A little respect, perhaps?

Of all the off-color, repugnant and (most of the time) ignorant remarks that regularly make their way to the print or online editions of ‘30 Seconds,’ I must admit that those which entail “teacher-bashing,” as it’s come to be known, are by far my least favorite. Face it, one expects ignorance when it comes to politics (especially these days) or matters on a global scale (climate change, war and genocide all spring to mind), but teachers?

In this writer’s humble opinion, those who continually belittle our area educators, simply put, are lacking in education themselves. No offense. Then again, a quick perusal of the spelling (and writing in general) on ‘30 Seconds’ kind of proves my point.

The fact of the matter is this: teaching, as a profession, can be (and many times is) a thankless, discouraging and – sadly – pointless exercise in futility, thanks in part to our younger generations’ penchant for laziness and self-gratification. And it’s that laziness that’s allowed our country to fall behind in most – if not all – subject areas; math, science, you name it. Yet who do people tend to blame, once the cards are on the table?

You guessed it ... teachers.

Personally, I’ve never had much trouble determining exactly why that is, considering many parents – for some unknown reason – think of today’s teachers more as babysitters than as educators. Apparently, teachers nowadays are supposed to raise, discipline and educate 20 to 30 kids for seven to eight hours a day, five days a week and (roughly) forty weeks a year. And yes, I know, they get “all that time off,” including holidays and ... wait for it ... a whole two months in the summer. And that seems like a little much to some people, although they often fail to recognize just how much extra work goes into a good (not to mention great) teacher’s typical work week (or month ... or year).

Again, it can, at times, be a thankless job, or so I’ve heard. Me? I guess I was one of the lucky ones, because I grew up with some of the best teachers a willing student could ever ask for, from Miss Lynn (now Mrs. Hickling), my kindergarten teacher, to Mary Mayo, Don Burke, Dave Kirsch, Mr. Davis, Mr. Callahan, Mr. Curry, Mark Sands, Mrs. Maiurano ... too many to really name here.

Not to take anything away from my parents, who were instrumental (no pun intended) in my upbringing, but I most certainly would not be the musician, writer or all-in-all person I am today without each and every teacher I had growing up (even the scary ones). I’m not sure when that all changed, but you must admit, some of the comments one finds on ‘30 Seconds’ are downright laughable, if disturbing, when it comes to our area educators.

Simply put, I can’t imagine what it’s like to be a teacher in this day and age of cell phones and Facebook, glorified reality TV teen pregnancies and pill parties, and I have no urge to find out, really. Although you must admit it’s not all the kids that are lazy (actually nothing could be further from the truth). In reality, we have hundreds upon hundreds of extremely intelligent, hard-working and talented students here in Chenango County. Unfortunately, as always seems to happen, it’s a few bad apples ruining the bushel, if you get my drift.

That said, how about – instead of verbally assaulting (anonymously, no less) our schools and our teachers – we actually take some time, put in the effort, and find a solution to our educational woes? Why not get the students involved? Is it really just laziness that’s to blame? And can you really blame the teachers, who – beginning today – are there for our children day after day, year after year. In the seventeen years since I graduated, I can honestly say that my instructors, on every level (Perry Browne to Norwich High School to the Morrisville Norwich Campus), remain some of my closest friends and most trusted confidants.

To say the vast majority of our local teachers are anything but dedicated and hard-working is irresponsible, demeaning and downright disrespectful. And that’s putting it mildly.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunbrian

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