If You Can Read This, Thank a Teacher
I was invited to a local school to talk to parents and students at Literacy Night last Tuesday. The event had been planned by the teachers. These are the same teachers who spend all day with students, have playground duty, car-pool line duty, and spend evenings grading papers, outlining lesson plans, and finding winter coats for kids who don’t have them. What I didn’t realize when I was in elementary school is they have homes, they don’t live at school; they have children of their own who have homework assignments and science projects, and families who expect meals and laundry. As a child I imagined our classroom was her world, she was always there!
The evening was well-planned and ran smoothly, starting with a free hot dog supper. There are many Hispanic students at this school whose parents don’t speak English, or not well. The planning committee included translators for the evening. This was a surprise and a new experience for me. Had I known I’d have a translator, I would’ve planned my presentation in short paragraphs. But, we adjusted.
I was introduced with an impressive Power Point made by one of the teachers. It was so nice, it made me want to meet me! After the presentation the audience broke into small groups at library tables. Each table had a sixth grade translator. They read a chapter of Avery’s Battlefield and used mini flip charts with ideas for critical thinking. I was so impressed.
The school had purchased books for two 6th grade classrooms, but the principal decided to give a book to each of the five 6th graders who translated at the tables. The kids were thrilled and it was my pleasure to sign them. “I never had a signed book before,” one said. Her smile was wonderful.
The teachers I met reminded me of my own teachers. They hug their students, encourage them, plan events like this one, and reward the ones who show up and work. These teachers, like my own, are creative and struggle to squeeze the most they can out of poverty budgets. And thus, the students are inspired. I’m glad that part of our education system hasn’t changed. There are still teachers who care. Unfortunately, what also hasn’t changed is they are still underpaid and underappreciated.