Tuesday, December 11, 2012

After reading several articles recently about the state’s report card and the schools being ‘rated’ and how people are bashing the educational system, my teacher mentality has kicked in.

Teachers I know work hard for the money they earn. Most are at school early or stay late (or both). Most carry a stack of papers home with them which need graded once their own family has been fed, the laundry has been started, the next day’s activities have been arranged and hopefully a few minutes of ‘quality’ time spent on their own family. THEN, the grading begins. Most spend money out of their own pocket to buy classroom items that the school’s budget doesn’t deem necessary. Most are passionate about learning and go above and beyond to find a way to reach all the students in the classroom, searching and researching to find a ‘new’ way to present the information for the 10th time so ALL kids understand.

Schools are changing, society is changing, the world we live in is changing, and our communities are changing. But not all these changes are for the better. In my childhood (back in the prehistoric eraJ), parents taught children a plethora of things before even starting kindergarten. Many of today’s children do not have that advantage. Many of today’s children are not introduced to the simple idea of having books in the home, which is shocking to me. Many of today’s children are living at or below the poverty line. Many of today’s children come to school hungry. Many of today’s children have to deal with drugs and alcohol issues in the home. The last thing these kids concentrate on is how to write a good sentence when all they are thinking about is what the day will be like when they get home. These aren’t issues that only affect the kids in the ‘big city’. These are things that affect kids of all ages, in all areas of the state, regardless of the size of school they attend. Teachers are well aware of the social issues kids deal with and yet they show up every single day, knowing that these kids depend on them; knowing these kids have very few things that are constant in their lives; knowing that regardless of how the lesson plan goes that day, the students know that tomorrow morning, the teacher will be waiting for them in the classroom; ready to start another hopeful day of learning. 

I understand that things have changed. It’s a sign of the times I suppose. But when I hear someone talking about a 4th grade student who is reading at a 2nd grade level and I hear them say that child is failing, I want to think of it as a success because that student is lucky enough to walk through the doors of the school and has a chance at an education. I want to think that there is a teacher who is passionate about the chance to reach out to that student and hopefully make the smallest difference in his life.  I also know from experience that a teacher keeps a little piece of each student that passes through their classroom regardless of their academic success.

So for all the teacher’s out there, I say a sincere THANK YOU for continuing to give our kids a chance. You may never know the impact you are having on a child so keep up the good work!!

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