We had teacher meetings this last week, getting ready for school last week. We had school meetings, district meetings for all teachers, and district training for the secondary teachers. It was a rather long week of sitting still–pity our poor kids who must sit, sit, and sit!
I made a point of watching the teachers, and here is what I saw.
For such a mixed bag of people with a wide variety of backgrounds, this was a pretty elite group. Mind you, we are a small school district, mostly rural, yet I saw real intellectual engagement, a great deal of humor, and genuine commitment.
These are educated people from all over the U.S. who have chosen to come teach in our little district. And, for a salary which is quite a bit less than most people can live on comfortably, they devote their lives to the quasi-babysitting job of educating young people.
I enjoyed my training week of teacher meetings because of the other teachers! The small faculty at Helper Junior High School, where I teach mornings, is the funniest, most upbeat group of folk you could assemble. They have the lovely attribute of being supportive and not gossipers.
When people start on that old crank line of how badly our schools are failing, just remember this friendly image of smart, funny rural schoolteachers peacefully enduring a week of meetings, and think perhaps that our schools are in pretty good hands after all.