If you can read this, thank a teacher

Published 9:36 pm Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hot summer, leisurely days doing pretty much what you want are about to end for students across the state.

School bells are about to ring, and classes are set to come to order. Teachers are preparing (and probably have been since the last day of school) for another year of educating students. They are shining up classrooms and bulletin boards and most (if not all) is being done on their own time and often at personal expense.

Let’s all stop for a moment to thank teachers for their commitment to educating and preparing students for a rapidly changing world.

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I see a bumper sticker quite often that reads, “If you can read this, thank a teacher.” While I believe that most of us understand the wisdom of that phrase, I am not sure we exercise the “Thank You” portion.

To be sure, teachers don’t teach simply to be thanked by us; they teach because they are committed to and understand the importance of education in the lives of their students. The teachers that I know are happiest when they get to witness a student’s reaction “when the light comes on.” As a result, students become excited about learning.

Teachers today have much government red tape to wade through before they can begin to teach. They don’t get to pick their students. They must teach all that enter their classroom door. I’m sure also that most, if asked, would not have it any other way.

Think about the good and bad of society today. Imagine what you would do if your job required that you face the realities of society each and every day. This is a daunting task at best, wouldn’t you agree?

Now, think for a moment about all the teachers you have had across your education. Some of mine were better than others, of course, but when I am really honest, I never had a bad teacher. I was a bad student on many occasions. If I had been a better student, I know that teacher could have done a better job.

So, I didn’t just suggest that when we hold teachers to higher standards, shouldn’t we also hold students to those same higher standards? Did I? Oh my! That’s goanna get me in trouble with some moms and dads.

Some of us want teachers to bear all responsibility for education. Let’s not ask our students to complete homework or other requirements that prepare for the next day of learning. We don’t want learning to get in the way of sports, or lessen (not lesson) time for social media activity. Shouldn’t a teacher be able to teach around all these obstacles and still produce straight-“A” students ready to move into tomorrow’s high tech workforce?

I realize I’m being a bit (well maybe a lot) cynical and sarcastic in this column. I can do that here. Teachers can’t be cynical or sarcastic in the classrooms. They must teach!

I also realize and know that when parents are involved with their children’s education, the end result is always better. This is not to say that we make a teacher’s job easier, because teaching is not easy! Go spend a day with a teacher, and decide for yourself.

If we want Mississippi students to rank better across this country and even the world, parents have to become involved early and be willing to stay up late.

One thing we can be certain of is that teachers will be standing at the door when students arrive. These teachers will be prepared and ready to teach.

If you are reading this, <cTypeface:Bold>”thank a teacher.”<cTypeface:Plain>

Otis Raybon is the publisher of The Daily Leader. Contact him at otis.raybon@dailyleader.com or (601) 833-6961. <cTypeface:Plain>