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Care and Culture of Man

If I were organizing a council for teachers, I should stress health first.

Give your physical and mental body a little consideration on the subject of health. In thirty-seven years, I have lost two days because of ill health. Of course, I realize that my inheritance is largely responsible, but my health is also due to right habits. If you care for your health, you will have a wholesome influence over your pupils.

Take care of yourselves physically. If you can't maintain a high degree of health, then give up your teaching. More of us are ill mentally than physically. We can't teach boys and girls if we're not well mentally.

All teachers must be readers. At least one great book should be read every week. First of all, have a book of wit and humor for recreation. It may be Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn. If you're not acquainted with Mark Twain, I'm sorry for you. Or your book may be Josh Billings, or Artemus Ward, or Stephen Leacock, or George Ade. Please don't forget that your first requirement is that you have such a book about you.

Second is your book for inspiration. The Making of an American by Jacob Riis, which has the advantage of combining a love story and an autobiography, The Story of My Life by Booker T. Washington, The Story of My Life by Helen Keller, Emerson Essays or some one of the nature study books, combining recreation with inspiration, are all good for this group.

Third comes your book for scholarship. Scholarship is more important than any number of degrees. Take one subject rather than many, smoothing that will give you a thorough.

Fourth comes your book on pedagogy. It may be a James' Talk to Teachers or any similar study.

On the periodical side, read three kinds. Scribner's Harper's or the Atlantic Monthly are among the best from the standpoint of culture. Don't become a newspaper or magazine reader per se. If you do, your mind will be barren and you'll never read anything else.

For your second group of magazines, have a hobby, such as a scientific magazine, an art magazine or a music magazine.

Third is the magazine that has to do with your particular work as teachers, some educational publications.

The largest field of culture for you, however, no matter what your profession, is your contact with other human beings. If you get a chance to hear Galli Curci, hear her;

If you get a chance to see a great play or lecture, don't miss it.

The heart is open sesame to all culture. How do you know what lecture or play or experience is going to influence the rest of your life?


Source: Newton, Roy, editor. Life and Works of Woodbridge N. Ferris. (Big Rapids, Michigan: n.p., 1960), 175-177.


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