5/11/13

Respect . . .

The one on the left is mine. The other two, mercifully, went
back to their teacher after a few hours of "perspective."
My maternal Grandmother was a teacher. I have four uncles and three aunts that taught (all retired now). My parents were both educators (my father spent most of his career as an administrator but had some classroom time). I have several cousins and cousin-in-laws that are teachers. My younger brother and his wife are teachers. One of my best friends from high school and her husband both teach.

I have lots of educators in my life. And I respect them very, very much - especially the ones that spend their days, weeks, months, and academic years with children under the age if . . . oh . . . let's say 18 (I am pretty sure I could teach at the collegiate level).

WHY do I respect teachers more than just about any occupation a person can enter in to?

Forget about the low pay, the public disdain for the calendars they keep and the work they do, the constant threat to funding for things like physical confines and accouterments to let them actually do their work, the blurring of the expectations for them to be educators/role models/proxy parents/social workers, and the constant changing requirements for state testing, accreditation, tenure, etc. (Note: This is not a political post so no need to "educate" me on the roles of teacher's unions and crap professionals in the torment good teachers face . . . I totally get it.).

Nope. It is way more simple than that . . . they spend their days with CHILDREN! 20 of them at a time (at least). For several hours. In a room. With no outside support for a good bulk of that day. RESPECT!

Now - I don't want to imply I am not the "right man for the job" when it comes to kids (I want to plainly and not even all that modestly declare it) but I do want to say that I spent just three hours walking around the beautiful Botanica gardens with three kids (one of which was my own) and I about stroked out. NOT because they were bad kids (they were not - all three of them are extremely typical kids). NOT because the boy in the group told me that my daughter was his best friend, very pretty, and gives him hugs (I respect the kid a great deal for having knick knacks big enough to tell a girl's dad all these things (smile)). NOT because the other girl asked (every 30 seconds (honest timing)) if they could go to the "playground" yet. Nope. None of that stuff is why I respect teachers or why I could not supervise children (and let me clarify here I don't think a field trip has anything to do with teaching).

Nope. I RESPECT teachers because they are willing to be RESPONSIBLE for our children. I had three kids, inside a fence, with hundreds of other kids, dozens and dozens of other adults, a hundred employees, and a (presumed) security force all meandering around and yet I was petrified that one of my three kids would get lost/separated, get hurt, break a rule, make a faux pas, or otherwise show me to be a horrible chaperon. But teachers aren't skurred. They aren't hesitant. They KNOW they can handle three kids . . . plus twenty. And not just to be responsible for them in a classroom or at an oversized garden. Nope. They are comfortable being responsible for teaching them (one final note - my ex and I believe that it is OUR responsibility to educate our child and prepare her for the world and that teachers and schools are there for structure, context, support, and direction in our efforts to ready our daughter but many parents do NOT feel this way in terms of who is "responsible") letters, numbers, social norms, vocabulary, reading, science, algebra, human anatomy, and how to keep hormones in check during the first "change of life."

I am a responsible person. I am very comfortable being "in charge of" colleagues, budgets, marketing strategy, sales goals, communications, and a million other big and little things. I am co-raising my child with her mother. I'm very comfortable in all the responsibilities I take on in my life. But I RESPECT them for the responsibilities they take in theirs. Truly admirable.

PS - Get to Botanica today, Wichita people. It is beautiful.