|Samuel Boyd, Co Tyrone, to "Dear Sir"
|Irish Emigration Database
|Co. Tyrone, N.Ireland
|Castledamph, Co. Tyrone, N.Ireland
|Smyth, John J
|Copyright Retained by Mr & Mrs J Smyth, Castledamph, Plumbridge, Co Tyrone, email@example.com
|Mr & Mrs J Smyth, Castledamph, Plumbridge.
|Document added by LT, 13:05:03
I don t expect that many teachers will oblige by
giving the information you have asked for in this weeks
"Constitution" I will try, as far as my limited capacity will allow, to throw a little light on the matters touched on in your letter.
First let me say that I have been secretary of
Tyrone Central Teachers Association for four years and sec
[secretary?]Of Tyrone County (embracing seven local Assocns [Associations?])for one year and that I know intimately over two hundred teachers in the County.
Regarding the teaching of citizenship - the subject is
on our programme as an alternative to history in the senior
groups but I have never met a teacher who attempted the teaching of the
subject. The Nationalist teachers are not as a body loyal. The
Protestant teachers are. Many Nationalist teachers "spout"
loyalty,as some did on the occasion your letter refers to, but lip
loyalty is not the kind Samuel Butler rhymes about in "Hudebras".
Mr Maguire is a curious specimen but has the courage
of his convictions which can not be said of many of his
[confrens?]. His action when the late king Edward died
prevented a resolution of sympathy being passed at a special meeting
of Tyrone Central Teachers Association There were three or
four protestant teachers present - all others were R.C.
The Managerial question is the one black spot
on the escutcheon of Irish education. To attempt to have the
clerical managers removed would be the knell of the
Irish Teachers Organization. Many years ago (so I think)
before I began teaching no R.C. teacher was allowed to
join that body to become a member meant instant dismissal.
When complaints had been made to the Commissioners of Education
that many teachers were dismissed for trivial offences, that
body proposed that the agreement between the manager & the teacher
should contain what may be called a referee clause. The
Hierarchy met, and agreed that, in future all dismissals
were to be countersigned by the bishops of the diocese in which
the manager lived - all other agreements were forbidden by them.
As a result the protestant teachers who refused to accept a
clerical court of appeal were obliged to agitate outside of the
teachers organization. The protestant teachers union was then
formed, and since then this body has now what is practically
security of tenure for all teachers during good conduct
and efficient service. Mr Ramsay is now president of this
body and it is from his contact with the members of its
committee rather than from any other source - that he holds
the views he has regarding education in general.
I think you drop rather hard on the efficiency of the
Irish teacher. It is an admitted fact that the British Isles
do not produce better teachers than the Irish - but how on
earth can they be expected to produce good results. Where
the percentage of attendance to no [number?] on rolls is in the
neighbourhood of 65% and this with reading writing
arith. [arithmetic?] gram. [grammar?] Geog. [geography?]
hist. [history?] draw. [drawing?] music draw. [drawing?]
(freehand inst & obj) drill. obj lessons or science,
cookery. Kindergarten & needlework all compulsory. We
have asked the commissioners again & again to to (sic)
modify their programme so as to enable us to specialize
in the subjects which are the more important. but in this age of
specialists the Commissioners seem determined on making the
mind of the Irish child a kind of omnibus rebus.
I have taught across the channel and I know that as good
work is done here in much worse circumstances as is done
over there. In Ontario things may be different but I
have letters from teachers who have gone west which go to
prove that the Irishman as a teacher is as good as the
With regard to the salaries of Irish teachers I think you
are scarcely just - The Irish teacher does the same work as his
English and Scottish brethren but his salary is one third
less. Why. It is not the fault of the Irish teacher if
successive governments of this empire of ours are too
weak kneed to tackle the problem of Irish education, We
blame these governments for every blunder and every inefficient
part in our whole educational system. Male farmers though.
I must admit that the Irish people as a whole have not
shown any desire to have control of their own education
the priests & bishops sternly repress any attempts in that
direction. Quebec is a good example of what they can do.
Just another point, not connected with teaching. An
Irish farmer who has not a gross income of £170 a
year is a pretty poor specimen of a farmer.
I know men around here who during the past two
years, have cleared over £120 annually in cash besides
keeping their families. purchasing new implements etc. I know no
farmers round here who can not lay money past every
year- I know no teachers who can.
I trust you will be able to read this. I have
written hurriedly and have not had time to revise
If you want information on any point mentioned
I shall be pleased to give any information I can on
the subject. Trusting I have not wearied you
Yours very sincerly
to J Smith Esq
Transcribed by Jim Buchanan