Whatever you undertake to preach or
Duties of Teachers.
teach in this world, learn first to be.
If you are teaching music, you can never attain
to absolute success, no matter how great your
knowledge of the technique of music may be, or how
skilled you are as a performer, if your life is out of
key with the universe.
If you are instructing the young in mathematics,
look to it that your life is well regulated, and that
your thoughts have order and system.
If dancing and graceful posturing of the body
employ your time, cultivate grace of mind and
mental attitude toward your fellow-beings.
If you are training the human voice to express
eloquence, let all your daily actions be expressive
of eloquent sympathy and love for humanity.
Unless your theories permeate your whole being,
they are of no value to the world.
I once heard a school-teacher training a class of
girls in the rendering of a poem full of sweet and
tender sentiment. It was a mechanical effort, and
the class was slow in acquiring the teacher's idea,
because it was wholly mental. In her own heart
she was full of hard, bitter criticism and jealousy.
How could she fully express the sentiment of a love
Only large-minded and great-souled people
should ever dare think of instructing the world in
religion or art.
Only the sincere and honest and generous hearted
should dare teach anything. The moment a man
announces himself as a teacher in any department
of life, he indicates the idea of a certain superior-
ity. It should be his aim to live up to that idea.
It is said of a man physically, that his constitution is
only as strong as the weakest part of his body; it is
said of a country that its civilization can only be
estimated by its most uncivilized contingency.
The same estimate must be made of character.
Every teacher ought to consider himself the
architect who is set to the task of perfecting the
rough statue. Whatever his strong point is, he
must build his whole life up to meet and harmonize
with it. The unfortunate idea seems to have seized
upon many minds that, because a man is gifted or
skilled in some one line, nothing is to be demanded
of him in other respects, and everything is to be for-
Exactly the opposite idea should prevail.
whom much is given, of him much is required.
I hold it the duty of one who is gifted
And royally dowered in all
To know no rest till his life is lifted
Wholly up to his great gifts'
For a gift should be worn like a crown befitting,
And not like a gem on a
And the toil must be constant and unremitting
Which lifts up the king
to the crown's demand.
Every-day thoughts in prose and verse. by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Chicago: W. B. Conkey Company, 1901.