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The Young Man and His Vocation (1925-26): Lesson 11: Teaching — Librarian

By: Ardis E. Parshall - August 02, 2011

For background and links to chapters in this series, see here

LESSON XI

TEACHING – LIBRARIAN

Importance of Teaching

Anyone who has come in contact with a great teacher like Karl G. Maeser, realizes the tremendous power for good which may be exercised by a person in this position. One can scarcely go into a village or hamlet in the intermountain country without coming in contact with someone who was a student of Dr. Maeser in what was then the Brigham Young academy. The universal verdict of those who came in contact with him is that their lives were enriched and their characters strengthened as a result o coming under the tuition of this great man. If each of his students in turn becomes a center of inspiration there is really no limit to the good that will have been accomplished by this one teacher.

A young man of high ideals and strong personality, untiring energy, and excellent training went into a small town as teacher in the schools. He found there no interest in education and progress was at a standstill. The boys went to school as little as possible; whenever there was a chance they spent their time loafing on the street corners telling coarse stories. The chief ambition of the town seemed to be to spend as many months out of the year as possible on the sidewalk. The young teacher, by using great tact and doing almost an endless amount of work, finally began to awaken interest in higher things. His first converts helped him to make others, and finally he had the entire community aroused. Many young people after completing the work given in the local school were induced to go away for further study. These alter returned home and became leaders. The town assumed an entirely different aspect, and the next generation was born under greatly changed conditions.

Numerical Importance

Teachers form by far the largest professional group. In 1920 the U.S. census reported 752,055 school teachers exclusive of teachers of music, athletics, dancing, etc. Of these 635,209 or 84.46 per cent were women and 116,848 men.

The U.S. Bureau of Education reported for the same year the following groups of teachers:

Distribution of Teachers

Teachers in . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Men . . . . .  Women . . . .  Total

Public elementary schools  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63,024. . . . .  513,222 . . .  576,246
Public high schools.  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32,386 . . . . . . 69,572  . . . .101,958
Private elementary schools (estimated) . . . . . . . . . . . 6,322 . . . . . . 38,977 . . . . . 45,299
Private high schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5,698 . . . . . . . 9,248 . . . . .  14,946
Universities and Colleges

Preparatory departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2,714 . . . . . . . 1,568 . . . . . . 4,282
Collegiate departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  . . . 21,644 . . . . . .  6,469  . . . . .28,113
Other departments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .982 . . . . . .  1,239 . . . . .  2,221
Professional schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  10,603 . . . . . . . . 312  . . . . 10,915
Teachers colleges and normal schools, public  . 2,963 . . . . . .  5,161 . . . . . .8,124
Teachers Colleges and normal schools, private. . . 567. . . . . . . .  866 . . . . . .1,463
Commercial and business schools  . . . . . . . . .2,976 . . . . . .  3,189 . . . . .  6,165
Schools for defectives and delinquents . . . . . 1,165 . . . . . .  2,744 . . . . . .3,909
Indian and Alaskan schools . . . . . . . . . . .  141 . . . . . . . . 652 . . . . . . .  793
Kindergartens

Public  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10,022
Private . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 717

[I give up on trying to make this table look anything like a table -- the limitations of the blogging software are too great.]

Desirable Qualities in a Teacher

A teacher should first of all have a love for his calling. If he lacks this one quality he should engage in something else. He should fee,. On entering the schoolroom in the morning that a day of joy is before him, and in the evening he should have the satisfaction that comes from a day well spent and a pleasant duty performed. A farmer may not like his work and no one but himself will be injured by his attitude; but if a teacher’s heart is not in what he does, all who come under his tuition will feel the ill effects.

One who works in the school room should have a pleasant personality and be able to win the confidence of his associates. He should have good discipline and be able to maintain leadership under all circumstances. The prospective teacher should be sufficiently robust in body to endure the strain resulting from close confinement within doors. He should be of an intellectual turn of mind, and should have the preparation necessary to teach his subject. It is important that he have a good character and that he be able to inspire in his students a determination to make the most of themselves.

Preparation for Teacher

Preparation is one of the keynotes to success in teaching. He who enters the field without being prepared is not only untrue to himself but he also renders a great injustice to those coming under his tuition. Teaching without preparation frequently means the teaching of error which after once learned is very difficult to eradicate. Natural ability counts for much, but it can never make up for lack of information on the subject one is to teach.

The preparation varies with the grade of teaching to be done. Most states prescribe a minimum of training for the various grades of teaching. Thus, in Utah a first class certificate to teach in the elementary public schools, requires two years of college work above the high school with certain of the subjects prescribed; the junior high school requires three years of college work, and the high school teacher must have a college degree. Colleges usually require of their faculty members the master’s or the doctor’s degree, particularly of those recently entering the service.

Compensation and Opportunities

No one ever heard of a teacher getting rich simply by working at his profession. In the past the monetary compensation has been far short of the service rendered, but conditions are gradually i8mproving in this respect. The salary varies from a few dollars a month in isolated rural schools to as high as ten thousand dollars a year in a few cases for specialists in large universities. While the teacher does not accumulate wealth, he usually makes a comfortable living, and has a fine environment in which to live and an opportunity to associate with an unusually fine class of people. He makes less in a actual wages than some other vocations, but he receives part of his compensation in the satisfaction coming from the good he does to his pupils. When, after years of hard work at low pay, an old student comes up and, putting his arm around him says: “This is the man who started me right in life. I owe all that I am to his wise teachings,” then it is that dollars and cents sink into insignificance and the teacher feels fully paid for his every effort.

To the young man who has a love for the work, whose very soul burns with a desire to instruct, and who is willing to prepare himself properly, there is always an opportunity in the teaching profession. The higher one goes in the profession, the greater are the demands for his service. Of poorly prepared and inefficient teachers, there are plenty; but of those who combine natural ability with proper training, there is a great dearth. The young man desiring to spend his life in the service of his fellows, and being willing to give those services for moderate monetary compensation, swill find the teaching profession a very attractive field.

Librarian

With more than a million different books available, and with the large demand from every quarter for exact information on different subjects, it has become necessary to develop persons who are expert in caring for books, cataloguing their contents, and finding material on any subject. Libraries are strengthening and supplementing the school courses, by promoting local industries through furnishing the best technical literature, relating to these industries, as well as by furnishing reading for culture and recreation. This new type of service which is being rendered by libraries all over the country calls for librarians with special training, and the vocation of librarian is rapidly becoming very attractive. In preparing for this profession as much general education as possible should be received, and then specific training should be had in the special technique of managing a library.

SUGGESTED QUESTIONS

1. What teacher has left the greatest impression on your life?
2. What are some of the qualities that make a teacher great?
3. About what is the average length of service of the teacher in your community?
4. What are the kinds of teaching in which men predominate over women?
5. Name some of the ways in which a teacher may become a community leader.
6. What at the opportunities in the profession of librarian?



2 Comments »

  1. What are the kinds of teaching in which men predominate over women?

    What kind of a question is this? The Google dictionary shows two definitions of predominate:

    1. Be the strongest or main element; be greater in number or amount…
    2. Have or exert control or power.

    I wonder which definition they’re asking about. Where do men show up in greater numbers? Well, probably only in college and university settings. Where do men exert power over women? In the administration of education at pretty much every level from elementary through college. In my experience with education in a number of different states all over the country, it is the rare school or school system that has a woman at its head.

    Comment by Researcher — August 2, 2011 @ 9:48 am

  2. Yes, but nice words about the need for professional librarians. Something our society has forgotten.

    Comment by Jeff Johnson — August 2, 2011 @ 11:17 pm

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