Tonawanda News

Columns

February 23, 2013

TUCKER: Let's hear it for the 'lost' horse

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — “After being interviewed by the school administration, the prospective teacher said: ‘Let me see if I’ve got this right. You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning. You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self esteem and personal pride. You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job. You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior and make sure that they all pass the final exams. You also want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, newsletter, and report card. You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps. You want me to do all this, and then you tell me: I CAN’T PRAY?”

•••

Ron Peters emailed regarding our son teaching in Lockport. 

“I did duty there as well, in the 1959-60 school year at Emmet Belknap Jr. High teaching eighth and ninth-grade social studies. ... Thanks for your recent shout out on teacher salaries. If we value our schools and our children’s education then we should be willing to pay for it. There’s no such thing as a bargain basement decent education. Are teacher salaries too high? Compared with other occupations where a four year degree is an absolute entry requirement, teacher salaries are quite low. When compared to a career span of say 35 years, teachers come up considerably short than their counterparts elsewhere. Teachers and other public employees do not have things like stock options, profit sharing, performance incentives, bonuses, and other wealth building schemes offered in the corporate world. In exchange for dedicated service teachers are offered a guaranteed pension, adjusted for inflation, so they might enjoy a dignified and secured retirement. There seems to be current discussions that somehow teachers are not deserving of such things and should rely on their own personal savings if they want a decent retirement. Such thinking is wrongheaded if indeed we want teachers who invest their life energies into meeting the needs of students, we have to make the investment in them as they help mold our nation’s future through preparing the next generations with the necessary skills and insights to be effective in a changing world. (I know this is a run-on sentence, but it’s a complex thought. I hope Mrs. Martin my NTHS senior English teacher will forgive me, where ever she is.)”

•••

How about this church sign: Honk if you love Jesus, text while driving  if you want to meet Him.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email barbara.tucker@tonawanda-news.com

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