The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

April 24, 2013

Teaching days of yore

The Associated Press

— As in many other facets of life that have changed over the years, the occupation of a teacher is not viewed in the same light.

In a recent article in The Register-Herald, Raleigh County Schools Superintendent Jim Brown lamented that fact and weighed its tolls on the future of education.

He remembered back to a day when “Teaching was a very well-respected position. I remember when I graduated from college and got my first job, my parents were very proud that their son was going to be a teacher and in the profession.”

It’s amazing that the outlook of a profession in education has been altered to an undesirable one for promising students.

Some blame it on a lack of respect for the position.

Or blame it on teacher pay.

There are a lot of other factors, no doubt.

In an economy that has made most any job attractive, teaching still lags behind.

The respect issue is a major factor, according to Brown.

It’s a continuing challenge, to keep good qualified teachers in our schools. Of course, respect starts at home. A parent is not doing his child any favors by challenging authority at every turn.

Sure, there needs to be accountability.

But to constantly badger folks in leadership positions, especially teachers, teaches a whole other lesson to the child, both verbal and subliminal.

Like ‘You don’t have to listen to what they’re saying,’ or ‘They don’t know what they’re talking about.’

Heading off to a classroom with a chip placed firmly on their shoulders against authority is not a good way to start the day for our students.

Brown stated “There’s just a disconnect in today’s society.”

One of the sad residual effects of this whole issue is that our children suffer, without a passionate throng of eager educators waiting in the wings, willing and able to take the place of retiring teachers who have spent their lives pouring knowledge into our communities, preparing our youngsters for college or the workplace.

Competition for jobs creates a better talent pool to choose from.

While Gov. Tomblin and the legislature are addressing education reform, Brown warned “the focus has to come back to teaching and learning. That’s what’s going to change the face of West Virginia.”

We need to take these issues seriously, addressing them accordingly.