I often write about my three sons and their wives, of whom I am immensely proud. Cory and his wife Casey are school teachers as is another daughter-in-law, Viviana.
I’m always amazed at the sacrifices that teachers make to pursue their profession. At the outset, they don’t teach for money. Cory makes a fraction of what he earned when he worked with me as an agent in the insurance business.
Moreover, there seem to be no prospects for teachers in Florida to see any kind of financial improvement. Teacher salaries are highest in California and in many of the northeastern states, largely because they are unionized states. That notwithstanding, even in those states teacher’s incomes lags behind other colleagues in other professions.
Let’s see if I have this right. As a parent, I’m going to entrust you the teacher with the care and education of my child but the powers that be feel that’s only worth a starting salary that would almost qualify you for food stamps.
You expect these brave men and women to literally fight for the lives of their students and themselves. One of my daughter-in-laws was assaulted by a student in her second grade class. She should be getting combat pay for correcting their disruptive behavior.
Teachers have to observe students for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning. Cory has built a reputation among the students of his school as being a teacher who makes learning fun. Students are fighting to get into his science and biology classes. Nobody fights to get into biology!Biology is supposed to be boring and if he stuck to the script, it would be. Cory goes off script and challenges his students to think and learn.
He takes below average lifters on his weightlifting teams and teaches them to use the proper technique to achieve greatness. Many exceed their own expectations. Why… because they do what he tells them to do.
When Cory worked with me in my insurance practice, I had a plaque on the wall of my office, quoting my mentor: “If you do the things I train you to do… in the manner in which I train you to do them… I guarantee you’ll succeed in this business!” Cory applies the same philosophy to his students.
Teachers have to always be on the lookout for weapons. They wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and they raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride in their students, some of whom come from broken homes or are victims of abuse or drugs.
Cory, Casey and Viviana and all their colleagues teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play. I’ve spoken to Viviana’s Middle School students at Neptune Middle School and have had to focus on issues like bullying, which is everyday behavior in all schools. Recently at the local fairgrounds, Viv spotted a student who skipped school earlier that day and here they are at the fair.
Teachers have to inspire children to register to vote, balance a checkbook, and apply for a job, all while not being bullied by a fellow student. Sadly, many will go into a world where corporate bullying is now the rule, not the exception.
My daughter-in-law, Casey, when not defending herself from possible physical attack, is charged with checking her kids for lice in their hair. She has to recognize signs of antisocial behavior all while making sure that her kids all pass their tests so her school won’t be downgraded.
Like all her colleagues, she constantly goes into her own pocket for supplies or drops by our office to get extra envelopes and other items we always have on hand.
Teachers are charged to provide them with an equal education, regardless of their handicaps. They have to communicate regularly with student’s parents in English, Spanish or any other language, by letter, telephone, e-mail, newsletter and report card. These are the expectations, not the exceptions.
Teachers to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile… all for a starting salary that qualifies them for welfare.
And God help them if they say a prayer or use the words Under God in the Pledge of Allegiance. God bless our teachers!
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at email@example.com.