Since Becoming a Parent, I have More Respect for our Educators

I am going to do something on this blog that I rarely do. I'm going to write very hastily about a political subject in North Carolina and I'm going to do it in 15 minutes because that is all the time I have right now.  But, I have a voice and I cannot keep quiet. Not any longer.

Yesterday was a historic day in North Carolina. Schools closed so that teachers could rally in our state capital to encourage better public education funding in our state. This rally has made national news. It has created debates about teacher salaries in our state. Frankly, it's created controversy.

I'm a parent of two children in North Carolina's public schools and I support our teachers 100 percent. I've read some of the public comments in the New York Times and I became angry. Comments such as:

"They don't work eight hours a day and they have summers off."
"A lot of other people make less money."

You know what? That is true. There are a lot of people who do make less money. This rally was not just about salaries, but public education funding in general. But, I am going to talk money for a minute and the salaries for a teaching profession. 

I, too, was ignorant when I was 23-years-of age working full-time in television and made eight thousand dollars a year less than a starting teaching salary of $24k at the time in North Carolina.  I even thought about leaving TV and perhaps trying to teach drama and journalism in high school.  I said to myself, "They are not on call, they don't even work in the summer and they can get holidays off and I would make almost 10K more a year." 

 I didn't do it. I did not leave my job for teaching. I guess I got cold feet or didn't want to go back to school to get that lateral education degree. I'm not sure what happened, but I decided to take a different path professionally. 

It is a true statement that most teachers do not go into their profession for money. They typically do it because they like to help people. Same thing with those in the social work field.  A job also can't be just about the money, especially when you talk about education. It takes the right person to do that job. Good teachers inspire and mentor. Good teachers make learning seem like the easiest thing to do on this planet. 

I would have failed as a teacher. I would have received an F grade because after becoming a parent, I now know that I do not have the personality to deal with students. In fact, on many days I do not even like children. That includes my own two children so I pretty much know I would fail miserably with someone's child. 

Notice I said like. Not love. I love my children and because I love my children I became heavily involved in my elementary school's PTA. I even took on the role as President. I have served on committees that help give PTA grants for innovative teaching and programs. Through my years of spending a lot of time in school, I have have had the privilege of seeing a very realistic behind the scenes look at our public schools.

Is my perception different than my life before having a family of my own?  Absolutely. I have so much respect for our educators. 

"Respect. Amazement and Awe" 

That sums up how I feel about the educators. My children go to really good public schools. The staff and leadership at these schools are amazing. These individuals work a lot more than eight hours a day. They work nights, early mornings and weekends. The work does not stop when the school dismisses. 

I could go on and on to convince others to feel like I do, but that is just wasted words on so many. Many people would not last one day as an educator. As parents, we trust these people to mold and shape our children into educated adults. A lot rides on this profession.  I've seen great educators who have a gift with children, especially male, leave this profession because they can make more money doing sales or something else. 

I've seen other people have successful careers in the private sector then leave it because their first love is education. 

I've seen the school receptionist hold a kid's hair back in the sick room who was vomiting. I've seen the attitudes that educators see daily in their classrooms. Some educators provide a stable role model when a child's home life sucks. To me, our educators are right up there after GOD.  I'll go ahead and put God first then educators second. That's how important they are to me. 

I have so much respect for all education staff. I thank all teachers for their service. I'm glad you did what you did yesterday. 

Our education system deserves the best.

My fifteen minutes are up and I'm now going to be late for an appointment.  Thanks for letting me get on a soapbox today.  It doesn't happen often, but when it does, you can feel sure I believe in the cause. 

And one more note....if you are local and can vote for Julie Von Haefen for State House. Take the time to learn more about her. She's a friend of mine. Unfortunately,  I do not live her district, but she is the voice for change that our public education system needs. 

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