I am watching Children of a Lesser God. Anyone that watches this movie, or any of a number like it – the movies where exceptional teachers do amazing things with “average” students – anyone who watches these movies and thinks teachers “make enough”. Anyone who watches movies like this and thinks, “There is so much we CAN’T do”… you are wrong. Good teachers change lives. GREAT teachers change schools. They should all be rewarded.
I was an average student. I was smart – but I never worked really hard at school. But I met one teacher – that one amazing teacher – that teacher that changes people’s lives.
In my case that teacher was a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer. He ran the ROTC for my High School. Think what you will of ROTC – think what you will of me. But respect Chief Earl S. Robinson.
This single teacher taught me to think – he was the first teacher that cared if I was learning or memorizing. He taught me to crave learning just a little more – to dig just a bit deeper. To teach Myself.
To Teach Myself.
Yes, I repeated that too many time, perhaps – but there is no better gift a teacher can give to a student than the ability to learn.
Almost everything I have learned since then in life I have taught myself. Because this 60+ year old RETIRED Navy Chief Petty Officer decided to come out of retirement – to teach – at a High School. Teaching kids like me. The ones that didn’t fit in anywhere else – so we joined ROTC. The ones that would be called nerds now, but computers didn’t really exist back then.
Yet we pay most first year politicians (who are normally wealthy to start with) salaries that make a 20 year teacher salivate.
Why don’t we pay every teacher a six figure salary? And a Senator $44K/year (the average new teacher salary – if they are lucky enough to live in Texas).
Let’s give the teachers a Staff. And nice desks. And limo rides to the school. And postage accounts. And exemptions from most of the rules the rest of us have to abide by. Why the hell not?
Are politicians more valuable to you than teachers?
No? Then why do politicians get all of the airtime on TV? Why don’t teachers get more time?
Why don’t teachers get respect?
Are we really that screwed up that we ask “wanna be contenders for a State Senate seat” for an autograph, yet we don’t know who the most highly rated educator in our state is?
Is it really like that?
If it is, I am very, very afraid.