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J.S. Gordon, Esq.|
Municipal Inspector of Schools,
Dear Sir, -
After an absence of three and a half years I am glad to resume my work again and would take this opportunity of thanking the Board of Trustees for its consideration while I was overseas.
It is sometimes felt that so long an absence from civilian work has an atrophying effect when one attempts a "come back" and maybe it is so. On the other hand one comes back with a fresher eye and a wider experience, and so there may be gain instead of loss.
It will not be inconsistent with these premises, therefore, if I say that these last six months have given me much food for thought.
In my annual report for the year 1915, I had occasion to point out how impossible it was for me to overtake my work in a very proper manner while I had no help. Today the situation is very much worse because since 1915 over one hundred teachers have been added to the staff, so increasing my work.
My first duty on coming back was to visit these teachers in order to ascertain how they were interpreting the Drawing Syllabus; my second duty was to get them together and give them a two months' course in the subject. I am pleased to report that close on eighty teachers attended these voluntary classes, which took place in the late afternoon after school hours.
In the teaching of our model drawing we have for long been handicapped by a lack of proper stands for the models and also a lack of variety in the models themselves. I am glad to report that the Board has seen their way to grant the former, and the latter I am sanguine enough to anticipate in the near future.
The Board has also agreed to the printing of an illustrated scheme of Design work which I have worked out, and from the distribution of which among the teachers I anticipate good results.
In regard to the work in the high schools I must take this opportunity and again point out the necessity for a specially qualified teacher undertaking the drawing in the Britannia and Kitsilano High Schools. The work of these two schools suffer from this lack when compared with King Edward and King George High Schools, and until a specially qualified person is teaching this subject in these two schools we cannot look for work of high school quality. I cannot too strongly urge the Board to act in this matter.
I must now go back and express my views regarding the difficulty I have in overtaking my work at present and under existing circumstances. My work is largely advisory and inspectional, since to advise one must inspect, and there are close on three hundred teachers with whose work I now have to deal. This means a visit of only once every three or four months to each teacher, and such a visit must of necessity be very short.
Such a condition, I believe, is alike unsatisfactory to teacher and supervisor, and so I have in mind a plan which I would here briefly outline.
Let one teacher from each school be asked to come forward and qualify specially in Drawing, such qualifications I undertake to give them at a course lasting one year - attendance at this course to be after school hours. Make such a teacher responsible for the teaching of Drawing in her school from Intermediate A up to Entrance, and remunerate her suitably for her added scholarship; while the teacher specially qualified in Drawing is taking other than her own class the teacher of that other class would switch.
I am convinced such a solution of the present difficulty would conduce to better results and at a low financial cost for it would practically mean a specialist in Drawing in each school without any increase of the staff. I have considered other ways of coping with the situation, but the one I have briefly outlined is, I feel sure, the best for it contains this important quality: that a teacher interested and qualified in Drawing and Design is actually teaching the subject. Other solutions do not yield that valuable point.