What follows is a piece written by a colleague of mine. If you are a teacher, you’ll recognize the emotion expressed.
If you are NOT a teacher, you might do well to know what’s in teachers’ hearts: the fierce love we feel for our students –our hope and fear about the what the future holds for them, and our disenfranchisement as our government has cut public school funding from 26% of total budget to 15% of total budget over the course of my career.
My beloved colleagues:
These past several weeks have been a blow to my soul; causing a despondency I have never felt in the 13 years of my teaching career – and believe me, I have had some low points. Several times throughout those 13 years I have had to re-adjust, re-evaluate, and re-focus on what really, profoundly matters about what we do: the kids.
“The kids” – that faceless blob of humanity to everyone else in the world: retailers, advertisers, facebook.
But not to us. To Us they are not “the kids,” they are Our Kids – our kids with names, stories, souls. Souls to which we minister every day we have them in our lives…in school and after. And the more challenging the life, the deeper we minister.
Over the past several weeks, as I desperately tried to put one foot in front of the other to come to a job so loathed by the government which pays me, I have had not one but 6 separate grads come to visit, a dozen or more wish me a happy Mother’s Day, and just drop a note to say thank you for something I said or did 10 years ago. These meetings/conversations have helped me to keep going; to re-focus.
We cannot be forced down by a government which cares nothing for any vulnerable group because we are the only stop gap in an entire social system which is being flayed by the same people who are trying to strip us of our dignity, our confidence, and our rights. We are the only thing holding this mess together for kids who have nothing and no one.
We breed revolution by teaching kids how to question and think for themselves and to speak truth to power. We are the keepers of the future.
I have said it over and over again: the government hates us because the government fears us – we have, as a captive audience, the minds of future voters.
My beloved colleagues, know in these times of despondency that you make the world. Period. You are creators of all that kids need to be successful as HUMAN BEINGS. Teachers saved my life – as a kid and as an adult.
Each of us matters. Period. There may be many of us but we are neither interchangeable nor dispensable. We matter. Every one of you can think of at least one kid in whose life you have made a difference. The government can’t cut that.