When I was seventeen I wanted to be a writer more than anything on earth. To share my ideas with the world and know that at least one other person read them (spit them out and said yuck in the worst case loved them in the best case). That is not a very lucrative career choice and both my father and my grandfather told me to get a degree. My grandfather said it was a backup plan.
So I got a degree as a teacher. It was my backup plan. To quote the play “Little Shop of Horrors” (in the voice of Levi Stubbs of course) “Mama said you have a habit for causing things pain so be a” teacher. In the play the profession is dentist but you get the idea. To be honest I never wanted to be a teacher. My father was a phenomenal teacher and I didn’t want to be “the other Andersen.” In the end I just hope I lived up to the name.
Personally I think that two years in a classroom should be mandatory for everyone. I love my career and where it has gone but frankly everyone should have to be a volunteer coach, or teach for a few years to remember how things were and help others move forward. It’s the same with military service. I think the world would be a better place if we implemented universal service and teaching, military service and construction were the three options (we probably need more than 3 but you get the idea).
I wrote a book (long out of print now) called “There are days you just want to go home.” It was a year in the life of a teacher. As a teacher there were many days I wanted to go home more than the kids did.
During an interview I had right out of college I was told by a superintendent that I wasn’t long for teaching. He didn’t mean it in a bad way only that in the end I wouldn’t be a teacher for many years. He was right in the end. I was only there for a total of 7 years. I have friends, some while I was teaching and others that graduated with me that had then spent 20 or 30 years as teachers. Some of those fellow students have spent most of the last 24 years teaching. I respect that. My father spent 40 as an educator. He loved the concept and processing of teaching more than anything.
Don’t get me wrong I love teaching. I don’t like the politics of school.
Many years ago (1988) I founded a teaching society called The Society of Dead Teachers (also DTS-L for the on-line version). We at one point had a forum on virtually every major on-line system (AOL, Compuserv, Listserv DTS-L, bitnet DTS-L, and of course STEPS!!!) We had thousands of readers and basic members. We talked about the issues of being an educator in a world where education isn’t always valued.
Truly if you want to make the world a fair and equitable place, educate all children equally. Don’t bring the highest systems down, bring the lowest systems up. Education is the great equalizer. If we are all speaking the same language and all start with the same basic facts and understanding it is in the end a lot harder to misunderstand each other.
There is no greater light in this world that shines than the eyes of a child that suddenly understands. What would the world look like tomorrow if every child n the world understood today?