Teachers are professionals who hold the future in their hands, literally. We mold the young minds and impact the lives of those who will shape our progressing society. It is the teachers who teach, nurture and love, but it is the parents who reinforce. It is irrational and unfair to place the astronomical illiteracy rates of our society on us educators. As a teacher, I believe that many place the blame in the wrong hands, a belief helped produce this essay.
When reality sets in, it is valid to say that the existence of “poor” educators plays into the failure of our young, and eventually older readers. Maybe it is laziness, or perhaps it is a lack of knowledge or a big paycheck. But let the truth be told that almost all teachers are there because they want to be. I teach to touch lives, to be a role model and to give my students what they need in order to become successful, valuable and proud citizens of our country. I teach because in my heart, I know that the students whose lives I impact will be changed forever.
Despite the above statements, it is crucial to point out that teachers need help – I need help. I can supply the foundations, strategies, motivation and skills. I can guide, model, scaffold and ultimately yearn to create successful readers. But children need more than just me. They need to see literacy before I meet them, before they step foot into school. I need parents to reinforce at home the concepts introduced at school. Children need to witness the value literacy has outside of school because they already know of its importance in school – it’s my job to preach it! I need parents to actively participate in their children’s literacy endeavors, especially as the years tick by and their time in school starts to slip away. Although it sounds so simple, the occurrence is low, hence the roots of my beliefs.
Illiteracy in adults is an ever-growing and never-ending tragedy that too many have fallen victim to. If a child struggles with reading in school, parents cannot merely ignore it and expect that the teacher will fix everything – that would be an impossible feat. When a teacher chooses to teach, she knows the pressures and expectations. She has the means necessary to do the best she can for all of her students, trust me, we try. When a parent chooses to parent, she becomes a teacher as well; she must emphasize what is taught in school and ensure that her children are not letting the value of literacy slip through their fingers. It is the job of both parents and teachers to do everything in their power to produce literate and productive future citizens, to never give up, even as children struggle. The job does not, cannot, belong solely to one being; even we gifted teachers need the help and drive that parents can, and need to, provide. This I believe.