WHAT SCHOOLMASTERS ARE MADE FROM.
Some of the funniest reading we have come across for a long time is to be found in the report of the Inspector-General of Schools. Mr. Habens is very severe on “ persons offering themselves for examination who have nothing whatever to justify them in supposing that they are fit to become teachers,” and remarks that “a preliminary examination in reading, speling, and dictation would probably have the effect of greatly reducing the number of candidates. I select the following illustrations of bad spelling from exercises written by candidates for class D : —Kaitif and catif, nautious, flymn and phelem (for phlegm), verdigrease and ver-de-grees, vittles, retio se nationa and rhatosonation (for ratiocination). One candidate (for class E) in writing a letter as an exercise in composition says—‘ I should like you to continue your studies as regularally as pbssable.’ It is like breaking a fly on a wheel to employ all the machinery of examiners, supervisers, printed papers, etc., for Ihe purpose of detecting ignorance of this kind in those who aspire to the work of teaching.” Further on Mr. Habens says :—“ The candidates for class E were asked to ‘name and characterise the great English statesmen of the seventeenth and . eighteenth centuries ? ’ Some of the answers illustrate the want of common sense to which I have referred. (1.) .‘Pitt, one of the best primers England has seen ; Gladstone, Disraeli, Fox, Sheridan. ’ (2.) ‘ Sir Gl Grey, W. Fox, Pilchard, -Carl : Crombie, Murray, Fisher.’ (3.) ‘Shakespeare, Chaucer, William Spenser (Faerie Queane), and Dickens.* (4.) ‘ From his earliest years Pitt - was inflicted with the gout.’ (5.) Pitt led a chequered life ; he was troubled with rheumatics.’ (6.) * Laud, better known as Stafford. ’ - The following are portions of answers i given to a question which afforded an opportunity of showing any ■ knowledge the candidates possessed . with regard to Milton, the Septennial Act, ' Glencoe, Laud, the Hump, and tliegSouth |Sea Bubble.’ ‘Milton was a poet, under . William the Fourth. A very good poet, . and was very much liked by hia friends.’ ‘Milton, a great poet, translated the Bible.’ ‘Milton was a philosopher, who did much to increase our knowledge of the laws of nature, notably gravitation. ’ ' ‘ Milton also wrote Agonistes and Samson; was married twice and was not lovable to either of his wives. ’ ‘ The Septennial Act ‘was passed once in seven years ;’ ‘ elected members every five years ‘ was that Parliament should he closed seven years ;’ , * was an Act drawn up to prevent any ■ sovereign from keeping the meanest subject in prison without bringing him to a fair trial. Ho more beautiful and perhaps useful lives would be allowed to pine and waste away in dark dungeons,’ and so on; * Glencoe, a Scottish chieftain, who rose in rebellion against the Protestants, and wanted to have Presbyterianism established in Scotland.’ ‘ They rose up in the middle of the Knight, and began their work of Blood. ’ ‘ Archbishop Laud, Minister of St. Andrews, and who was murdered by Balfour Burleigh ’ —‘ A Boyalist general ’ —‘ an archbishop. He •did much good in promoting Puritanism. ’ * The Bump, so called from the Whigs and Tories having had quarrels ’ —‘ so called from one of its members.’ ‘ The (South) Sea Bubble is spoken of in history as being similar to a waterspout. .... , Ships have been known to meet this strange sea bubble, and of course journeys , upward with it unless it is foreseen ; and, .if so, the seamen discharge fire-arms into it to break or bust. . . . Ships have been carried many miles overland by it. .In fact, everything is, as it were, sucked into it. ’ It would be easy to multiply instances not less absurd.” It is evident that these would-be schoolmasters were ‘ very much “ abroad.”
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