Back to School: Teachable Moments

Visiting my sister Madeline last week, we took in the eclipse and did some errands before she returned to work as a teacher on Wednesday. She’d been into her classroom several times over the summer, labeling bookshelves, covering bulletin boards, and planning lessons. She has several days of preparatory meetings with colleagues before students arrive next week. Celebrating her 30th year in the classroom, she’s a pro; yet there are always new techniques to learn, methods to try, students that challenge like none before.

I’ve been thinking about teachers these days and while I miss teaching,  I don’t envy the responsibilities many have to assume that go way beyond teaching a particular subject.

Watch former National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García’s speech a couple years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zMbspRhqJc

Additionally, there’s the challenge of teachable moments. Any teacher would be remiss to ignore them. But how to handle the barrage of current events?  A devastating hurricane? Climate Change? A nuclear threat from a foreign nation? Civil unrest amid racial hatred? How do teachers emphasize kindness and acceptance when the President behaves so badly toward others? A daunting task, indeed.

And yet, teacher salaries in many parts of the country hover near hourly wage levels as public school budgets are slashed by state legislators.

Take Oklahoma, for example. As Associated Press reporter Sean Murphy writes:

“Teachers haven’t had a pay hike in a decade, and 10-year veteran teachers who are single now make little enough that their own children qualify for reduced-price school lunches.” Teachers are leaving the state, finding high paid jobs in Texas and elsewhere.

Teachers should be trained like doctors, and receive equivalent compensation. They hold the future in their hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
This entry was posted in commentary, Education, Family, teaching, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Back to School: Teachable Moments

  1. I agree totally. Ignorance has got us where we are today. We need an educated population and so we must have good and well-paid teachers…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Letty Sue Albert says:

    Love that Peanuts cartoon…They certainly made an enormous difference in my life. I wish they only knew what an impact they had and how often I still think about them. LS

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is such a shame that there appear to be many parallels between the US and UK education system. Teachers in the UK are underpaid and undervalued, too.

    Finland appear to be getting it right. Highly trained, highly respected.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s