Hence, the first task of every young teacher is the conquest of his own heart.
He must begin by recognizing frankly his faults and rooting them out.
On investigation he will probably find that he is immensely impressed by his own learning, dignity and importance. Of course, his pupils’ impressions will not be half so intense and flattering.
This will soon become apparent. Then the young teacher’s soul will begin to smart under disappointment, and unless he has a care he will betray himself lamentably.
For vanity does not brook dark corners and places below stairs. It insists on living in the open, and is as ingenious as a sensational preacher in attracting notice to itself.
Anger, sarcasm, injustice, cheap politics, and a thousand other petty vices and schemes are its shameless instruments.
It obtrudes itself on the notice of the pupils in the most offensive ways, until finally — Blessings on their manly spirit! — they take matters into their own hands, roughly perhaps, but effectively.
The teacher is to blame for all this. He has created the disorder, and will father more, unless he applies the knife to his soul.
He must cut away anger, for it darkens counsel, and put up in its place calmness, which has a majesty about it, at once attractive and compelling.
That done, he is ready for new excisions and new acquisitions.
Softness, favoritism, undue suspiciousness, the most contemptible of all petty vices, and that fox-like animal astuteness which, no doubt, has been mirrored in the face of every man who ever harbored it in his heart, from Judas to the last of the tribe, must be replaced by the sturdy, frank, wholesome manliness which commands the respect and admiration of everybody worthy of an education, or even consideration.
The teacher who does this has made a great stride towards success in discipline.
He has few or no natural defects on which boys can play, to his chagrin and consequent undoing.
He will be prudent and forceful in thought and action. Though boys may not cringe before him, yet they will not lead him by a chain.
They will troop on by his side, happy in his inspiration and leadership. So far we have been looking at the disciplinarian from one angle only.
There is another view-point which presents a new aspect. For disorder can also arise from poor, uninteresting teaching.