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Thanking God for teachers

8/27/2014

I truly admire teachers. Jim and I always were proud to say there have been and still are teachers in our family.

I truly admire teachers. Jim and I always were proud to say there have been and still are teachers in our family.

Starting in the 1920s, my mother taught in a one-room country school the fall after she graduated from high school. Jim's dad taught in public schools nearly all his life, beginning also in the 1920s, and continued until he reached retirement age. In fact, he was principal of Ness City grade school the year Jim graduated from high school.

My brother, James, became a history teacher at a college in Moorehead, Minn. Jim's brother, Clifford, was the basketball coach in Collyer and later taught woodworking in Cawker City.

My sister Kathy's daughter, Paige, and son, Andy, also are teachers. Our daughter, Shirleen, is a special-ed teacher at Buhler High School. Last but not least, our grandaughters, Daniell, Tiffany and Andrea, are in the teaching profession.

I started comparing the difference between when I started school in the 1930s and the present day. Here's my list: Red Chief tablet, spiral notebook, arithmetic, calculator, penmanship, computer, encyclopedia, Internet, lunch box, cafeteria, home phone, cellphone. I'm sure there are more.

Do we take teachers for granted? The dictionary says "take for granted" means: 1. Fail to appreciate through our familiarity. 2. Assume that (something) is true.

Do we believe they are just teaching subjects such as math and science? Are they teaching what the children need to learn to be ready to go out into the world to live, to work and raise families? Do we think about the hours they put in each day, each evening and on weekends? Do we ever tell them honestly how much we appreciate the wonderful job they do?

I ran across this interesting article titled "The Teaching Applicant" in the Senior Lifestyle Digest, and I want to share it with you.

After being interviewed by the school administration, the teaching prospect said, "Let me see if I've got this right: You want me to go into that room with all those kids, correct their disruptive behavior, observe them for signs of abuse, monitor their dress habits, censor their T-shirt messages, and instill in them a love for learning. You want me to check their backpacks for weapons, wage war on drugs and sexually transmitted diseases, and raise their sense of self-esteem and personal pride. You want me to teach them patriotism and good citizenship, sportsmanship and fair play, and how to register to vote, balance a checkbook and apply for a job. You want me to check their heads for lice, recognize signs of antisocial behavior, and make sure they all pass the state exams. You want me to provide them with an equal education regardless of their handicaps, and communicate regularly with their parents by letter, telephone, newsletter and report card. You want me to do all this with a piece of chalk, a blackboard, a bulletin board, a few books, a big smile, and a starting salary that qualifies me for food stamps. You want me to do all this, and then you tell me I can't pray?"

This ending of the above article hurts me. What has happened in our country? We demand much from those teaching our young people, and we don't allow them to pray? We live in a free country; our forefathers fought for their freedom. What can be done to fix this problem? My suggestion is to pray common sense returns and prayer will be allowed everywhere, especially in schools.

Remember to thank the teachers we all admire in our local system.

Opal Flinn is a member of the Generations advisory hcommittee.

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