I Believe In The Public School Teacher

Jean-Michel - Santa Monica, California
Entered on June 15, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I have attended public school since the first grade. Elementary school was fantastic: snack time, recess, P.E. twice a week. Middle school was pretty good: seven periods a day, band, science, english, math. High school topped it all: stress, worry about college—real life. But I have never been alone in it; teachers have always illuminated the pathway.

I believe in the public school teacher. The individual who goes underpaid and overworked only to help kids become a little more informed about the world. The individual who stays at school late into the night preparing the next day’s lesson so that their kids may have an enriching day of learning.

Most of my peers don’t realize the value of their education. I have seen a student curse at a teacher, breaking them down to tears. I have seen a student abuse a teacher’s good will and take advantage of them. I have seen a student blindly accuse a teacher of racism simply to discredit their name. The majority of people don’t realize the toils of a public school teacher, but I like to think I do.

I like to think that for every student who actually appreciates his teacher, that’s one more teacher who goes home and ‘fights the good fight’ one day longer. It is my hope that by believing in the public school teacher, I show my gratitude for the immense debt of knowledge that I have accumulated.

I believe in Ms. Kennedy and Mr. Sakow and Ms. Scott and Mr. Okla and every one of my teachers. I believe in them because they believe in me. They give up their only free period in the day to help me learn derivatives. They come to school before dawn to teach me chemistry so I can go to waterpolo practice in the afternoon. They go to the library on the weekend to help me with this paper. I am privileged to have a band program in which I can play the trumpet and I am even more blessed to have a music teacher who knows the needs of every musician in the class. They do it all selflessly so that I can see my dreams become reality.

That’s what it really comes down to; these teachers forego the fame and fortune to make a difference in the world. They directly impact the masses. Forget the legislatures and the congressional committees. It’s all about the teachers, who help the young minds of our nation develop into the minds of tomorrow. The minds that will one day control all that we see before us. The minds that will radically shift the world to sustainable terms and change our planet into a global community. Without them I would be lost, unable to think critically, discern between right and wrong, and unable to make a difference in the world. I believe in the public school teacher.