Teach your children well

You, who are on the road
Must have a code that you can live by
And so, become yourself
Because the past is just a goodbye

… Teach your children well
Their father’s hell did slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

… Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?”
If they told you, you would cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

… And you (Can you hear?) of tender years (And do you care?)
Can’t
know the fears (And can you see?)
That your elders grew by (We must be free)
And so, please help (To teach your children)
Them with your youth (What you believe in)
They seek the truth (Make a world)
Before they can die (That we can live in)

… And teach your parents well
Their children’s hell will slowly go by
And feed them on your dreams
The one they pick’s the one you’ll know by

… Don’t you ever ask them, “Why?

If they told you, you will cry
So just look at them and sigh
And know they love you

Sometimes I think I might have been better suited living in another era…. I’m a sucker for CSNY, Joni Mitchell….well, you get my drift. I love lyrics and I especially love those above.

Teachers

Here in Arkansas (as well as other states) teachers are underpaid. Grossly underpaid. A sweet young enthusiastic friend will begin her career making in the low 30s and those career retirees will leave the professional in the low 50’s….. of course there are exceptions for a few districts, but not many.

There are those who will remind us that teachers don’t enter the professional for the money.

No kidding.

Funny thing. To teach you need a college degree and in many cases that takes 4+ years and if there’s an advanced degree, 5 or more. Guess what? That degree will cost them. There’s no free ride for those kind hearted professionals.

Their families need shoes too.

The past few years have been horrendous for educators. They have battled COVID rules out the WAZOO, to put it mildly. Not only have they dealt with online instruction …they have sanitized, sanitized and sanitized hands, chairs, rooms….insanity… Not to mention trying to assess student growth…. when parents weren’t always available to support (no fault of their own) or in some cases where children didn’t even have access to the internet….and the list goes on.

And all the nonsense about teachers having the summers off? Give me a break. Professional Development occurs throughout the summer….more times than not you’ll drive past a school and see the cars of teachers preparing rooms, having meetings and trying their best to be ready for the next year.

All of my retired teacher cheerleading…and I will KEEP doing it… is in reaction to our Governor and Legislators deciding that our SURPLUS of monies in Arkansas would be better served by a tax cut (and we know for who) instead of a much needed raise for our educators.

UNBELIEVABLE.

These legislators don’t think a raise is necessary but they are very interested in;

  • Removing/banning books (many classics)
  • Making certain sex education is limited (even though Arkansas is second only to Mississippi in teen births)
  • Worrying about CRT when most of us don’t even know what it is
  • Considering arming teachers (really… think about your elementary teachers then imagine them carrying a gun)

AND THERE’S MORE FOLKS….

After watching the horrible mass shootings this summer…..and since I have time on my hands, I have come to the following conclusions…

TEACHER KNOW

Teachers know their students. Most middle school, junior high and high school teachers could easily list those they think are capable of one day being a shooter.

HARSH.

I know. But friends, it’s true. Every day these teachers see students whose anger is out of control. Abused at home, neglected at home, bullied at school for their looks, not having money, having the wrong clothes….and yes, being gay or trans. It’s a tough world out there people…. if you don’t believe me volunteer a few hours or heaven forbid, substitute.

EYE OPENING.

So why does it matter? It matters because more attention needs to be paid to those (for lack of a better term) disenfranchised students. Teachers, counselors, social workers and yes, law enforcement need to be more aware that shedding light on those with these problems might stop another shooting.

Oops. Did I cross the line?

You know back when I taught, and when I passed out a particularly difficult piece of music, I would often joke “How do you eat an Elephant?”…….answer “one bite at a time”… and that goofy phrase applies here.

None of us have 100% of the answers, but when we all contribute we can make a difference.

I spent 38 years teaching choral music. One thing I’m sure of… if there’s a way to get a child involved in an extracurricular activity we should do it. A SENSE OF BELONGING, be it choir, band, drama, athletics….. I swear to you it could make a difference.

I know I starting this little blog cheerleading for a teacher raise….and got sidetracked, but it all goes together!

TEACHERS are our first line of defense.

  • Devoted elementary teachers who love their students like their own. Who nurture them, introduce them to a world outside their circumstances…not to mention spending their own money to help clothe them and feed them.
  • Middle School and Junior High teachers who reach them in classes, recruit them in activities where they are ACCEPTED and loved for who they are. Just ask a band, drama or choir student and they’ll tell you. Whether it’s athletics or art… it may be the closest thing to a loving family some ever know.
  • And finally, High School teachers who continue the fight….often being the one person a student can confide in…

Teachers know.

Do I have opinions about GUNS…. well if you know me very well you can answer that question easily.

But it’s not JUST the guns. It’s not JUST the mental health……. It’s all of it rolled into one and if we hope to make a dent in these horrific numbers of shootings, then we need to open the tool box and use whatever we can and quit fighting each other about which is the best way to handle it.

You are probably saying “but what about the adult shooters”…… and I’m not sure anyone but Jesus can stop a white supremacist on a mission to rid the world of blacks, Jews, homosexuals….and the rest of the list. But let me tell you one thing. I don’t need my politicians cozying up to them. And my vote will never go to one who does.

I’ll wind up this crazy saga by telling you about my mom and dad. Both took the Missouri “teachers exam” when they graduated high school. In the 1930s a degree wasn’t necessary and they both started teaching in Missouri- one room rural schools….and challenges existed then too…

I listened as my parents told of students with no shoes, one outfit of clothes and ofen no food. My parents swept the floors, made the fires and helped many survive…. Which truly is what teacher are doing today….

HELPING STUDENTS SURVIVE.

These frontline teachers need more than your pat on the back. More than your support. They need you to listen and believe them.

And they need and deserve to be compensated for being the heroes that they are.

If you live in Arkansas I encourage you to call or email your Legislators and your Governor and let them know how you feel. You can be the difference.

And please vote accordingly.

Published by swcall58

I'm a wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother....a retired choral director living with stage 4 lung cancer. My faith sustains me and my writing is therapy. Day by Day.

One thought on “Teach your children well

  1. Beautifully put, as usual. I am appalled at how our teachers are treated AND compensated. Is there some way I can copy and send your blog to all our elected representatives?

    Like

Leave a Reply to June Morse Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: