Read LESSON II of Lessons on Manners For School and Home Use, free online book, by Edith E. Wiggin, on

Entering and leaving room.
Laughing at mistakes or accidents.
Conduct if accidents occur.
Treatment of new scholars.
Conduct when visitors are present.
Raising hand.
Rights of property.
Distributing and collecting materials.
Conduct at looking-glass and drinking place.
In relating occurrences, when to speak of one’s self.


WE must not forget to say “Good morning” to the teacher when we first see her before school; or, if we stop after school to speak to her, “Good afternoon” when we leave. If a boy comes back into the room after dismissal, he must remember to take off his hat.

It is rude to laugh at mistakes or awkwardness: nothing is more ill-bred as well as unkind. If an accident occurs, we should not laugh, unless it is so amusing that all can join without hurting the feelings of the one concerned.

If an accident happens to the dress or property of teacher or classmate, we should offer our assistance quietly, if we can be of use, or else not appear to see it, and by no means call attention to it.

We ought to try to make a new scholar feel at home, help him to become acquainted with the others, tell him the rules and customs of the school, and assist him at first in his lessons if he needs it. We ought not to stare at him when he enters or rises to recite, or smile if he makes a mistake. It is kind to draw him into games at recess until he forgets he is a stranger. We should be especially careful to do all this if the new scholar is poorly or peculiarly dressed, or is crippled, or unfortunate in any way.

When visitors are present, we must be sure to behave as well as at other times. If reading or singing is going on, we should pass them a book, handing it properly, and should treat them as politely as if they were at our houses. When the teacher is engaged with company, we should not disturb her with unnecessary questions, but busy ourselves until she is at liberty.

To raise hands when it can be avoided is an impolite interruption of school work, and is as rude as talking too much in company. To raise the hand when a teacher or scholar is speaking is the same thing as to interrupt them with a remark or question.

We must respect the rights of property. It is wrong to take a garment, book, or other article before or after school without asking permission. If anything is borrowed, it should be returned promptly with thanks.

If we are distributing materials to the class, we should hand articles quietly and politely to each in turn, and in collecting never snatch a book or paper.

When a number of scholars are waiting for a drink at recess, we sometimes see them crowd and push one another, each trying to serve himself first. It makes us think of cattle at a watering-trough. The cattle know no better, but boys and girls do. The polite way is for each to stand back and wait his turn. This is not only the pleasantest but the quickest way for all to be satisfied. If boys and girls are waiting together, every gentlemanly boy will wait for the girls to drink first, and the girls should accept his politeness in a polite manner.

The same remark applies to conduct in the dressing-room before school. Scholars should quietly wait for others to hang up clothing and use the looking-glass, instead of pushing forward to secure the first chance.

These early habits of courtesy or rudeness will cling to us through life. When we see people rushing for the best seats in cars or steamboats, and crowding others aside at counters and railroad restaurants, we may be reasonably sure they are those who, when boys and girls at school, pushed others away from the looking-glass and the drinking place.

In speaking of occurrences, we must not say, “I and James went.” We ought to speak of ourselves last in all cases, except where mischief has been done, when we should relate our own share first.