In one of my favorite pieces of Southern literature, “To Kill a Mockingbird,” dad and lawyer Atticus Finch explains that “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view ... until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”
As I walked into my child’s elementary school recently, where at 7:30 a.m. teachers were coming into their classrooms to be thoroughly prepared for the students who wouldn’t arrive until almost a full hour and a half later, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if legislators – those willing to vote to decrease education spending and freeze teacher pay – would be required to spend 14 days teaching. Not one day, not two, 14.
In a very real sense, they would be faced with a heartbreaking (and completely unnecessary) choice of continuing to pursue their passion of teaching or providing financial stability for their families. And they would experience a week of exhilarating but emotionally and physically exhausting work only to face a weekend of more grading and planning and report-making.
As a teacher educator, I am humbled, astounded and immensely proud every day of the teacher candidates we manage to keep, preparing them for one of the toughest yet most rewarding professions anyone can have. I stand amazed at their vision and perseverance; I am simply appalled that we cannot do better by them.
Kelly Morris Roberts
Associate Professor of English Program Coordinator, Meredith College