When I graduated from college, my roommate gave me a present. With my degree in Education, student teaching behind me, and a job secured to start in the fall—I opened the gift to find a coffee mug, with ‘3 Reasons to be a Teacher….June, July and August!’
As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (this week May 6-10) and National Teacher’s Day (today, May 7), I wonder if those are the three reasons resonate with the 172,000 teachers instructing the over 2.3 million students across the state.
It is kind of a rough time to be a teacher in Illinois right now. With the current state funding crisis, where in March 2013, the State was behind in payments to local districts to the tune of $768 million, combined with the pension funding crisis currently being debated along with the upcoming transition from Illinois Learning Standards to the new Common Core Standards for Language and Math, you have to wonder, are the three months in the summer worth it?
As a former teacher, I don’t know teachers that take off 3 whole months. In addition to the opportunity for summer jobs, professional development (like our own Ag in the Classroom Summer Ag Institutes), and preparing for the next school year…it isn’t a vacation!
Shortly after graduation, my roommate and I were involved in a discussion about his company and what was the acceptable recall rate, or unsatisfactory rate, that his company would tolerate. It was acceptable to the company that only 70 percent of the product he delivered would be at 100 percent. There were tradeoffs in efficiency and dependability. Yet as a teacher, I didn’t have the luxury of ‘discarding’ any of my product. My product wasn’t a ‘widget’—I was working with students.
This became even more apparent, as I became a parent. Although every parent is their child’s first teacher, when you send those kids off to school, you want and expect your kids to be of primary importance to the teacher. Your local and state taxes fund this form of education, and you deserve it!
Ironically, I now have 3 children, and my oldest will graduate from high school in just a couple weeks. I am grateful for the teachers that have had such an impact on all of my kids. The three reasons I continue to encourage folks to be teachers, and to constantly hone their craft, are my kids–Lena, Eliza and Parker.
The three reasons on the coffee mug have certainly changed. Take a minute today, or this week, and think back about the teachers that played a major role in your life. Think about the teachers that impact your children today or have impacted your children in the past. Take a minute and thank those teachers… you will be glad you did!
Illinois Ag in the Classroom