From the archive - 12.07.1947

24th August 2012 at 01:00

The form master: duties and rewards

The problem of excessive specialisation among secondary school boys and girls has for some time been widely discussed by educationalists. It is becoming apparent that a similar problem manifests itself in the younger generation of teachers.

Now that increasing responsibility for the whole cultural, moral and religious training of youth falls upon schools, the need for taking a wide view of their duties and opportunities should be put before aspirants to the teaching profession.

It would be a serious loss to English education if, through any narrowing of vision or any lack of confidence, the supply were to dwindle of a type which has hitherto been a backbone of the schools - the teachers who are "form masters", taking their pupils in several subjects and able, in some real sense, to regard their forms as their own personal responsibility. This work involves the readiness and ability to teach, say, the main English subjects as well as science, or at least one modern language as well as history.

A young teacher should nearly always "jump at the chance" if his headmaster offers him a form of his own. It will open his eyes to wider possibilities and fulfilments than he may have thought of before he joined the profession.

If there is a play or an entertainment to be put on, he will come to be the one they ask to produce it, and he will be asked to lead an expedition of the natural history society on a whole holiday.

Happy is the school when the English literature prize is won by a member of the science side; and happy is it, also, when the members of staff move from the classroom to the nets, from the workshop to the chapel, and from the particular studies of their individual predilection to the general conference where it is all pooled with an underlying sense of a common culture and a common purpose.

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