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know. There is one man I call him Frank Johnson in my mind-who always looks so worried and unhappy. Do you know why? I have it all figured out — just about. Some day I may get the details straight from him. I know that he has either a sick wife or ten children. Not both, however. I am not certain whether it is the sick wife that worries him, or whether he is in constant fear of another offspring. This morning we were both hanging on to the same strap, and if I had known then that I was going to write to you to-night I might have said to him rather casually, 'Oh, by the way, Mr. Johnson, how is your wife?' Now if he had said that there was nothing the matter with his wife I would have known that it was not the sick wife that worried him, but the other. Maybe to-morrow morning- but to-morrow morning it may be that Alice will be punching me in the ribs. I know that her name is Alice, or her sister's name is, because one morning she had a slicker on and across the back was written the name. The only trouble being that the slicker was much too big for her, so maybe it belonged to her sister, certainly not her brother. I wish that I could tell you about Alice. She always fills me with the joy of living. Her get-up and breezy waysmere words fail me. I'm very fond of her and I am keeping an eagle eye on her, too. Some day she is going to have a worried look and I am going to help her if I can. That's where I can use my college education. I can't help her now she is one of the kind that will have to find out things for herself. She is sure to find out, too. Well, when she needs help, she is certainly going to get it from an unexpected source.

I must go on - you will tire of this.

Most people would say that my life at the office was very humdrum, the same thing every day, but I could write an entire book showing how vastly different each day is and how sweet and interesting. At five o'clock I start for home. I always walk five to ten blocks of the way each night. I love it when it is bright and sunshiny and I adore the rainy days and the cold, peppy days. On the bright days it's pleasant to stroll along and look in the shop windows and breathe deep. On cold days I like to rush along and say 'Hello' to all the newsboys and 'Pardon me' to all the people that I bump. When I get home and have bathed, I count my money, to see if I will have a big dinner, or a small dinner and a show, or just a milk shake and a pleasant evening at home. Saturday is pay day, so the end of the week runs to milk shakes and pleasant evenings at home. The fact is, this is Friday night.

Well, after saying all this it does not seem to me that I have really said or explained why I am so happy. Almost every day I get a chance to give someone a lift, someone who is really out of

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2. The ability to appreciate and enjoy little things.

3. A deep feeling of gratitude for what one has. 4. To honestly like people.

5. Work, sleep, food, a sense of humor, to thoroughly enjoy whatever you are doing now. Sometimes you have to make up your mind to enjoy yourself, but you can make it such a habit that soon, down deep, you begin to feel the joy of living in everything that may happen, little things and big things. Then, with a sense of humor, you can get to liking unpleasant things, so that even when the dentist is pulling your tooth you feel quite thrilled and say, 'My dear, this is life.'

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There is a human appeal in the 'noncommercial advertisement' appearing in the Atlantic's September Contributors' Column. I am constrained to wonder: where has R. H. Wheldon been all my life? 'Someone who dislikes automobiles, newspapers, radios, commercialism.' Those four major commodities are discordant notes in the scale of my well-being.

Radios? 'Who wants a worm, let him have it' - so last Christmas Santa Claus parked a radio in the bosom of a hitherto perfectly peaceful family (and the family says it's a good radio, capable of carrying on simultaneously with three distant stations some of the time, all of the time broadcasting the mediocre music of our own Main Street), and the worm has turned! My room on the third floor is nearing completion.

Newspapers? 'From plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death, Good Lord deliver us.'

Commercialism? At present suffering an acute attack, whose cloak is Flood Control by Reservoirs, which Congress may pay for, by whose power private interests may profit.

Automobiles? For years past ours has been a cabin cruiser whose dustless highways are a thousand miles of the beautiful Ohio River; a thousand miles more of the tawny untamed Mississippi, with their combined network of navigable tributaries. There one learns to love not the works of 'Mozart, Spengler, and Hardy' the less, but the Infinity of Music, Philosophy,

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The article on 'Chaos or Cosmos in American Education' in the October Atlantic interested me deeply. As a teacher in a public high school, I see one phase of public education and my experience leads me to agree with much that Dr. Holmes says. I should like, however, to comment on his dictum that American teachers seem not to have an ambition to develop thoroughness in their pupils.

I concede that the results we obtain do in some respects lack the thoroughness we would like them to have; but consider the conditions under which we try to teach. Compulsory education and general prosperity have enormously increased our high-school population. This increase includes young people of many different nationalities, from sharply contrasting home conditions and with divergent personal ambitions; or perhaps with no personal ambition yet existent. These young people vary as to intellect from the very bright to the very slow. In high school they are registered in any course they happen to select, with no method on the part of the school to ascertain whether the pupils' abilities are suited to the courses chosen. Naturally many misfits occur, and failure and discouragement are inevitable.

During the period of this great increase in pupils came the World War, which, for several years, put an end to the erection of school buildings. Principals had to accommodate in any given school perhaps two or more times the number for which the school was planned. Some arrangement such as our Chicago shift system was adopted. The building was in use from 8 A.M. until 5 P.M., and two or more teachers used the same room and the same desk. At least one third of the day a teacher was out of her room, and so could not use her desk or the various materials in her bookcase. Often she had no place and no time to meet pupils who needed help. Studying was done by hundreds of pupils in large assembly halls, not always well lighted or well ventilated, and often with no desks for writing. In some Chicago high schools these conditions have been improved, but in others they still prevail.

With the large increase in school population came the big class, forty to fifty pupils. Some principals strive to keep the size of classes down

near the official average of thirty-five pupils per teacher; others are evidently indifferent as to size of classes, and a teacher may have even six classes of over forty pupils each. Thus the teacher's load varies from 175 to 240 pupils.

Think of the effect of these large classes on a teacher's standards. She starts in with high hopes of what she can accomplish with her pupils, and meets a class in a forty-five-minute recitation period. Ten or fifteen minutes at the least must be given to taking the daily attendance, calling for and signing admits for returned absentees or for a tardy pupil. Perhaps thirtyfive minutes are left in which to find out which pupils have and which ones have not done some creditable preparation; thirty-five minutes in which to have pupils demonstrate geometry propositions, practise speaking a foreign language, or make a report on some special topic. Not more than six or eight pupils can be called upon for such exercises in a period and the pupils soon learn that they are likely to be called upon only twice or three times a week. A good many of them soon question; 'Why study every day?'

The situation is further complicated by the fact that teachers are urged to give few failure averages at the close of a term. In some cases a teacher's efficiency rank is determined largely by the percentage of pupils she passes. Some principals are courageous enough to stand for quality rather than quantity, but the schools of a great city are a unit to a certain extent, and all suffer when high executives set as the goal, not the mastery of subject matter, but the securing of a passing grade. Again, the effect naturally is to make the teacher feel that she is unwise to try to maintain a standard demanding thoroughness.

Since the size of the classes prohibits hearing pupils often in oral recitation, many teachers assign a good deal of written work. The perusal of the greater part of this must be done outside of school hours, as teachers have few, if any, free periods during school hours. A high-school English teacher reports that it would necessitate over thirty hours outside of school if she were to read with helpful comment and correction one short theme for each student once a week. Such revision is necessary for thorough composition work by the pupils, but the teacher who spent such an amount of outside time on essay correction would so suffer from eyestrain and nervous fatigue that she would have no enthusiasm for the classroom.

A questionnaire answered last year by many local high-school teachers showed that a majority of them feel that they cannot maintain their standards in the big class in the big school, especially in subjects which are intended to develop diversity or originality, or to perfect individual

performance in a difficult activity. The teachers reported that the method used was largely mass instruction. Mass instruction leads to thoroughness only in subjects in which relatively simple activities are repeated time and again.

The coming of the big school has changed the emphasis in the school from education to administration. The big school, from the teachers' point of view, has 'factory-ized' education; it has created lock-step methods, and made uniformity an ideal.

Sincerely yours,

MARION C. LYONS, Ex-President Local No. 3, American Federation of Teachers

Pestiferous pets.



In this age improved by numberless organizations for the investigation and uplift of everything from the house fly to 'Our Literary Slums,' I beg to plead for the formation of yet another. It should be known as 'The Society for the Prevention of Petty Persecutions Perpetrated against Paid Persons by Pestiferous Pets.'

This society would investigate and report on cases of wealthy old women who, soured against their own kind, lavish all their devotion and affection upon the more effeminate variations of the animal kingdom. For some reason cats seem the animal most often idolized. Now, a properly trained cat is a clean, self-respecting individual, yet no animal more quickly becomes a fussy, cantankerous, silly brute when its every whim is regarded of religious significance.

I know of one instance where a woman's niece is expected to rise from her bed between twelve and two each morning and escort the cat downstairs to the front door. The fact that Sir William chooses this rather peculiar hour for commencing his night rambles is regarded as a sign of his aristocratic tendencies.

There are penurious old maids who, while half starving themselves and such persons as are unfortunate enough to be their companions, will feed some sleepy little dog upon the fat of the land.

Too often have I been present when that scene so well told by Mrs. Gaskell has been reënacted. Remember that the Cranford ladies were taking tea with the very Honorable Mrs. Jamieson. Carlo, the small dog, received his tea first, the entire cream pitcher being emptied into his saucer. The Cranford ladies waited for their tea to be diluted with milk, and were then asked to admire Carlo's intelligence and good sense in

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When your first number appeared, I had just emerged from the starvation period which then seemed to be an essential part of a young lawyer's career and had just started to enjoy the comfort of boarding in a private family here. A few days after arrival, I sat down in the parlor and picked up a copy of your first issue, then utterly unknown here, and chanced to open at the article by Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes of blessed memory.

As I read I commenced to laugh, and the more I read the more I laughed, and had such a violent time that the 'landlady's daughter' finally rushed in, fearing that I had gone off into a fit. I begged her to read also and soon there were two young people loudly laughing in chorus till we finished the article. I loved Dr. Holmes from that day.

When the lecture habit prevailed in old times the good Doctor came here and delighted us with one of his most remarkable productions. It was in the summertime and the great hall was crowded. But no Dr. Holmes was in sight, his train having been delayed. The waiting committee finally gave it up as hopeless when the famous man suddenly dashed into the hall alone, in his traveling duster, satchel in hand, and rushed down the centre aisle to the vacant platform, threw his duster upon the floor, apologized, and then quickly had his admiring audience in

an uproar.

I am the oldest lawyer in Ohio and still active as a counselor, and so forth -no more trials. Ninety-seven and one-half years old.

Yours respectfully,


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