Saturday, August 21

Missionary John Paton on Classroom Discipline

I borrow the following from Ray Van Neste's blog (Oversight of Souls) this past week. It only seems fitting for me to quote this article since we here at Perry Baptist have a goodly number of members involved in education. They would, no doubt, view Paton's methodology with admiration mixed with horror! But not his heart, for that is royal. Oh, that we took God more seriously ourselves!
In honor of our new semester beginning next week, I thought I would post a story from the autobiography of John G. Paton, which was passed on to me by Patrick Brown. This famous, godly missionary knew how to manage a classroom.

“The following week, a young man and a young woman began to attend the Night School, who showed from the first moment that they were bent on mischief.  By talking aloud, joking, telling stories, and laughing, they stopped the work of the School.  On my repeated appeals for quiet and order, they became the more boisterous, and gave great merriment to a few of the scholars present.  I finally urged the young man, a tall, powerful fellow, to be quiet or at once to leave, declaring that at all hazards I must and would have perfect order; but he only mocked at me, and assumed a fighting attitude.  Quietly locking the door and putting the key in my pocket, I turned to my desk, armed myself with the cane, and dared any one at his peril to interfere betwixt us.  It was a rough struggle – he smashing at me clumsily with his fists, I with quick movements evading and dealing him blow after blow with the heavy cane for several rounds – till at length he crouched down at his desk, exhausted and beaten, and I ordered him to turn to his book, which he did in sulky silence.  Going to my desk, I addressed them, and asked them to inform all who wished to come to the School, That if they came for education, everything would be heartily done that it was in my power to do; but that any who wished for mischief had better stay away, as I was determined to conquer, not to be conquered, and to secure order and silence, whatever it might cost.  Further, I assured them that that cane would not again be lifted by me, if kindness and forbearance on my part could possibly gain the day, as I wished to rule by love and not by terror.  But this young man knew he was in the wrong, and it was that which had made him weak against me, though every way stronger far than I.  Yet I would be his friend and helper, if he was willing to be friendly with me, the same as if this night had never been.  At these words a dead silence fell on the School; every one buried face diligently in book; and the evening closed in uncommon quiet and order.” (46-48, in edition linked above)

Heb 13:7:  “Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God. Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith”

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