Today is my last day of school – I’m out of days to sub. Yes, here in Oklahoma, we are limited as to the number of days we can substitute teach. But, I suppose it’s also because you can be a substitute teacher with only a high school diploma. I guess they call themselves limiting their liability that way.
I will be the first to admit that a degree does not ensure or guarantee a great teacher. In fact, some of the most gifted teachers I’ve been exposed to in my life have not had college degrees, much less teaching degrees. But I also know some complete, blooming idiots who managed to make their way through high school, but that’s about it, and I wouldn’t want them in any of my children’s classrooms.
It does strike me as yet another example of ass-backward-ness in our society, though. I mean, we as a society obviously don’t value education the most, because we spend more of our monies elsewhere.
But every time I turn around, someone’s squawking about the lack of good teachers for our classrooms. Well, of course! If you can make more money in almost any other profession other than teaching, you probably won’t be a teacher, unless you are independently wealthy, have a spouse with a great income, or have such a strong, altruistic streak running through you that you put up with personal poverty, lack of appreciation from students, parents, administration, community…ugh…let me switch gears… I’m getting pissed off again…
So, ok – anyway – what I really want to say is there are as many ways to support quality education for our youth as there are those of us willing to support it. You don’t have to be a teacher to make a difference. Our schools are starving – literally starving – for resources. If you have time, volunteer. Go read to an elementary class, tutor a student, be a lunch buddy – be a visible presence in your school system, whether you have children in it, or not. Every little bit helps. Adopt a teacher – help him or her purchase supplies needed for their classroom that the school district’s budget doesn’t provide. If you do have children in the school system – get involved! Nothing sends a clearer message to your child that education is important than your active involvement in theirs.
I don’t mean to get preachy on you, but I’d really like my own mistakes in this area to serve as a wakeup call to more people than just me. I was way less involved in Oldest Son’s education, and I know it played a part in his giving up on it and dropping out. By the time I did get actively involved, it was too little, too late. My talk was always ‘education is important’ but my walk said other things were more important. I don’t remember the name of a single one of his teachers, but I can tell you the names of all of Second Son’s teachers in the last 5 years and all of PDD’s teachers. Not only can I name them, they can name me. I’m here to tell you, it makes a difference.
So, I’m going to click ‘publish’ and go celebrate the beautiful weather we’re enjoying here today and get outside with my kids and revive a little of that childhood glee I felt on the last day of school. This summer is going to be a busy one, but it’s not here yet. Right now, all that matters is it’s Friday, there’s no school tomorrow and it’s gorgeous outside. Time to go play!