THEYEAR OF THE TEACHER

In recent years, schoolteachers, particularly public schoolteachers, have gotten a bad rap.
There have been cheating scandals on standardized tests in Georgia. U.S. students have fallen behind students in other developed countries. Some schools are failing their students because of either funding shortfalls, unsafe conditions etc.
Some say that the methods used to evaluate teachers’ performance are inadequate or obsolete. As a result, poor teachers keep their jobs and good teachers get laid off. In fact, state and municipal funding shortfalls have made many teachers expendable.
Certainly, all of this is occurring.
But the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary Scholl in Newtown, Conn., and the devastating tornado that hammered schools in Moore, Okla., in May 2013 have shown that teachers are real heroes. What they do every day is heroic, but the tragedies illustrate their intrinsic motivation.
Teachers in those two schools have shown how much they love their students. They love them so much that they would risk their own lives to save them. Those teachers did what they felt they had to do to save as many students as they could.
Does this sound like the dependent, government employees some commentators have made them out to be? Are the public schools just a bastion of taxpayer-funded workers who get summers off and don’t do much for the children? Are teachers just in it for the paycheck, pension, and generous government benefits the taxpayers reluctantly dole out? Are they, and their unions, just working to keep the cushy deal they have?
A fan Tweeted to Diane Sawyer, anchor of ABC’s World News on May 21, 2013, that this might be the year of the teacher because of Sandy Hook and Moore. The teachers showed their true character in time of tragedy. They weren’t looking out for themselves in those instances.
Government workers in general get bad press because most of us hate paying taxes. Some view government spending as one of two things: waste and free stuff for the undeserving. But if you ask anyone whether the teachers at Sandy Hook and Moore were worth whatever they were getting paid, few would say no.
Government provides essential services. Many individuals who work in government are dedicated to what they do. They are not there just for the generous benefit package. In fact, many in government, including teachers, get paid very little in relative terms. Frequently, folks who make a lot more than they do are the biggest complainers about schools, and government in general, because they don’t want to pay the taxes it takes to take care of those dedicated folks.
Sure, as in anything, there are abusers. There are teachers and government employees who are in their jobs for self-serving reasons. But in most cases, those who work for the people are motivated by something other than pay and benefits. The teachers of Sandy Hook and Moore proved that.
If you are a teacher or other government employee , who sees a lack of appreciation for your hard work and dedication, visit www.bign.com/pbilodeau. It may be just the thing to allow you to leave with a smile on your face when you are hit with the next layoff or budget cut. You may not be motivated by money for yourself, but this could give a great ability to help others not only with your time and skill, but also with your money.
Don’t let them call spending on your salary and benefits a “waste.” Don’t let them tell you that you don’t deserve what you get from the taxpayers. If you hear such a thing, just mention the behavior of teachers at Sandy Hook and Moore. They weren’t doing what they do just for the money.
Peter

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