Pending these changes, the Filipino teacher took one end of the room and I the other. We were sufficiently far apart not to interfere with each other’s recitations. In order that all the pupils should have their reading and grammar recitations under my personal supervision, we changed classes at intervals. For the sake of the drill, I made the children move from one part of the room to the other, instead of changing with the other teacher myself. We made great efforts to accomplish this movement with order and decorum, but the result at first was a fizzle. The double column always began to move with dignity, but by the time it had advanced ten steps, excitement began to wax, the march became a hurry, the hurry grew to a rush, and the rush ended in a wild scramble for front seats. One little maid in particular was such an invariable holder of an advantageous position that my curiosity was aroused to see how she did it. I watched her, saw her glistening brown body—perfectly visible through the filmy material of her single garment—dive under the last row of seats and emerge triumphant at the front while the press was still blocking the aisles.
Disorder and excitement were, however, mere temporary conditions. Under repeated admonition and practice, the Filipino children moved about with more order and regularity, the habit of studying aloud was overcome, and the school began to show the organization and discipline to which Americans are accustomed.
The hardest thing to overcome was their desire to aid me in matters that I could manage better alone. If some one whispered and I tapped a pencil, instantly half the children in the room would turn around and utter the hiss with which they invoke silence, or else they would begin to scold the offender in the vernacular. Such acts led, of course, to unutterable confusion, and I had no little trouble in putting a stop to them.
An Analysis of Filipino Character
American Pupils and Filipino Pupils Contrasted—The Filipinos’ Belief That They Are Highly Developed Musicians—Their Morbid Sensitiveness to Criticism—Explanation of Their Desire for Education—Their Belief That They Could Achieve Great Success in Manufactures, Arts, and Literature If Left to Govern Themselves—Their Lack of Creative Ability—Dillettanteism of Leading Filipinos—Manual Jealousies of the People—Lack of Real Democratic Spirit in America—The Pride of Filipino Men Compared to That of American Women.
So long as they find firmness and justice in the teacher, Filipino children are far easier to discipline than are American children. At the first sign of weakness in the teacher or in the Government which is behind him, they are infinitely more unruly and arrogant than are the children of our own race. There is, in even the most truculent American child, a sense of the eternal fitness of things which the Filipino lacks.