“The task of the modern educator is not to cut down jungles, but to irrigate deserts.”
C. S. Lewis
What a wonderful twist of philosophies C. S. Lewis puts forth. Nurturing is what all teachers should be about. Fostering the minds of children, who will one day be the political leaders, pastors, doctors and researchers of our world, is a very important job.
If only it were that simple. My kids are adults now, but it wasn’t so long ago that I was prayerfully striving to make choices for their best educational options. From preschool through college, (my daughter will graduate from
I feel for parents as they make these choices and contend with schools, teachers and their children’s classmates. It sounds like I’m about 90 years old when I say that things have changed. “Back in the day…” blah blah blah! But it’s so true.
There are many more students with diagnosable mental and learning disorders, violent gangs, rampant drug and alcohol abuse. Students from every background come from homes where there is little supervision or attention to what they are up to. And often, these are the very parents who complain the loudest and the longest if their child gets in trouble or isn’t succeeding academically.
My daughter is a student teacher for a first grade class and much time is devoted to managing the behavior of a few children with special needs. Bureaucracy is at its strongest when it comes to having a child assigned to a special education program—it takes a very long time and a large team of people to make it happen.
My niece is a junior high teacher. She was recently verbally assaulted, then threats of serious harm were issued by a student. Was the student arrested or expelled? Of course not, initially. He got a slap on the hand and she was expected to be back at school as if nothing happened. But when other teachers rallied for her, the district’s decision-makers listened, resulting in the teen’s parents being given options of alternate schools for him to attend.
There is a shortage of good educators, and why not? Why would anyone subject themselves to such a daunting task with one hand tied behind their back? Our teachers need support and empowerment. Parents need to immerse themselves fully in their children’s lives, not making room for their privacy or “rights,” except for safety and provision. That’s love. That’s nurturing and “irrigating the desert.”
Use your voice; call your ELECTED school superintendents and tell them to stop coddling violent, substance abusing children. It may be the very wakeup call some families need to get help and it will certainly provide for a healthier, safer environment for the remaining majority of students and their teachers.