DeVotion to Education

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Lately, there has been talk of education in a place where few teachers exist: politics. This post isn’t about Mrs. Betsy DeVos (don’t worry, she repulses me as well). Instead, my message comes from the heart.

This is what it means to pour yourself into a profession that is only valued by those on the inside.

Afternoons are a bit of a blitz in my home. Preschool pick-up is followed by a hurried lunch, which means naptime is on the horizon. When I finally settle my son into the top bunk with a song and story, I tiptoe across our living room to a quiet corner.

And, for the first and only time all day, I sit by myself and think.

I would love to tell you that I plan my family’s meals – that I organize adorable scrapbooks for my children. But that would be a lie.

My mind considers the student who recently confessed her devastating family secrets in my office, the young man who continues to grieve for the father time stole, and the reclusive student on the verge of dropping out.

And this very moment is what the public and politicians get all wrong: We teachers invest ourselves into our students.

Sometimes this means baking cookies late into the night to celebrate a class accomplishment (or, even more simply, a student’s birthday).

Sometimes this means spending the last dollars in our bank account because the amazing lesson plan we designed must go on.

Sometimes this means crying the loudest sobs humanly possible because there is a student in need, and we can only listen.

I no longer teach in the K-12 system, but I do have high school students in my courses. They are so tired of being pawns. So we focus on creativity and channeling our strong emotions into writing.

But is it enough? Is it fair what we’ve done to the next generation? And will it continue?

I may be a teacher, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the solution to the great DeVos tragedy. The nation has now become our classroom. We must collaborate. We must persevere.

And, for the love of God, we must take care of the ones who teach us all.

20 thoughts on “DeVotion to Education

  1. Ashleigh Wright

    Thank you for your words. This profession is often so difficult because everyone believes they know what is best and wants a say. No matter what politicians so, teachers will keep working tirelessly for kids we love!

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  2. I used to be a teacher as well but when I went through college I was taught that the child was the center of their learning experience as I continue teaching it became more and more the test became the middle. All of the individuality of the child was gone and not focused on. It is a sad thing. And, please lets keep politics out of education it does not belong. -Bruce

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    1. Thanks for your response, Bruce. It sounds like our teacher preparation was similar – each course emphasized a student-centered classroom. The disconnect you mention here is one of the reasons I left K-12 education; creativity on all fronts was stifled. On the college level, I try to reintroduce students to learning that they can direct. It’s often a terrifying, yet refreshing experience for them! As for politics, they do play a special purpose in my first-year writing classroom: both sides provide abundant material for healthy discussion 🙂

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  3. This is my 30th year as a public school educator. My heart breaks and I profoundly understand the depth of this writing. Sometimes I don’t have enough of me for my students, yet everyday I go back in and love them to the best of my ability.
    Thank you for speaking these words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for these words. I can imagine your story is just as powerful – thirty years is an amazing commitment! I think the love that nearly every teacher holds for their students is depressingly absent from education debates. We’re too often villainized and expected to do much of the heavy lifting in helping young people mature. And, yet, a fight for respect still persists. Keep inspiring and know that your love – no matter how tired – still heals.

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    1. I experience those same emotions in nearly every education discussion. What will the future be like? Can my heart survive? I think those of us who are called to teach have a special resiliency. Don’t let those internal or external to the field discourage you (both will try). And when you feel like all is lost and beyond your control, one of the many students you have reached will remind you of your impact. Wishing you a grand adventure in the classroom!

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