On October 31, 2012 I was blessed with the opportunity to visit with the teachers and school administrators from Horizon Science Academy Middle School in Columbus, OH. One week prior to my visit with the staff I had the privilege of speaking to their students about the importance of making proper decisions and maintaining positive attitudes. The teachers and staff members welcomed me back to offer a few words of encouragement to them as well.
Most people don’t consider the daily stresses and challenges that teachers face in 2012. Decreasing budgets, limited resources, an increased number of uncooperative parents and lack of support from upper administration, to name a few. Teachers are expected to get done more, with less! These areas of adversity are actually the smallest of challenges. The most difficult task of being a teacher in 2012 is being a parent!
Confused? Teachers are no longer expected to just teach young people the Pythagorean Theorem or how to study Newton’s Laws of Motion, momentum or rotational motion. Teachers over the last 15 years have gone through a stage of metamorphosis from teacher to parent. Teaching students how to respect adults and people of authority is now a part of the curriculum. Generally, when I am asked to speak to students around Ohio, without hesitation, teachers request that I address the areas of discipline, respect and improved decision making. Parent/teacher conferences consist of no-shows and late arrivals. Based on the new role of the teachers, this makes perfect sense. Teachers are alone in the parent-teacher conferences because they are both the parent and the teacher to these children!
Here is the bright side...
During my visit, I expressed to these teachers that they are a chosen group. I stressed that there is no one else in the world better equipped for their “new” positions as parent/teacher than they are. I encouraged them to embrace their challenges and use them to get better at helping these young people.
There’s no need to yell at students or give up on them. Many of these kids have already been given up on by the people they love. They don’t have anyone else. If the teachers give up, our problems in society only get worse. I let them know how valuable they are. I let them know that if it weren’t for a few of my male teachers and coaches, that I too, would have made some terrible decisions in school. Teachers are the most important figures in kids lives next to parents and grandparents.
When it gets difficult, press on and push through those overwhelming feelings. A young person’s life can be saved just by taking attendance! If they are in class that means they aren’t in the streets, which means teachers have an opportunity and a responsibility to give them all that they have.
No matter who you are, keep teachers in your prayers. Pray for the students around the country as well. All grade levels and pray for their families.
Teachers, I thank you for never giving up on your students!
“It takes a village to raise a child!”
Roy W. Hall