It wasn’t until I home schooled our two sons, Brewer and Thomas, that I gained a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for teachers!!! It was in my face and ” ALL UP in ME” the quote I have heard all my life, “BEFORE YOU JUDGE ME, WALK A MILE IN MY SHOES!!!” Amen, amen and AMEN!! to that quote.
On the “Back 9” of life this quote has been lived out to me in hundreds of scenarios and one I would like to journal about is “School Teachers!” As parents we all are called to be our children’s advocates, protectors and teachers! What does that mean? It means to me, that we are to teach our kids RIGHT vs. WRONG, RESPONSIBILTY, RESPECT, MORALS, INTEGRITY, AND HOW TO LOVE, and we need to live it out loud in front of them. Of course, we are imperfect people and we all have the responsibility, and should have the humility, to admit when we are wrong and re-teach and retrain.
When I brought Brewer home in the 5th grade to teach him, the first thing I discovered, and was not looking for at all, was the fact that he was a “visual” learner. After making “B’s” on tests, I asked him what we could do differently. He asked if he could just read the history book and science book and me spend less time talking/teaching the material. I decided to give it a try and he aced the next test! I don’t know when I would have discovered he was a “visual” learner if I had not experienced it first hand. I then got a book on learning styles and discovered that people learn in different ways. I then started to reflect how HARD it must be to teach in a classroom of 25+ kids and appeal to their “best learning style”.
The second thing I discovered is that even though there were no other students to distract him (until I brought Thomas home) that he STILL found a way to get distracted! Then I thought about what it must be like for a teacher who is required to reign in 25+ students (with much of their hands tied today in discipline). Needless to say, my RESPECT FOR TEACHERS WAS GROWING!!!
Third, even though I was only responsible for teaching and grading for one, I still had to do the preparation as if I were teaching for 25! It took time, and I felt a HUGE responsibility for someone else’s education. I started to realize the money school teachers made was not enough for the time required in preparation and the responsibility. MOST TEACHERS don’t teach for the money, THEY TEACH BECAUSE it is their GIFT AND PASSION. It couldn’t be for the money!
Fourth, I realized that even though I did have accountability for turning in test scores, lesson plans, and standardized tests, I didn’t have near the paperwork that school teachers are required to do on every student. Paperwork that must be done at times when they are not teaching and most teachers have 5 classes of students and one planning period. One planning period is not near enough time to:
a) grade papers and record scores.
b) write lesson plans for all classes–realizing some teachers teach different subjects and levels.
c) meet with parents, students and return phone calls.
d) eat or go to the bathroom. And
e) maybe, just maybe, they needed a mental break to refresh.
What about after school? I find that teachers in schools are required to go to teachers meetings (which are necessary) and are asked, and expected, to get involved in things other than the subjects they teach like sports, yearbook, school newspapers, clubs, etc.
Not until I home schooled and laced up my “teacher’s shoes” and walked, not a day, but 4 years in their shoes did I realize I had “UNFAIR” and “UNREALISTIC” expectations for school teachers. God convicted my heart to pray for teachers every day!! Of course, as in any line of work, there are bad teachers, who do bad jobs and need to be ” addressed” but, what I find for the most part, is teachers that teach are in it for their “love of teaching” and “desire to impact lives!” What a “great calling!” A chance to influence and teach and shape the minds of future generations.
My call and challenge to you as parents is to reach out to your kid’s teachers. Be respectful of their time. Remember too that your child may not come home with the “full story” of a situation that happened at school that day. Allow Grace in areas where you may not have the full story and, out of their professionalism, the teachers may not be able to share. If they are teaching your child, you as a parent have the responsibility to ensure that “YOUR CHILD” does his part which is give respect, work hard and be disciplined in their behavior! I have found a “sincere word of encouragement” to a teacher goes a long way. Maybe even volunteer your time in some way to aid them as they instruct your child. We all have a responsibility to our children and sometimes I find we leave too much of it to the teachers!
I leave you with two quotes, one for parents and the last for teachers.
Parents, “If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” ~Donald D. Quinn
Teachers, “A teacher affects eternity: he can never tell when his influence stops” – Henry Brook Adams
Scripture for everyone: Philippians 2: 4, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”