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The Bridgewater school has had a prosperous year, fully sustaining its previous reputation. That the services of its teachers have been, in most cases, of such long continuance, should not be allowed to produce indifference to their value, or to the testimony thus furnished to the wisdom of as much permanence everywhere, in the relation of teacher and pupil, as is attainable. The general atmosphere of the school, and the average success of its graduates, may justly be spoken of as matter of congratulation to its patrons and the State.
There has been no change in the year past in the corps of teachers, which consists of Albert G. Boyden, A.M., principal ; George H. Martin, A.M., Franz H. Kirmayer, Arthur C. Boyden, A.M., Cyrus A. Cole, Eliza B. Woodward, Mary H. Leonard, Isabelle S. Horne, Clara C. Prince, assistants; all of whom have taught successfully in public schools in addition to their thorough normal training and experience.
The school is a normal training-school. It has had a steady growth in prosperity and usefulness from the time of its organization in 1840.
Its courses of study, and methods of teaching and training, which are adapted to the wants of teachers in all grades of schools, are the outcome of many years of thought, observation, and practice in the training of teachers.
The pupils are led through a careful analysis of each study in the course, to know what should be taught, and the logical order of the topics, both in the elementary and in the advanced portions of the subject.
They are taught how to teach each part of the subject in its proper relation to the other parts and to the whole.
They are trained in the method of teaching by practice throughout the course, in teaching the topics to their classmates, who
are actual pupils, with the criticism of their fellow-students and the normal teachers.
After acquiring the method, they learn the principles which determine the method by a careful study of the mind.
They observe the application of these principles in the teaching of primary and grammar-school pupils in the school of observation, which includes three grades of the public schools.
Not only the art and science of teaching, in application to the different branches of the courses of study, are learned, but school organization and school government are carefully studied.
The knowledge of the subject to be taught, the method of teaching, and the principles of education are thus thoroughly associated in the mind of the pupil, and he acquires the ability to lay out and to execute the work in the conduct of his own school.
The principal was granted a leave of absence for six weeks in the early part of the spring term. A portion of this time was spent by him in observing other schools and school-buildings, for the purpose of perfecting the plans for the new chemical and physical laboratories. The larger part of the summer vacation he devoted to superintending the erection of this new building.
The statistics of the school for the year ending July 1, 1881, are as follows:
The number admitted Sept. 7, 1881, was 65, making the number in attendance at that date 168.
The whole number of admissions to the school to July, 1881, has been 2,721: gentlemen, 913; ladies, 1,808.
The whole number of graduates has been 1,678: gentlemen, 584; ladies, 1,094. The whole number from the four-years' course has been 47: gentlemen, 30; ladies, 17.
Of the number belonging to the school for the year, Plymouth County sent
47; Bristol, 31; Norfolk, 30; Middlesex, 27; Barnsliable, 8; Suffolk, 7; Essex, 5. Worcester, 4; Berkshire, 1; the State of Maine, 5; New Hampshire, 5; Pennsylvania, 2; Vermont, Minnesota, each 1. Totals: Massachusetts, 160; other States, 14.
The average age of those admitted during the year is 19 years 9 months: of the gentlemen, 20 years, 2 months; of the ladies, 19 years.
Occupation of parents: farmers, 16; mechanics, 25; traders, 6; teachers, sea-captains, each 3; coachmen, superintendents, manufacturers, each 2; clergyman, clerk, draughtsman, book-keeper, state constable, painter, sailmaker, seaman, each 1. Total, 68.
Of the 68 candidates received, there came from high schools, 42; from grammar schools, 12; from academies and private schools, 5; from district schools, 4; from colleges, 4; from normal school, 1.
The number of students from college pursuing a special course during the year, has been 3; the number pursuing the four-years' course has been 43: gentlemen, 21; ladies, 22. The number taking the two-years' course, with some additional studies, has been 15
Of the 52 graduates for the year, 10 were from the four-years' course. Two of these graduates are continuing their studies in the school. Two of them for good reasons are not teaching, three are teaching out of the State; the others are teaching in Massachusetts in district, grammar, and high schools.
Gratifying reports of the success of the graduates in their schools are frequently received. These reports show that the graduates, generally, are successfully applying the principles taught them in the Normal School. Occasionally one fails from a want of natural aptitude for the work. The question of the pupil-teacher's fitness for the work cannot be positively decided in every case until he is placed in charge of his own school. It should be remembered that the young teacher is subjected to a severe test upon entering an ungraded district school, — the combination of a primary, an intermediate, and a grammar school, with the most scanty means for teaching, with no course of study marked out, and with very little aid from supervision. The wonder is that more do not fail under such conditions.
The number of applications for graduates after the supply is exhausted is further evidence of the estimation in which they are held. Many calls come from prominent positions with good salaries, for graduates of ability and experience, showing that young teachers who have an aptitude and love for the work will find graduation from the school a good introduction to these positions.
The new building for laboratories was begun in June, and was ready for occupancy in September. It is a handsome structure thirty-two w sixty-four feet, two stories in height, standing on the south side of the schoolhouse, and connected with the first and second stories of the main building by a porch. It contains four rooms, each thirty feet square, and the porch contains two rooms for teachers' laboratories.
The rooms on the lower floor are used for physical laboratories, one for the elementary course, the other for the advanced, with microscopic work and projection. The rooms in the upper story are used for chemical laboratories, one for the elementary course, the other for analytical work, qualitative and quantitative.
These rooms are furnished with the best approved modern appliances for teaching how to study and teach physics and chemistry. Each student has a place at the tables, and performs the experiments, and is taught how to make and use simple, inexpensive apparatus such as he can secure for use in his own school.
Rooms in the main building have been converted into laboratories for the study of natural history. These improvements have greatly increased the efficiency of the teaching and training, and the students are enthusiastic in the use of them.
The last legislature appropriated a sum not exceeding eight thousand dollars, for the erection and equipment of this new building. The secretary of the Board of Education and the visitors of the school were appointed by the board a building committee with full powers. This committee appointed the principal of the school superintendent of the building and furnishing, and agent for making purchases.
The working plans and specifications were made by George Hayward of Bridgewater. The excavation and stone-work were done by John Withom of Middleborough. Charles Wilson of Quincy furnished the granite. Samuel L. Ryder of West Bridgewater was the contractor for the carpenter and mason work and painting. The steam-heating and gas apparatus, and plumbing, were put up by the Walworth Manufacturing Company of Boston. J. W. Griggs of Boston furnished the slate blackboards.
All the work has been well done. The summary of bills paid for the work is as follows:
Total . . . . . . . . $8,000 00 All of which has been accounted for by the bills and receipts presented to the Building Committee and State Auditor.
These changes in the buildings have made it necessary to have some additional furniture, — new chairs and settees for the class-rooms, and tables for the laboratories in natural history. A small appropriation for this purpose is very much needed.
In thus alluding to a further appropriation, the visitors wish to speak of the generous action of the legislature of last year. The amount expended in additions and changes is, we fully believe, a profitable investment, and is already making returns in the fuller adaptation of the school buildings and furnishings to the ever-growing needs of education, and in the increased impetus in the work of both teachers and pupils.
C. C. HUSSEY, Visitor.