Kudos to dedicated teachers
For many of us, September marks the onset of a melancholy time, a time when the long, lively days of summer give way to the darkening days of autumn, leading ineluctably to the death spiral of winter.
But for many others — and for all of us at some point in our lives — September represents a new beginning, one that comes with the pains of birth, but also with hope and promise.
Those who experience this new life most acutely are the children who leave the comfort of home, perhaps for first time, and are thrust into the bewildering new world of school.
Even kids who have been there, done that, face new beginnings in September. New classrooms, new teachers and sometimes, new schools greet schoolchildren across the country. And those entering junior high or high school for the first time often feel the same trepidation they felt on the first day of junior kindergarten.
Fortunately for most kids, the trepidation is short-lived, as they soon make new friends, learn new things, and begin to enjoy their new lives. And the people most responsible for this, aside from the kids themselves, are the people to which we entrust our children’s welfare — their teachers.
Indeed, in many cases children spend more time — far more time — with their teachers than with anyone else, including their parents. This means that teachers are responsible, not only for ensuring children learn the three R’s, but for educating the whole person, for teaching kids what and how to think of themselves, how to relate to one another, how to live.
Teaching is not merely a job but a vocation, a sacred trust the vast majority of teachers assume and discharge with hope and joy. And while the importance of this vocation can’t be overestimated, it is often undervalued.
But there is an easy way to remind ourselves of the value of teaching and teachers, and that is by recalling our own experiences. Every one of us can remember a person who made a profound and profoundly positive difference in our lives, who set us on track to become what we are today. More often than not that person was a teacher.
That’s something worth remembering as children rush off to class this week, some for the first time, some for return visits. For what those children become tomorrow — including, yes, teachers — will depend in large part on the stewardship of the teachers of today. Teachers are the guardians of future, and that means that the future is in good hands.