My Great Great Grandfather was teacher he wrote this about his training (I suspect that some of the sentiments don’t change):
My first examination for admission was at the Central School Brighton. The inspector was one of those clever minded men Brookfield, who like Matthew Arnold and others were brilliant writers poets etc, but knew nothing about education and practical teaching. They were always under the sway of some new fad and continually ran in grooves: so much so that that the national teachers checkmated them by letting each other know what new ‘kick’ was in the ascendant.
I well remember the nervousness and trepidation with which I went out on the floor of the Schoolroom to form one of the circle of candidates to read and repeat my poetry. I was staggered by the remark “You call that recitation do you?” What is impressed most on my memory was the bullying of one of the girls! Cruel! Disgraceful! She fainted away!….poor wench! I was a big strong lad of my years and I felt I should so liked to have leathered the Revered Blackguard.
“Fetch a chair” he shouted out ” Take hold of it now go on!”
Brookfield the bully was succeeded by Koe, a short bowlegged little divine, who amongst teachers was nicknamed the ‘butcher’. Many years I was examined as P.T., assistant T. and C.M. and got to like him fully well. Once when appointed at Falmer Koe and the Rector Mr Barlour visited the School at 2 o Clock for an inspection. A few minutes after they began, certainly not more than five, the hounds and hunters came fully through the village and swept past the pond on the way to the Downs. Inspector and Rector bolted and we never saw them again! When the inauspicious dreaded report came “The School had done well except for the Pupil Teacher who got a very bad report for Teaching” As the revered gentleman had only been in the School one or two minutes, had not even spoken to me much more heard my class lesson. I resented this wicked injustice, and set of to see his lordship and have the matter investigated at the headquarters. Poor old John Turl however saw my father and prevailed on him to assuage me. As Turl would be the martyr if Koe was reported.
Inspections in the old days were mearly the tools of the education department. Money was the first and last consideration. In the good schools the inspectors came with the determination to reduce the grant to a minimum. In the Seventies (that’s 1870) after we had done particularly well in the morning, I heard the head inspector ask the assistant
“How are they doing?”
“Oh they have earned a maximum”
The inspector then went on with the reading of the second standard. The boy read well but failed to give a quick reply to what is the meaning of ‘tinting’. A word which appeared in his passage. “Next! Next! Next! and nine were rapidly failed. The poor teacher, with a young family whose salary depended partly on the grant, felt the sad injustice and the difficulty of putting his heart and soul into his work, no matter how expert he may be, or how he loved his profession, it was all the same.
I heard Koe once tell my Secretary Captain Clements, that on the previous Sunday he had come to grief. The Revered gentleman had a large family and supplemented an overpaid salary by taking services in Country Churches. He had taken the evening service and come down from the pulpit into the vestry. When the Rector angrily spiculated “You have done it now Koe!”
“What do you mean?”
“You have preached the same sermon as I did this morning!”
I believe in was at Whitsuntide and some celebrated divine had published sometime before, sermons for special occasion. It speaks volumes for their quality as both preachers had selected the same one for that holy season.