Back to school means back to learning for thousands of students across the region.
And it means back to the classroom for hundreds of teachers who are educating the next generation.
What a huge challenge today’s teachers face.
As they instruct their classes, they must do their best to meet the expectations of administrators, the school board, parents and the community, not to mention all the mandates placed upon them by state and federal law.
They must deal with students who, growing up in the digital age, likely have shorter attention spans and face all sorts of distractions – smartphones, social media, gaming and the like – that compete with the time necessary to learn.
They must deal with students who, growing up in today’s society, might be more likely to come from split families, or who must deal with family problems, including lack of adequate income.
They must deal with students whose minds might be elsewhere – sports, extracurricular activities, after-school jobs and the like.
They must deal with students who, plain and simple, don’t want to learn, who show a lack of respect, or who just try to get by with minimal effort.
They must deal with the show-offs, class clowns and troublemakers.
They must deal with kids who are unprepared for this stage of school.
How on earth do they manage it all?
Our observation is that there are plenty of successful teachers out there, and they have developed outstanding skills to motivate young people to learn what they need to know.
These teachers are positive.
They are optimistic.
They are flexible.
They have the right demeanor – genuine and approachable.
They have a sense of humor.
They have a way of relating to students that wins respect.
They have the answer when a student asks, “I’ll never need to use this; why do I have to learn it?”
They go above and beyond in providing for students – by paying for certain supplies out of their own pocket, for example.
They watch out for their students.
In other words, they care.
Students would do well to learn all they can from teachers like these.
Parents should support such teachers, too.
We recall a time when parents always supported teachers. They were on the same team, so to speak, in the combined effort to educate young ones – the teachers in the classroom, the parents in the home.
Unfortunately, from what we’ve heard, some parents might not be as supportive of teachers as in the past.
Parents might not have the inclination. Busy parents just might not have the time.
As the new school year dawns, a good resolution is for parents – and the community at large – to do all they can to support local teachers as they shoulder the responsibility of educating today’s students.
The region’s next generation depends on it.