This week the first full week in May, every year, is supposed to be when we uplift and honor a certain profession.
I am embarrassed to admit the only way I know this is from a google doodle I encountered while doing a search Monday morning, considering I have close blood relatives that serve in the profession, embarrassment is an understatement. Unfortunately, I am not alone in my ignorance, the rest of American society seems to be just as unknowing as I was, considering that this profession ranks 2nd only to the medical profession in the proliferation of human life development, all of America should be embarrassed over the diamonds among us that we simply refuse to acknowledge!
The diamonds among us we simply refuse to acknowledge are TEACHERS, teachers of all subjects of education and teachers at all levels of education. Two of my relatives are college-level teachers, who when compared to their fellow teachers on the secondary, elementary and pre-school levels are adequately compensated and enjoy a degree of social acknowledgment their fellow teachers at lower levels of education do not.
Those teachers at the lower levels are arguably more important than the college professors. Considering a child’s brain is more receptive to learning during the first five years of its life than at any other point in life, and by the age of five 90% of the brain’s capacity has already developed, college professors would have no brains to further educate without the early brain development secondary, elementary and pre-school teachers provide.
Based on the number of actual or threatened teacher strikes since the successful pay-increase end to the state-wide West Virginia strike by underpaid teachers, teacher strikes are spreading fast across the country with no clear endgame in sight. A cornerstone of American society is placing great or little monetary value on things that do or don’t matter. The fact that teachers across America are having to strike to get fair pay, is an indication of the widespread blindness in America to the diamonds among us.
It is said that the best teachers are those that show you where to look but don’t tell you what to see. (Unsplash/NeONBRAND)
It is not an exaggeration to say that a teacher can change a student’s life. There are an endless amount of great teacher stories that attest to the benefits of a strong relationship between a teacher and a student. As some of the most influential role models for developing students, teachers are responsible for more than just academic enrichment. They must connect with students and reach them on multiple levels because the best teachers are committed to their students’ well-being both inside and outside the classroom.
Low-income black students who have at least one black teacher in elementary school are significantly more likely to graduate high school and consider attending college, concludes a new study co-authored by a Johns Hopkins University economist.
By forging strong relationships with students teachers are able to affect virtually every aspect of their lives, teaching them the important life lessons that will help them succeed beyond term papers and standardized tests. Teachers affect future generations in 3 important ways:
Teachers make learning fun, stimulating, and engaging providing lessons that are pivotal to a student’s academic success. Students who are more prone to misbehavior, truancy or disengagement are more dependent on an engaging teacher. They make the classroom an exciting environment for learning, holding the students’ fascination who learn best when they are both challenged and interested. Motivating students is not easy but benefits students immeasurably in the long run.
All of us have had at least one teacher that we will remember until the day we die. Most likely this is a positive memory, one that inspired the best in us. Inspiring students is key to ensuring their success and encouraging them to fulfill their potential. Students who are inspired by their teachers can accomplish amazing things, and that motivation almost always stays with them. Inspiration can also take many forms, from helping a student through the academic year and their short-term goals to guiding them towards their future career. Years after graduation, many working professionals still cite a particular teacher as the one who fostered their love of what they currently do and attribute their accomplishments to that teacher.
Teachers are often a trusted source of advice for students weighing important life decisions. Teachers’ help students pursue higher education, explore career opportunities and compete in events they might otherwise have not thought themselves able to. Students look to their teachers as mentors with experience and knowledge. Considering that one in four students drops out of school an adept teacher can notice the indications that a student is struggling and intervene before it’s too late. Aside from educating students on the hard facts about dropping out, teachers can also help assess the problem and figure out an alternative. In these particular situations, teachers undoubtedly have the ability to change and save the lives of students.
Americas’ public school teachers make 17 percent less than other comparable college graduates in other professions. This is an insult when you consider that those other professions have a far less impact on society, after all regardless of how you contribute to society you first need a well-prepared mind in order to execute your contribution to society. In other words, the people in other professions making more than teachers first had to have a teacher teach them before they could do their jobs in those other professions.
Teachers’ importance to society, their service, and commitment to human development is undeniable. They certainly deserve this week of saluting their service since their impact is felt for the entire 52 weeks of the year. If you see a teacher this week give them a handshake and a thank you. If you think of a teacher this week send them a thank you card, note, or email. And if you believe in a religion, every day this week send up a prayer thanking God for the diamonds among us that we simply refuse to acknowledge, Teachers!🔷
(This piece was originally published on Isaac Newton Farris Jr.’s blog.)