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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Hampton Negro Conference. Number III. July 1899.
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and ninety-six to whom these lines are entirely closed. We should try to strike a more reasonable proportion. A certain common ground-work lies beneath any system of education; but after this is obtained, special training should be given such as is calculated to prepare the youth for his future environment."
THE TEACHER'S PREPARATION
"The real preparation of the teacher," continued Prof. Miller, "is the cultivation of a true missionary spirit—a spirit of consecration; unless the teacher can bring this spirit to his work, it is doomed to failure. We need a larger proportion of men in the back district of the South. The German people were civilized largely by the monks who lived among the people, and taught them how to cultivate the soil. They taught them by example, somewhat on the college settlement plan; and that is just what we need for the masses of our people. We want men who will go among them, and taking the resources as they find them, will show the people how to develop them. For this reason the teacher in the country districts of the South needs industrial equipment, so that he will be able to take hold of the things about him. He must know how to use his hands in many ways; therefore teachers of such schools should have definite manual preparation."
LENGTHENING THE TERM
Mr. Walker and Mr. Fitch were the principal speakers on the best way of lengthening the school terms. From their own experience, having succeeded in more than a hundred and twenty districts in inducing the people to contribute toward this object, they were able to say how it can be successfully managed. The first step is to go into a district, get the people together "under an oak tree, if there is no other place," and convince them that their children can never be educated if they go to school only five months in the year. It is also necessary to explain to them that it is of no use to insist, at least in Virginia, that it is the duty of the state to lengthen the term, for the taxes are not sufficient for the purpose. The second step is to show them how the term can be prolonged without great expense. After the amount necessary has been determined upon, a small tax is assessed on each according to his circumstances, to be paid at once or in installments. All these taxes go into a common fund, which is put in the hands of a treasurer—the most discreet man or woman
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