Archived Story

Letter: True professionals

Published 10:51am Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For kids at play the world of pretend and escape from the ordinary is wonderful. They emulate characters, local authority and situational settings. Cowboys, army, firemen, space explorers and even playing school house on occasion.

Now I am nearly 50 years past those simple escapes and I have been through the real jobs and careers, as most of have been, and I am playing school once again. Did I say playing? Not on your life!

I accepted the responsibility of substitute teaching a few years ago deciding I had the time and some small life experience to give. I attended school; my kids enjoyed school, how tough could it be? How naïve!

First thing we should know, a school is a building. Teachers are the liaison, referee, guide, mentor, etc. … Oh yes, also make sure that the content and enthusiasm remain exciting, interesting and current to the methods of instruction that are most useful to our community and world. To maintain these standards the teachers are in a constant state of catch up learning and professional and self adjustment. Time and preparation are nearly at odds with each other being commodities of the rarest sort. Material supplies in mass quantities dry up faster than the staff can apply for or retrieve them. The class rooms take personality through this assault and the teachers somehow pull their lessons out of credible sources and are at least ready to meet a classroom of 25-35 students. Each student is a random element individual that can take any careful plans on a journey of mind boggling proportions and mythic wonder, both good and not so.

The academic season will start and the building will be there. The teachers are amazing to watch, as they are prepare an instructional feast for us to attend. I am not in the same league with these professionals (though we, you and I, are all instructors of a sort). I have had a child’s view and that of a parent, and now to be on the other side of the teacher’s desk I am more than over whelmed by the Herculean task faced every day.

My sense of values has changed dramatically due to this exposure and the time I am spending today playing teacher.

 

David M. Chao

Austin


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