The public school system in America is a disaster. I could just leave it at that and expect you to take my word for it.
Then I wouldn’t have to mention the fact that some 9th graders at a Virginia high school were recently made to watch an explicit sex education video discussing “male pleasure,” blowjobs, the male g-spot, sex toys and a range of other insanely inappropriate content.
I wouldn’t have to mention the ongoing national epidemic of teacher-student sexual relationships.
I wouldn’t have to mention the fact that most 8th graders in public schools can’t perform basic math and most have almost no reading comprehension skills whatsoever.
I wouldn’t have to mention the high school in Wisconsin that recently awarded their Homecoming Queen crown to a boy who thinks he’s a girl.
And, God help me, I wouldn’t have to talk about why you shouldn’t put marijuana in brownies.
Unfortunately, however, this is America and, whether we want to admit it or not, many of our public schools have become cesspools of moral depravity, utter stupidity, political correctness and leftwing indoctrination. They have sacrificed the pursuit of higher learning on the altar of radical progressivism with little to no concern for the effects that it will have on millions of children and teenagers. This has been a decades-long process and now the process is almost complete. So bet it.
Rather than address these destructive issues, many teachers have decided that the real battle should be fought over money, so they’ve recently taken to the streets to protest in states like Arizona, West Virginia and Oklahoma. You’ve probably seen their photos plastered across the news and social media over the last few days. They’re not getting paid enough for the amount of work that they do, or so they say. I have no doubt this is probably true. As the son of an elementary school teacher, I know how many hats teachers are required to wear and how many roles they juggle throughout the course of one day. They’re not just teachers. They’re part-time parents. They’re nurses. They’re administrators. They’re crowd control monitors. They’re counselors. They’re disciplinarians. They’re instructors. They work untold amounts of overtime, attend countless meetings and spend their weeknights grading homework and their weekends preparing lessons and studying new curriculum requirements and paperwork. Before they can catch up, Monday has arrived and it’s time to start all over again.
Yes, they should be paid more.
But, let’s be clear about one thing: Higher pay does not a better teacher make. It may end the strike, but it won’t necessarily motivate the vast majority of teachers to confront the real issues plaguing our public education system. It will only serve to get them back into the classroom. A teacher — like any good employee — needs to be inspired by his or her leaders. They need to be intrinsically motivated in a way that causes them to feel valued and appreciated and to have a fuller understanding of the lasting impact they are having on the lives of children and teenagers. In essence, they need to see how important they are to the overarching purpose of the school’s mission to educate and instruct. This sort of inspiration will be far more potent and powerful than a meager wage increase.
Moreover, teachers are not considered to be “good” at what they do simply because they have high salaries. You could hand an $80,000 salary to plenty of teachers and still not get the results you’e looking for. A good teacher — one who strives for greatness — will always engage with his students. A great teacher will set high expectations and implement clear objectives and rules in the classroom. A great teacher will form strong bonds, on a professional level, with his students in order to show that he cares deeply about their academic development and that he cares about them as people, not just as the means by which he receives his paycheck. A great teacher will always be prepared and organized. A great teacher will demonstrate expert knowledge of the subject matter. A great teacher will communicate often with parents, even the difficult ones, through written forms of communication, e-mail, or phone conferences.
Great teachers will do these things not because they want better pay or because they are making better pay. Indeed, they will do these things in spite of their pay. They will exhibit a care for their students and a passionate desire to see them learn. And truly great teachers will instill life lessons, morals and values that exist outside of the world of academia.
Yes, better pay would certainly be a good thing. But, it is not the answer to solving the crisis of our public education system. Moral and spiritual dilemmas are not solved by money. They’re solved by prayer and godly, virtuous people. And the few who remain within our nation’s public education system should be applauded for their courage. They are in the thick of the battle. They are in the trenches. And they just might be the last hope that many children have.