I had heard a great deal about Miss
Beam's school, but not till last week did
the chance come to visit it.
2. When I arrived there was no one in
sight but a girl of about twelve. Her eyes
were covered with a bandage and she
was being led carefully between the
flower-beds by a little boy, who was
about four years younger. She stopped,
and it looked like she asked him who
had come. He seemed to be describing
me to her. Then they passed on.
3. Miss Beam was all that I had
expected - middle-aged, full of authority,
yet kindly and understanding. Her hair
was beginning to turn grey, and she had
the kind of plump figure that is likely
to be comforting to a homesick child. I
asked her some questions about her
teaching methods, which I had heard
4. “No more than is needed to help them
to learn how to do things - simple
spelling, adding, subtracting, multiplying
and writing. The rest is done by reading
to them and by interesting talks, during
which they have to sit still and keep
their hands quiet. There are practically
no other lessons. "
5. "The real aim of this school is not so
much to teach thought as to teach
thoughtfulness - kindness to others,
and being responsible citizens. Look out
of the window a minute, will you? "
6. I went to the window which
overlooked a large garden and a
playground at the back. "What do you
see? " Miss Beam asked.
7. "I see some very beautiful grounds, "
I said, "and a lot of jolly children. It
pains me, though, to see that they are
not all so healthy and active-looking.
When I came in, I saw one poor little
girl being led about. She has some
trouble with her eyes. Now I can see
two more with the same difficulty. And
there's a girl with a crutch watching
the others at play. She seems to be a
hopeless cripple. "
8. Miss Beam laughed. "Oh, no! " she
said. "She's not really lame. This is only
her lame day. The others are not blind
either. It is only their blind day. "
I must have looked very surprised,
for she laughed again.
9. "This is a very important part of our
system. To make our children appreciate
and understand misfortune, we make
them share in misfortune too. Each term
every child has one blind day, one lame
day, one deaf day, one injured day and
one dumb day. During the blind day their
eyes are bandaged absolutely and they
are on their honour not to peep. The
bandage is put on overnight so they wake
blind. This means that they need help
with everything. Other children are given
the duty of helping them and leading
them about. They all learn so much this
way - both the blind and the helpers.
10. "There is no misery about it, " Miss
Beam continued. "Everyone is very kind,
and it is really something of a game.
Before the day is over, though, even the
most thoughtless child realises what
11. "The blind day is, of course, really
the worst, but some of the children tell
me that the dumb day is the most
difficult. We cannot bandage the
children's mouths, so they really have
to exercise their will-power. Come into
the garden and see for yourself how the
children feel about it. "
12. Miss Beam led me to one of the
bandaged girls. "Here's a gentleman
come to talk to you, " said Miss Beam,
and left us.
13. "Don't you ever peep? " I asked the girl.
"Oh, no! " she exclaimed. "That would
be cheating! But I had no idea it was so
awful to be blind. You can't see a thing.
You feel you are going to be hit by
something every moment. It's such a
relief just to sit down. "
"Are your helpers kind to you? " I asked.
14. "Fairly. But they are not as careful
as I shall be when it is my turn. Those
that have been blind already are the best
helpers. It's perfectly ghastly not to see.
I wish you'd try. "
"Shall I lead you anywhere? " I asked.
15. "Oh, yes ", she said. "Let's go for a
little walk. Only you must tell me about
things. I shall be so glad when today is
over. The other bad days can't be half
as bad as this. Having a leg tied up and
hopping about on a crutch is almost
fun, I guess. Having an arm tied up is a
bit more troublesome, because you can't
eat without help, and things like that. I
don't think I'll mind being deaf for a
day - at least not much. But being blind
is so frightening. My head aches all the
time just from worrying that I'll get hurt.
Where are we now? "
16. "In the playground, " I said. "We're
walking towards the house. Miss Beam
is walking up and down the
garden with a tall girl. "
"What is the girl wearing? "
my little friend asked.
"A blue cotton skirt and
a pink blouse. "
"I think it's Millie? " she
said. "What colour is her
"Very light, " I said.
"Yes, that's Millie. She's
the Head Girl. "
"There's an old man tying up roses, "
"Yes, that's Peter. He's the gardener.
He's hundreds of years old! "
"And here comes a girl with curly red
hair. She's on crutches. "
That's Anita" she said.
17. And so we walked on. Gradually I
discovered that I was ten times more
thoughtful than I ever thought I could
be. I also realised that if I had to describe
people and things to someone else, it
made them more interesting to me.
When I finally had to leave, I told Miss
Beam that I was very sorry to go.
"Ah! " she replied, "then there is
something in my system after all. "
Where Do all the Teachers Go?.
Where do all the teachers go
When it's four o'clock?
Do they live in houses
And do they wash their socks?
Do they wear pyjamas
And do they watch TV?
And do they pick their noses
The same as you and me?
Do they live with other people
Have they mums and dads?
And were they ever children
And were they ever bad?
Did they ever, never spell right
Did they ever make mistakes?
Were they punished in the corner
If they pinched the chocolate flakes?
Did they ever lose their hymn books
Did they ever leave their greens?
Did they scribble on the desk tops
Online Lessons with Spoken text and correct pronounciation