This I Believe

Phil - Chicago, Illinois
Entered on December 19, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the lasting legacy of great school teachers. I am the blessed beneficiary of many great teachers in my educational history. Having grown up without the guidance of parents, and with a grandmother who wasn’t sure how to raise a small grandson, I was very fortunate to have at least four different teachers to instruct, guide, and love me in ways that have been fruitful in producing the good man that hopefully I have become.

I believe school teachers are indeed the gatekeepers of a child’s educational success, but that success isn’t limited to the classroom.

Four great ladies–all my teachers in the Alabama Public School system in the 1970s–have enforced the values system which I now wholeheartedly embrace. I believe in the power of positive reinforcement–and these women made sure that I have plenty of it–along with some very necessary negative reinforcement when nothing else worked.

I believe that I found my way to college, the military, and becoming a productive member of society because these women cared enough about a little orphaned boy who had a disfigured smile, but a large heart, and an eager mind to learn all that he could. I was that little boy, and later on that eager and willing teenager who wanted to “be something.”

I believe that every school teacher is a gift from God Himself, and should be respected as such a gift. I believe that education begins at home, and that these public servants are more than worthy of any benefits they may receive. In a time when education has been “devalued” by contemporary culture, our school teachers are one of the few elements ensuring that we have the chance for a civilized continuance in a free society.