Rooster Tales: Before Teacher Contracts are Let

By on March 15, 2010 with No Comments

Rooster Tales by Mert CarlsonWhat Do Teachers Make? This was an interesting email received by one of our former teachers and coaches from many moons (can’t count them all) ago.  In fact he was your administrator, shop teacher, and my coach who led us to the very first undefeated football championship way back in 1961-62 season.  In his two years of coaching football at Wausa, we only lost one game.

So, the story begins as the dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life, how exciting!  I’m not sure who or how these dinner guests were assembled, however, for the sake of this lesson let’s all play coy and listen in.   GOSH, they were talking about education and its values.  Do you ever hear that discussed in Wausa?  At a dinner table, bar, restaurant, church, cattle yard, golf course?

One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education. He argued, “What’s a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?”

To stress his point he said to another guest; “You’re a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?”

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, “You want to know what I make? (She paused for a second, then began…)

“Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor winner.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time, when their parents can’t make them sit for 5, without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make? (She paused again and looked at each and every person at the table)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to write and then I make them write. Keyboarding isn’t everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God given brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to know about English, while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we live in the United States of America .

Finally, I make them understand that, if they use the gifts they were given, work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life. (Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing money isn’t everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no attention, because they are ignorant. You want to know what I make? I MAKE A DIFFERENCE. What do you make, Mr. CEO?

His jaw dropped, he went silent.

 A profound answer!!!   The END.

While we can all imagine what discussion ensued thereafter, you could tell Bonnie was proud of her profession and knew that the key to a student’s future was in her hands.   The challenges in each and every decade with education don’t seem to go away with newer high-tech gadgetry as the distressed family unit increasingly creates a balance to those gains.

When we think the costs for education are running ‘out of control’, it is but a smidgen when you compare the costs of ignorance, self destructive lifestyles, and lives bordering on crime and family abuse.  I think we should be thankful for those that wear the armor, battle the challenges head on, and stagger through a day filled with insubordinate students, phone calls from parents backing their children’s lackluster attitudes, and fulfilling administrative duties and details with paperwork piled to the max!
Bonnie, like the rest of our teachers are Super-People and do a Super Job.  Let’s make sure they are rewarded for such excellence before the doors may be closed forever.  What a shame, if or when, that day arrives.

While I don’t know the expense of professional daycare in Wausa, I do know that in the cities if each family had to pay for 2, 3, 4, or more children at the same fiscal-rate while in school, that they would be paying in daycare, a family would collapse into bankruptcy.  And yet, do we see an uproar with those ‘out of sight’ expenses?  (No, because that is your selected choice and there aren’t other parents helping to pay in when they don’t have children in daycare, in reverse to the taxpayer system applied toward school-costs.)   I wished that I could have received ‘day care pay’ per child since I averaged 24 students per class over the last ten years of my teaching experience, but that couldn’t happen as previously stated.

So why even mention the comparison?  Each taxpayer is getting the best ‘bang for the buck’ with our small, but over-achieving student/teacher body.  Wait for the day when they will be replaced by robots; will that make our students into robots?  When we replace the delicate, human interconnectivity with our students and parents, we’re spray painting the windshield to their future.

Even all your personal teachers like mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coaches and your spiritual leaders/teachers all fall into the same category with Bonnie.

“Thanks”, (a retired) Stan Hansen, for sharing this from Mtn. Home, Arkansas.   Formerly a Wausa Teacher-Coach-Admin., I owe Stan so much for what he did for me, and yes like the other teachers, so undeservedly, underpaid and under-appreciated.
And, “Thanks”, to Josh for posting this column.   Now, let’s get back to saving our dear feathered friends, the Pheasants!

Category: Rooster Tales

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