Principal's Weekly Reflection - The Worth of Teachers -
As the curtain falls on another very successful term, I reflect on the key “ingredients” which create a successful school. This term has been very successful, very rewarding, with a vast array of learning opportunities for our students. Success comes with a cost … a cost of time/effort/commitment, but with enormous rewards. And the more I reflect, the more I appreciate our staff and wish to express my appreciation and admiration for them.
This year, it has not been easy with the ‘split-campus’ and the work-load and expectations have increased. Year by year and term by term, MY APPRECIATION GROWS, MY ADMIRATION increases, and I conclude how fortunate I am to be at SJA.
So for the staff of Joeys, and the parents who teach, I print the following reflection, entitled: “The Worth of Teachers.”
THE WORTH OF TEACHERS We don’t speak enough in our culture about the intrinsic value of a teacher’s worth. We are steeped in performance standards, job outlooks, business readiness, tests, taxes, and yet there are far more valuable assets we tend to ignore when we look at a majority of our teachers. It is time to stop bashing teachers. It is time to admit that teachers are not the problem in our schools.
I could argue the problems in education rest in low teacher pay, missing fathers, the testing mania, illiteracy, antiquated school-funding. But soon we shall be nearing the start of the new school term, a time when students walk up the steps to school and teachers wait at the classroom door with the vocations tucked squarely in their hearts. This is the time of year to celebrate teachers and what they do for our children year after year.
We don’t speak enough in our culture about the intrinsic value of a teacher’s worth.
I was a lonely teenager when I entered high school. I’d play a game when I stepped into the building each morning. I’d say to myself, “Let’s see how many people will say hello to me in the hallway today.” And 100% of the time the answer was zero, until I stepped into Mr Emra’s English class. Mr Emra was a new teacher. I was impressed that he had an excellent master’s degree and he liked books, foreign movies, poetry, art, history, football and he seemed to like me. That year Mr Emra had us all sit in a circle as we discussed novels and short stories. We delighted in being in Mr Emra’s class where we all got to know each other and learned to like each other as we worked on group projects.
We spoke openly about ourselves and about our connections to the books that we read. We wrote essays, plays, poems, short stories, and Mr Emra spent countless hours at home reading our work and making personal comments on each of our papers: words of encouragement, suggestions for improvement, and kind praise.
It was in this class that a teacher taught me that I was good, smart, charming, cheeky, alive, and I have carried that newly discovered confidence with me for all of my life. Because of Mr Emra’s class, I not only walked through the high school halls with many people saying hello to me on a daily basis, I have walked through life with a sense of purpose, with a sense of confidence, with a sense of joy about living thanks to Mr Emra and his interest in a goofy, lonely kid.
Say what you want to about your own misconceptions about teachers. Say what you want about the problems we face in our schools today.
I know schools. I know teachers. I know children, and I can assure you that our troubles in school have little to do with the quality and goodness of our national, professional teachers.
Acknowledgement: From Chistopher de Vinck, August 24, 2012, author of Moments of Grace, awarded a first-place book award by the National Catholic Press Association.