feelings of these two boys in respect to coming to school. The one will be eager and prompt to reach his place and commence his duties, while the other will love much better to loiter in idleness and liberty in the open air. Nor is he, under the circumstances of the case, to blame for this preference. There is no one, old or young, who likes or can like to do what he himself and all around him think that he does not do well. It is true the teacher can not rely wholly on the interest which his scholars take in their studies to make them punctual at school; but if he finds among them any very general disposition to be tardy, he ought to seek for the fault mainly in himself and not in them.