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atNormal School, but nowwent through in the same time as the elementary teachers, and their superior rank had begun to grind on the elementaries. The elementaries had subsisted on meagre pay until the war, when their unexpected exodus from the classroom brought an alarmed and speedy but cautious increase in their salaries, with more generous raises for the higher-paid groups. It seemed an established idea that they should be the lowest paid in the service.
'But if the manual-training men get more pay, why should n't the domesticscience women?' an apologist might begin.
'Yes, of course, and the singing, and all the other specials — What I want to know is, what is the matter with the grade teachers? Who works harder than we do?' an elementary would muster spunk to ask; a query that could not get itself answered, and the thing went on grinding.
'My kid sister,' Miss O'Callahan was saying, on their walk through the morning sunshine to the schoolhouse, 'says she'll never be a teacher — not on your life. My father wants her to go to Normal, but she says she's going to business college.'
'Just what my niece declares,' joined in Miss Fletcher. 'She thinks it's enough to look at me.'
'I wish I could do anything else,' the green Miss Shannon threw in wistfully, 'but teach school.'
The remark would not have been noticed from another speaker; but the green Miss Shannon, — she of the smiling eyes and cheering word, never ailing or complaining or indignant or critical, — from the reformer's point of view the most dangerous of optimists!
'You too?' the stout, dark .teacher said. She was herself not unaware of the .Irony of things, but temperamentally f umorous and profoundly patient.
'Say, if anything should separate you two from the service,' Miss O'Callahan protested, 'what's to become of me, and Miss Polonski, and the rest of us sweet young things? We think we know the game when we come out of Normal, but we can't stand long before our classes without running to you to ask what's the next move.'
'So I've observed,' Miss Fletcher rejoined, as they went in at the teachers' entrance, and on to the office key-board to take down their keys.
Speeding down the hall with her bright troop, the green Miss Shannon espied the diminutive Salvadore Delmonico, contrary to rules, waiting at the door of Room 16. His small body was agitated by an emotion beyond his present expression in English, as he poured out, 'Teacher — de big boy come — teacher, de big boy he go by de desk — de big boy he swipe all de marbles on you — he runs away — runs down dat way—'
The marbles! That treasured collection, held in trust. For every marble that went thump, thump, thump on the floor in school-time, custody in that safe repository, the right-hand drawer of teacher's desk; but at the end of the term, restoration. Now many pairs of big dark eyes of rightful owners will watch the progress of recapture. And the nine cents, ah, the nine cents of Theresa, entrusted to teacher's care yesterday and forgotten — what of that? And the soul of the big boy — should it not be rescued from such a pitfall?
'Down dat way,' into the boys' basement, in pursuit, hurries teacher; gets wind of one Pasquale Pappa, hales him into Room 16 ere the nine o'clock gong strikes. What of the marbles, Pasquale Pappa? What of the nine cents?
Pasquale looks accusingly upon Salvadore.
'Yes, I was bring de waste-basket last night by de sweepers. I see him,' pointing at Salvadore, 'swipe de marble out de teacher's desk, an' he give me one an' I drop it back. I tell him if he do dat, de teacher'II holler on him.'
'I wants my mudder,' screams Salvadore, 'my mudder, my mudder, my mudder!'
The game is up. But the marbles, who has the marbles? 'Rafael has de marble.' — 'No, teacher, Salvadore give de marble.' — 'Who else has the marbles?'
Here they stand in a row — Michael, Tony, Joseph, Rafael, Dominic, Jaspar.
— 'Teacher, Salvadore give de marble.'
— 'Where are they now?' — Lost, gamed, given, swiped — scattered. And the money, the nine cents?
'No, teacher, I did n't rob de moneys on youze. It's a sin to rob de moneys on de teacher.' His father Salvadore can deceive, his mother he can hoax, 'de teacher' he cannot. 'Where is the money?' It is at home hidden in 'my mudder's' sweater pocket. 'Go home and get it.' Emanuel, the largest boy in the grade, conducts him.
Two new dark little boys come in and present paper slips to teacher. Already she has fifty-three bambinos for the forty-eight seats. A fiction prevails in school-circles (obtained from averages) of forty-eight pupils to a room, and a pleasantry of forty-two to a room. But there are the elastic small chairs.
'What is your name? John Scully? That's an Irish name,' laughs the green Miss Shannon.
'Yes, yes,' says John; for only 'yes, yes' can he say.
'But you 're not Irish,' the nice teacher jokes.
'You 're Italian.'
'How do you spell it? Ah, "Sculle,"' reads the green Miss Shannon. 'Paul Brosseau. You're a little French boy, aren't you?"
*No, ma'am — Catholeek.'
Max brings a note: —
All of your children are hitting my Maxie on the way home. I want that stopped. I'll tell the principal. And they make noses on him. I want that stopped. Another thing, they always take his things, and I want that stopped. Your loving
The Italian parents cannot write notes, not so much as excuses for tardiness. The laggards are many. They must be punished; they must learn the sorry fate of the sluggard; they shall not sing with the others; they shall sit in a row on low chairs back of the teacher till the singing is over. 'They sing at me,' the culprits complain, and weep. They sing at them, 'A birdie with a yellow bill,' and point and shake their forefingers. 'Ain't you 'shamed, you sleepy head?' They sing at them, 'Tick-tock, tick-tock, clocks are saying,' and at 'Then comes school and — don't — be—late,' 'Dey shakes deir fingers on me,' Anthony says, and weeps more.'
Will he be sitting on this little mourning bench to-morrow? No, he will come early, and stand up by his seat and sing and point and shake his finger at the woeful mites who will be sitting as now he is sitting. The joy of singing shall be his, and the fun of being a make-believe car of the six make-believe trains in the room, seven cars long, and the first child is an engine. Arms touching shoulders in front, imitative feet shuffling, left hand for a whistle, right hand rings the bell, off goes the train: —
'Chu, chu, chu, chu, chu, dm, chu,
Blow the whistle, ring the bell,
Now we'll start again.
Chu, chu, chu, chu, chu, chu. chu,
See how fast I go.
When I come to bridges,
Then I'm — very — s-l-o-w.'
Now they are standing very straight, as the green Miss Shannon is standing, right-hand fingers outspread, three fingers stiff, two curved, left forefinger ready to be the captain: —
'Five little soldiers standing in a row.
They hit the t's and the n and the k at the end of the words, as the green Miss Shannon shows them. If some do not, they sing it again. It is just as in the phonics lesson, which comes after the singing. The phonics lesson consists of making sounds, after the manner of beasts, birds, and insects which have preceded them up the scale of being, even as the green Miss Shannon makes sounds: sounds of the English tongue, associated with symbols of the English language. A disguised drill, vivified by the green Miss Shannon, carried along with enthusiasm — but interrupted.
Emanuel and Salvadore reappear. The morals lesson is allowed to fit the occasion. Nobody has yet instructed teacher to put the morals lesson at a certain time on the programme. Salvadore brings to teacher a bright new dime. No tears, no nine cents; only a bright new dime. Teacher looks upon the dime, upon Salvadore, upon Emanuel. Emanuel is Jewish, and does not know the Italian words Salvadore talked to his father. Is it that teacher has another time demanded the dime for the yarn used in the weaving of the doll rug, for the paste, for the crayons, what not? Salvadore shall have the dime for his teacher. Ah, that was teacher's slip. Now Peter shall take
back the new dime and make inquiries of the father, and Salvadore shall sit in Room 16 until Peter returns, and shall read his lesson.
Salvadore does not wish to read his lesson. He loves to sing, he loves to draw, he does not love to read. He has lost his book. Phena too has forgotten her book. Dominic has torn his. Jaspar has chewed the corners off his. Concetti's is very dirty. Carmilla's is a maze of loose pages, which she carefully keeps in order and reads like a public speaker turning the pages of his manuscript. Teacher has found another book for Salvadore to read from, and Phena may sit with Marian, whose book, carefully covered with brown cambric, is clean and untorn. Teacher looks with bright eyes on Marian, and speaks glad words of her book. But the rest may not 'make nice their books like teacher says.' They get them 'off my big brudder,' or 'by de principal,' and never were they as Marian's.
'Yiz can buy dem off de candy woman,' volunteers Theresa.
'Yiz! What should you say?' reminds teacher.
With a little toss of her head, 'Youze,' Theresa corrects herself. So continuously does teacher struggle to break the mould of environment.
Rosie finds the picture-lesson page for Salvadore — the picture of many bugs. 'Who sees a new word? Salvadore?'— 'Teacher, I know — bug.' Last year teacher must not tell the new word; the new word was sacred to phonics. This year the principal says teacher must tell the new word. No, the word is not 'bug.' It is what bees say. 'What are bees?' — 'They are fairies,' says Phena, looking at the picture. They have wings. 'Who has been to the eountry?' Tony. Everybody points to Tony. 'Tony wuz by de country.' But neither does Tony know bees from fairies.
So teacher tells and Marian reads. Carmilla listens and reads just as Marian has read. 'Now read the last sentence, Carmilla.' Carmilla must read from the top, swiftly, with a little hum, till she comes to it. 'Do you like to make honey?' she reads glibly, and looks up to find that teacher's eyes have the little jokes in them. Like Salvadore, Carmilla cannot fool teacher. Now Salvadore will read: —
'"Bugs, bugs, little bees. Do you like to fly sunshines? You are busy little bees to make moneys for me. Do you like to make moneys?"' Money means something to Salvadore, honey does not.
Down falls Jimmie's marble, thump, thump, thump, rolling on the floor to teacher. Teacher says, 'Um! Another lovely marble I have for my collection.' Carmilla sees that teacher looks with bright eyes upon the marble. It must be that teacher likes the beautiful marble. Carmilla has no beautiful marble to give to teacher, but she has the glass pendant she found in the alley, which Jaspar offered to trade for two marbles. The glass pendant is a fine thing to have, to make rainbows by — still, she would like to give teacher the beautiful marbles.
Now comes Peter back with the nine cents for Theresa. The father 'says like this' to teacher for Salvadore — 'Teacher shall close him up in a dark room.' The suggested punishment not being in accord with modern methods, teacher is wondering what she shall do with Salvadore and with Salvadore's class. Teacher has asked for kindergarten material for Room 16, to keep busy half the tiny restless folk, while the other tiny restless folk read; but no kindergarten material has come for teacher; for different things has teacher asked in vain. Five rooms use the scissors, and it is not now the turn of Room 16. Salvadore's class go to the board
and make' two hills,' which is an n, and 'three hills,' which is an m, while the first-reader class read about the 'Shearing of the Sheep.'
'Oh, I know a sheep, teacher,' exclaims Joseph. 'We got one by our house.'
'Are you sure you have a sheep, Joseph?'
'No, teacher, he got no sheep. He got a dog. I seed it, teacher.'
Jassamine's reading of the 'Ba, ba, Black Sheep' is a sort of free translation into understandable language: —
'One for de fainter,
Teacher can use the rest of the twenty minutes' reading period implanting in the minds of the A Class an idea of a 'master,' a 'dame,' and a 'lane.' But after starting this same class in the first lesson of the book, beginning, —
Ply the spade and ply the hoe,
teacher's enthusiasm must be invincible. One child had indeed indicated a dim, associated notion of a hoe. 'It's what you sprinkles water wid, teacher.' Teacher did not write the book, or adopt it as the standard reader for the schools; teacher's business is to teach it.
As the C Class do not use the book, their reading lesson, of teacher's devising, is more flexible. 'Stand,' teacher says, and shows the word printed on a card. At the first lesson no one moves, and teacher lifts a child to his feet. Then a few have learned and show the other children by actions. 'Sit,' 'Run,' 'Jump.' So they work at the English vocabulary until recess.
The substitute in Room 14, — Beginning First, — an experienced highergrade teacher, is trying to get her flock into ranks in the hall. The green Miss Shannon goes to her assistance.
'They can't understand you,' the
substitute teacher explains, in comic dismay. 'You have to lift them out of their seats and carry them into the coat-room. Then someone's hat is lost. "Boo-hoo-hoo. I wants my mudder." Where is his hat? Oh, where? "Why here's his hat," some little smart thing says. Put it on. Then —Well, I'm not coming back here to-morrow.'
The stout, dark teacher, farther up the hall, has come to say a friendly word to the substitute.
'You should hear our superintendent speak out in meeting,' she rejoins, and imitates him pompously. '" All children are alike susceptible. If our children are not as proficient as in other districts, it is the fault of the teacher."'
'I would n't want better entertainment,' the substitute comments, 'than to watch some of these superintendents teach school a while. I should start them in your district.'
They laugh, and being merry, the stout, dark teacher goes on to tell them what her loyal Phena has just now imparted to her. 'I hearn a kid say youze fat,' tells Phena. 'Youze is n't fat.'
Their laughter is cut short by the recess bell, and the substitute signals her despair to the green Miss Shannon, on hall duty, as the lines of wriggling, bobbing, evasive bambinos advance upon Room 14. Irrepressible are the bambinos. Twice must teacher speak to Theresa for whispering while teacher is telling the story of'The Three Bears.' Carmilla tells the story after teacher, while Theresa whispers.
'Do you want me to pin this on you?' teacher reminds Theresa, and shows the big red-paper tongue. Theresa for a little while then does not whisper to Carmilla and Jassamine and Angelo and Peter. But soon again, —
'Come here, Theresa,' says teacher. With reluctant steps Theresa complies. There she stands in the corner, with the red tongue pinned on. Yes, before now
has the red tongue been wet with tears.
They dramatize the Three Bears. Marian is Golden Locks, Peter is the big 'fah-der' bear, Becky is the middlesized 'mudder' bear, Dominic is the 'littlest' baby bear. They draw the Three Bears. There is writing, spelling, dismissal of the B and C classes, calisthenics, games, sight-reading from the dilapidated sets of books furnished by the Board, — books, pages, parts missing, — doubling up in seats, skipping pupils who draw blanks. — Noon.
Teacher sees the lines out, locks the door, and races for the penny-lunch room. The teachers volunteer to help serve the swarms of children, as at this hour the employees paid by the Board are swamped. Carmilla comes for the bowl of soup, the glass of milk, the sandwich — The pennies to pay for them? That is the green Miss Shannon's secret. When Carmilla first came to Room 16, she was thinner than now, and whiter. The green Miss Shannon watched, wondered; then one morning Carmilla fainted. Teacher sent quickly for the school doctor. Carmilla was under-nourished, the school doctor said. Teacher brought a bowl of soup from the penny-lunch room. Yes, soup was all the medicine Carmilla needed. The school nurse went to where Carmilla lived — the father dead, the mother all day away at the laundry; in the evening the nurse went and showed Carmilla's mother how better to prepare the scanty fare. But for the green Miss Shannon and the penny lunch and the flower-bed in the square, little Carmilla —
It was a breathless, spinning noon hour for the green Miss Shannon, stopped short by the gong, watching the lines of children flowing up the stairs and halls and into Room 16 again, closing the door. 'What have you there in your desk, Tony?' — 'Nudding.' — 'Yes, teacher, he have. He swipe some