Pharos-Tribune

Columns

June 15, 2014

ENGLE: Why would anyone be a teacher?

“Dust in the wind, all we are is dust in the wind.”

Kansas, a classic rock group, released “Dust in the Wind” in 1977. The beautiful tone and message have been popular for decades. I believe these lyrics are so wrong for so many reasons.

When I meet individuals for the first time and they find out I am a teacher, the usual response is, “I could never be a teacher.” When they find out I have taught for 34 years, many people cannot believe it.

People wonder why anyone would want to be a teacher. Today’s teenagers are so arrogant, so out of touch with adults in the real world, so angry at everyone who tries to help them. Teachers are blamed for everything our teens are doing today including failing. (By the way, they are not failing; our testing system is failing them, next week’s column theme.)

My answer to these criticisms of our young people: “Were we any different when we were teens?” The hopes and dreams of teenagers of 34 years ago are not much different than teens today.

Throughout history, teenagers have questioned the world around them. Today, many teens look to Hollywood and the music industry for guidance in how they act, look, and talk. We adults on the front lines of this war do not need a room with a chalkboard. We are teaching any young person who observes us.

My dad, my first coach, showed me the desire it takes to be a good teacher. After an 8- to 10-hour work day, he would come home, put on his coaching clothes, grab his mitt, and haul most of the neighbor kids to the closest ball diamond for a two-hour practice. Why did he do it? (He coached for many years after my brothers and I had gone on to other pursuits.) He did it because he enjoyed teaching a sport with the secondary goal of showing young people what it takes to achieve goals.

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