I have tremendous respect for teachers. I say this not because I have friends who chose this profession, though I do admire them, but because as a mother I have to come appreciate the importance of having a good teacher for my children. My children are at the very beginning of their, hopefully long, academic journey being in first grade and pre-kindergarten only. Yet, they already have had a series of teachers in their young lives. Today's children are incredibly well taught, or so my experience with my children's peers leads me to believe, from library programs for the infants who could barely hold up their heads, to nursery schools, pre-schools and of course a host of in home lessons from the minute they are born. I remember my own mother looking at me indulgently, if not convinced, as I read to my week old sons. She saw this as a nice thing, something that she and her friends would not have even thought to do with their own infants, but it took my children's excellent and early onset of vocabulary to have her see the benefits of this activity.
As new parents we are bombarded with information on how to help your child achieve, excel, learn from the minute you conceive. I do not know if these hours of Baby Einstein videos do anything, the makers and developers were pretty genius themselves with this financial power hitter, other than be a source of obsessive focus for the little ones so you can get a few minutes of time to do some chore that needs to be done. I do know that the way we now pay attention and help our children understand their world as they develop is turning out children who say things like "nocturnal" at 3 (and understand the meaning) and are great negotiators. I believe our parents when asked a question like "where are we going?" would have usually responded with "to your aunt's house". Today I find myself, and my friends do this too, responding with "we are going over the Tappan Zee Bridge sweets, which connects us to Rockland county and then New Jersey, that is another state since we live in New York". I laugh writing this and know I will continue in this manner because the kids seem to now expect it and short answers just beget more questions.
My respect for teachers comes from the understanding that this is exhaustive work with curious minds, draining with minds that wander as they get older, challenging for those teaching higher education. My older son has had one teacher who was amazing, she set the bar so high in Kindergarten, that I pity all the others after her. The ones he has had for 1st grade have been good but not they are not her. I also have been appalled recently at the improper use of grammar and punctuation that I have seen from some teachers....no excuse is going to make me change my mind that this is unacceptable and needs to be addressed. I commend teachers for the patience they have to bring every day and want to reward those who truly move our children toward becoming more than even we adoring parents believe our little geniuses already are. I also believe we should get rid of any that are not being the best in class (pun intended). As the school year comes to a close take a moment to thank the teacher(s) who really added to your child's road success and let's keep teaching our children to respect education and those who chose to teach.