This past week was Teacher Appreciation week. I often and loudly herald the importance of education in our nation. Teachers are on the front lines every single day in our quest for an educated, compassionate and skilled society. With ever-dwindling resources and a quickly advancing future, they go above and beyond, doing their part to ensure the success of America.
Every state in the Union clamors for better education for our kids. Teachers (along with parents, peers and the rest of the village) are key in making and strengthening connections in the brain not just with the knowledge they teach but through helping young people learn how to think. Schools not only provide the basics of how our bodies, planet, societies and government work, it helps socialize our children, all in the hopes of producing well adjusted, hardworking, successful adults.
When our schools do a good job and our society thinks, reasons and has a general idea on how the world works, our nation, on the whole, can do nothing BUT succeed. We’re all pieces of the whole and we’re all in this together. Education isn’t just confined to schools, oh no. Families, volunteer organizations, community programs and living history (among other things) are all part of the solution. One thing I can assure you, if we transform how we view education in this country and strive as a whole to attain top tier status in the world, we’ll see more and more opportunities for American families in the generations to come.
And what of those future generations? In light of the warp speed track modern technology has taken over the past 30 years (I’m a Gen-Xer so I remember fondly the days before cell phones, GPS and the internet), can you even begin to imagine what the world will look like in another 30 years (please let there be beaming, please let there be beaming)? What kind of citizens will our schools need to prepare to succeed in THAT world? If we don’t create an educational village that can shift and evolve with an ever-changing world, where does that leave us as families? As communities? As a nation?
When we are complaining about paying taxes out of our asses, remember: our tax dollars pay our teachers. We are personally invested in their success because it is our own success as a nation. Little things can make a difference:
- Vote: One of the most important things we can do as a society is elect officials that will do everything they can to provide quality education to our youngsters. Learn about the candidates and attend forums. Even those of us without children are invested in the future of our society. Make sure your district is on the up and up.
- Participate in the PTA and at open School Board meetings: I know we are all busy. It’s tough to hit every meeting on the calendar. At least once a school year, get to one. Have your voice heard and listen to others. It takes a village, after all.
- If you’re a parent, go to parent/teacher conferences: Get to know the person spending all day with your kid. Teachers can be a great asset if you struggle with the ‘new math’ or on how to help with Algebra II. They might be able to use some advice, too, on what works well for your child and what doesn’t.
- Thank a teacher. Our kids depend on them. Our nation’s success depends on them. Our future depends on them.