|The teacher who adopts the rule of saying with a smile, “Thank you,” will be more cheerfully obeyed, and we all know that we comply more cheerfully when asked “Will you kindly do so and so?” than when we are commanded “to do so and so.”|
In all of the ultra-fashioned schools girls particularly are taken through a regular course of etiquette, to fit them for the social world, and why not the children less fortunate who have no advantages of home training. A woman of refinement teaching a public school must often feel revolted at the manners of the little people who are so easily corrected when approached in the proper spirit, and it would seem less unpleasant to reform these tender sprigs than to train the hardened shoots of later years. A teacher who meets the children confided to her with a pleasant “Good morning” fosters a habit that a child will never outgrow. The teacher who adopts the rule of saying with a smile, “Thank you,” will be more cheerfully obeyed, and we all know that we comply more cheerfully when asked “Will you kindly do so and so?” than when we are commanded “to do so and so.” No one is ever the loser through extending courtesy, and we all know how much pleasure these trifles add to life. The politeness clauses should embrace a series of “talks,” or as the Italians say “conversaziones,” in which various topics should be discussed.
An amiable teacher with a well developed vein of humor would find such classes a pleasant relaxation, but she should cultivate the tact that steers clear of both ridicule and sarcasm. A sensitive child, who felt its lack of polish, would be deeply hurt by ridicule in the presence of a whole school, but this self same sensitive young one would be the quickest to profit by such lessons. In this splendid country of ours, where fortunes are made in a day and the sons of laborers have an equal chance, through brains and, ability, of rising to the very highest positions in the gift of the people, where the daughters, through beauty of person or that indefinable charm of grace, may wed millionaires, the necessity of this species of training is obvious. Many of these children know nothing of the graceful amenities of life, which they are so anxious to learn. They are ambitious and self-reliant, as all American children are, and yet are hampered by the total ignorance of the merest rudiments of social ethics. In Washington, those having the interests of the rising generation at heart, cannot fail to appreciate the value of a course of “polite lessons” in the schools. – San Francisco Call, 1903