“How To Go To School: Monosyllables for the Wee Ones,” by H. E. B. (from The Little Corporal, December 1866; p. 85)
James Bourne has nev-er been to school till this fall. Of course, as it is a new thing to him, he must learn how to do it, just as he has to learn how to do oth-er things. So we will tell him how to go to school, and how to act in school, and when he knows how, we shall ex[-]pect him to be one of the best boys there.
He must go clean and neat. His face and hands must be washed, his hair brushed, his clothes whole and clean, his shoes black, and his hat whole and in shape.
He must go in good time. He must not stay out to play so long, that to fix up and get to school will make him late. He must not wait for mam-ma to call him, for she may be ver-y bus-y, and may for-get it, but he must think of it him-self, and be on hand, and be sure to start from home in time to get there be[-]fore the door is shut.
He must go with a smile on his face. It is a sad thing to see a boy go to school with a frown and a pout on his face, as though school was an ug-ly pris-on, where he must be shut up, like a bad boy. Ah! the frowns and pouts made mam-ma feel sor-ry, when he leaves her, and they make the teach-er feel sor-ry, when he gets to school.
Now, how must he act in school?
He must sit quite still. The boy that moves, and moves, and moves in his seat all the time, troub-les the teach-er a great deal. She likes best the qui-et lit-tle chap that sits so still, and nev-er speaks but when she speaks to him. So you must not keep on the move, nor talk to the boys near you, and take care not to drop your slate, or book, or lunch box, to make a noise.
He must not eat. No, the bread, and pie, and cake, and grapes, in his box, are for him to eat at re-cess, and he must not o-pen the box, to look at or to touch the nice things there, till the bell rings, and all have leave to run, and play, and eat.
He must try to learn. What the teach-er tells him he must keep in mind. He must nev-er say I can’t, but al-ways I will try. If a les-son is hard, nev-er mind, but stu-dy hard, and you will be sure to have it.
He must speak the truth. Yes, and act the truth, too. He must not try to hide his fault when he has done wrong, but own it up in a man-ly, no-ble way. He must nev-er say no, when he ought to say yes, or yes when he ought to say no. He must not cop-y a sum from the next boy’s slate, and act as if he had done it him-self. He must not look on his book sli-ly to read off the les-son, nor let an-y one whis-per to him the right word in the class. When he does not know, he must say so, right out straight.
Now I am sure, if James minds all these things, he will be a good boy, and his teach-er will love him; and he will love to go to school, too, which is more than some boys do that I know.
Now you may think that these rules are just fit for poor boys, that have no kind mam-ma to take care of them, and that boys that can take this pa-per, and read it, do not need such a ser-mon. But I know some boys who take The Li-tle Corporal, and who can pay the mo-ney to get it for some or-phan child be-side, who need just what I have said. And I do hope it will do them good.