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PRESENCIA

Individuals who are not expecting to receive the Nobel price of education. People who mange to see beyond their own lives.

Por David Alberto Muñoz

Día de publicación: 12-Mayo-2008

I’ve know the maestro for quite sometime, almost my entire life. Through the years the figure of the teacher has been the symbol of respectability, dedication and frustration for some. He is always there willing to help in spite of the fact he is tired, hasn’t eaten or is his vacation time.

All of the sudden the administrators come by and decide to cut some programs. What is the criterion? How can they do such a thing? The arts are going to be the first to go and most likely “they” believe music, art and physical education is all a waste of time. We don’t need to teach our kids about Bach and Beethoven. Who cares if a first grader knows the difference between Frida Kalo and Helen Frankenthaler. Some of us don’t even know that.

Teachers have feelings like the person next to you. Educators are struggling with our kids in order to get them into High School or better yet, College. Every single day they get up early, usually before five am. On the days they have duty they need to be at school earlier and nobody cares they have kids of their own to send to school or a husband who wakes up with a hangover from the night before wishing to disappear.

From the moment they enter the school their time is not their own. There are over 30 children in each of the seven to eighth classes they have to teach each day, plus the inconvenience of listening to one another complain about their working conditions.

How can we forget the principals who in their own way want to bring better teachers and are pushed to do the unimaginable: Pretend everything is ok!” I wonder how many of them have ever been in front of more than 100 kids at once. They are all whining, yelling, complaining, and basically screaming for the lack of a better word. It appears it is all about their life. Maybe someone should tell them life is not easy.

Teachers need to prepare for the next period.

“The superintendent is coming down and we need to be prepared.”

She is a woman that doesn’t know about Jaime, a kid who gets beat every day by his alcoholic father, or Louisa, whose hands are so dry Mrs. Sampson gave her some cream and the child barely knew what she was feeling. Perhaps Mike could be a good example of the administration’s ability at the district that decided to take away from children the only moment in which they can experience the joy of music, the gift of art, the reward of physical education.

“We don’t want to spend money on useless teachers.”

“I don’t want my tax payers’ money being wasted.”

“A lot of teachers are loosing their jobs.”

“Oh I forgot we are at war!”

It is incredible they way individuals deal with every day obstacles. But I need to say that our children are being taken care of by dedicated teachers. Individuals who are not expecting to receive the Nobel price of education. People who mange to see beyond their own lives. Searching not for the recognition but for the accomplishment of knowing they made a difference in a child’s life.

“Mr. Donlon.”

“Mrs. Leander.”

“Mrs. Blackburn.”

I wish everyone knew what I know; teachers who day after day deal with our kids. It is not easy! Just tell me being a parent is the easiest thing to do in the world! Then I will tell you we don’t pay them enough; we abused them, and sometimes we do not take into consideration their needs not only as human beings but mostly as educators, plain mentors. They’re the ones that deal with the temperament of my daughter. They are the ones that have to prepare lesson after lesson for the inconvenience of Mrs. McGukin, who decided she did not want to come to work today and send her kids to the class of Mrs. López, who by the way has been in a concert every day of this week, making the programs, establishing proper lines of communication between parents and teachers, and in addition, being herself if that is possible, all at the same time.

“How can we help our kids? “

“Are we really preparing them for the XXI century?”

“I think it is all a bunch of bullshit…”

Teachers do what they do best: teach.

Usually they are never appreciated. This year there was the week of appreciation and they got a taco and a soda at Chipotle’s. Better than nothing!

But all of the sudden we realize life must go on. Nothing stops. Thousand if not millions of kids will walk through their classrooms. You will love some, and you will hate some. It is all part of human life. However, we can never deny the great value of teachers. They teach, deal with, get angry, disciplined, and sometimes love their children more than their own parents. For at the end nothing really matters but the memories draw in those children’s minds. It is the memory of education.

“Mr. Hamilton told me I could play the guitar very well!”

“Mrs. Bennett said I could get a scholarship for college.”

“Yes, Mr. Xander told me I could do anything I wanted to do. And I did. I wrote this column saying thank you to all my teachers, for no one really knows how great they are until time passes away.”

Thank you Mrs. Murray, Mr. Jimenez, maestra Tere, gracias for what you did for me. You ignored my stupid comments, you pressured me to be better, you made me believe in myself. Although not may people will recognize it, you all had a part on what I am today. Therefore I just want say: Thank you! Thank you! Muchas gracias! For life goes on and nothing never really stops.

Gracias maestros. If you don’t get it, go to hell…

© David Alberto Muñoz, Ph.D.
Faculty Philosophy & Religious Studies
Chandler-Gilbert Community College
2626 East Pecos Road
Chandler, Arizona 85225-2499
(480) 732-7173
david.munoz@cgcmail.maricopa.edu


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