Education: Critic of Rule & Rote

It did not take long for the citizens of Little Bay Side, L.I. to like the husky new schoolmaster who came to them one day in the 1830s. It was true, as one pupil later recalled, that young Walt Whitman was "always musin' an' writin', 'stead of tending to his proper dooties." Yet he seemed to love children ("what a hum of little voices! . . . How pleasant . . . How healthful!"), and children seemed to love him. He never used the rod on them, knew how to liven their lessons with poems...

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