Characters

  1. Miss Beam: A middle-aged, authoritative, kind, and understanding woman.
  2. The writer: The narrator of the chapter.
  3. Millie: The head girl
  4. Peter: The Gardener
  5. Berryl: A dark girl in red.

Introduction

In this essay, the writer introduces the readers to a new type of school. As the name indicates, the school’s purpose is to create sympathy among its students for the lame, the blind, and the handicapped. It teaches all the subjects taught by other schools but it differs from other schools in one important aspect that is, it makes its students good citizens.

Summary

The writer visits The School for Sympathy

 The writer had heard a lot about Miss Beam’s School for Sympathy. One day he got the chance to visit it. He saw a twelve-year-old girl whose eyes were covered with a bandage and an eight-year-old boy was leading her carefully between the flowerbeds.

The author met Miss Beam, she was a middle-aged, kindly, and understanding lady. He asked her questions about her way of teaching. She told him that the teaching methods in her school were very simple. The students were taught spelling, arithmetic, and writing. The author told Miss Beam that he had heard a lot about the originality of her teaching method.

Miss Beam told him that the real aim of her school was to make the students thoughtful. She wanted to make them helpful and sympathetic citizens. She added that parents sent their children to her school gladly. She then asked the writer to look out of the window.

Miss Beam explains the system followed in the school

The author looked out of the window. He saw a large garden and playground. Many children were playing there. He told Miss Beam that he felt sorry for the physically handicapped. Miss Beam laughed at it. She explained to him that they were not handicapped. It was the blind day for a while for some it was the deaf day. There were still others for whom it was a lame day. Then she explained the system. To make the students understand misfortune, they were made to have experiences of misfortunes. In the term, every child had one blind day, one lame day, one deaf day, one maimed day, and one dumb day. On a blind day, their eyes were bandaged. They did everything with the help of other children. It was educative to both the blind and the helpers.

Miss Beam told the author that the blind day was very difficult for the children. But some of the children feared the dumb day. On a dumb day, the child had to exercise willpower because the mouth was not bandaged. Miss Beam introduced the author to a girl whose eyes were bandaged. The author asked her if she ever peeped. She told him that it would be cheating. She also told the author that she had no idea of the difficulties of the blind.

All the time she feared that she was going to be hit by something. The author asked her if her guides were good to her. She replied that they were very good. She also informed the author that those who had been blind already were the best guides.

The writer praises Miss Beam’s system of education

The author walked with the girl leading her to the playground. She told him that the blind day was the worst. She didn’t feel so bad on the maimed day, lame day, and deaf day. The girl asked the author where they were at the moment. He told her that they were going towards the house. He also told her that Miss Beam was walking up and down the terrace with a tall girl. The blind girl asked what that tall girl was wearing.

When the author told her about the tall girl’s dress, she at once made out that she was Millie. The author described the surroundings to her. He felt that as a guide to the blind, one had to be thoughtful. He was full of praise for Miss Beam’s system of education which made the student sympathetic and kind. The writer himself had become ten times more thoughtful.

Conclusion

The lesson gives the idea of the role of school education in our life. Miss Beam was running a school. The name of her school was the ‘School for Sympathy’. It was different from other schools. The students were taught spelling, adding, subtracting, multiplying, and division. But the real aim of her school was to make children kind and thoughtful.

Students had a blind day, a lame day, a deaf day, a maimed day, and a dumb day in the course. They learned to understand the problems of the handicapped. This developed feelings of sympathy in children. They learned to help the handicapped kindly. It suggests that education should make children good human beings and kind citizens.