Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy is no bedtime story, but the movie trailer recently reminded me of the nursery rhyme butcher, baker, candlestick maker, preacher, teacher, undertaker. (Now it’s stuck here in my head.) The working class has changed since the industrial revolution. We no longer haggle over the price of prime cuts of meat. The butcher’s battle is with feed lot cattle. The baker is mechanized out of a job, and the candlestick makers union disbanded after the Wizard of Menlo Park had one of his big eureka moments.
Now thanks to the miracles of modern science, business for undertakers is all but dead. If not for drinkers and texters all over American roadways, the livelihood of the undertaker might come to a screeching halt. Let’s face it, these days unless you’re a lawyer, doctor or millionaire jock your pipe dream to retire after a 30 year career is up in smoke. There are some mega rich preachers, but selling your soul isn’t for everyone, so the clergy have their troubles just like the rest of us. Buck up buttercup; payroll taxes, outsourcing, and offshoring are facts of life.
The rat race won’t be won by camping out in any lobby or having a pity party.
One sad fact that hasn’t changed is that our teachers are last in line for professional status and compensation proportionate to their workload. Many young educators lose their enthusiasm for teaching because their passion is mandated and administrated right out of them before they even have a chance to pay off their student loans. When this happens, the ones who really lose are the students. Students who are required to show up and take their seats in the temporary trailers that have become permanent classrooms all across our country. Students who deserve to have someone they can rely upon to prepare them to enter the workforce of the future.
Problems in our public schools are systemic and solutions require consideration of local, state, and federal variables. One thing that is standardized is all of our lives are enriched by dedicated teachers who motivate us to do more than just snatch the answers that are handed to us. Talented teachers inspire us to discover solutions to those puzzles that keep us up burning the midnight oil. (In many ways, I am still a grasshopper.)
People who debate the scope of the education system often miss an important lesson, which is that we will continue to get out of the system what we put into it. Whether or not we agree on the creation of a better system for the evolution of our population, we should at least be able to say with some certainty that we value our teachers.