Teachers today are the target of such unrelenting criticism that it’s not surprising many of them wonder why they chose a career in the classroom in the first place. I submit that there’s a partial remedy in the form of attending a class reunion. They’ll soon realize that they’re appreciated far more than they know.
I was reminded of that on Saturday night when I attended the reunion of the class of 1974 at the high school where I spent my entire 28-year career. I was fortunate to have taught long before classrooms were turned into test preparation factories. As a result, I was able to know my students as individuals, rather than as mere data points. Apparently, they never forgot the bond we formed. Let’s be realistic: Long after subject matter is forgotten, students remember the relationships they had with their teachers.
Teachers never enter the classroom expecting fame, fortune or power. They do so to make a difference in the lives of young people. They’re not always successful, but they’re doing their best. The time I spent at the recent class reunion was payment in full for the years I taught. I urge teachers to do the same in order to rededicate themselves to their mission. I think they’ll return to the classroom with renewed vigor.
The opinions expressed in Walt Gardner’s Reality Check are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.