I have thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and am now writing the letters written by her father! I might be a while...
Progress can be a slow, but rewarding process sometimes.
Here is an interesting excerpt!
For anyone complaining about the state of education today, take note! I looked up her comment on Germany and she is correct. They were paving the way for educational reform at the time. Learn something new every day...
"I think he was a good teacher, but for two defects. He had favourites and easily lost his temper with the dull schoolers of whom I was one. He used to shout & storm at us & often threw books at us or banged us on the head with them!
Discipline at the R.A. was I am afraid at a low ebb in those days. The noise form the different classes was often so great that Mr Bacon used to have to bang his cane on his desk to enforce silence, or he would come round to each class & thrash some of the most unruly boys, till something like order was obtained, but not for long however! Still it was better than that in the Infant school where order seemed to be utterly unknown.
Poor Mrs. Bacon couldn’t attend to her family & home & school at the same time, so the latter had to be neglected. In the afternoons when the girls in the Master’s School went for sewing, the teachers sat & gossiped or quarreled. Mine, Mary Ann Hume had a temper quite as virulent and overbearing as that of her beloved.
If the infants got too noisy and unmanageable she would get up from her chair at the sewing table (where she was not needed) rush between the desks in a passion caning & cuffing every child indiscriminately whether good or bad till she had reduced them to whimpering silence. There was no attempt to teach the unfortunate infants.
They were simply huddled to forms where they had to write (if they felt inclined) pot hooks & hangers on greasy little slates all the afternoon: utterly neglected. Some poor little mites fell asleep from sheer weariness, resting their little heads on the hard desks till they fell off the form with a bump followed by roars & tears. This frequently happened during the afternoon, yet none of the teachers present thought it their duty to look after the poor little things!
The dreary ill ventilated school room with its dirty yellow walls with a few dingy pictures too dirty & high up to tell what they were about, dirty windows & often filthy bare floor would be a strange sight to the modern kindergarten teacher!
All honour to Germany for leading the way and showing the world what infant teaching might to be like! And all Dishonour to careless money-grabbing, child-despising England – the richest country in the world in money, but nearly the poorest in educational facilities!"