Sunday, July 1, 2012

Dedicated to my friends who are committed to the future

cool end of the year books the teaching staff made of Taj
Could not believed they made such an inspiring book at the very end of the school year
 So our children have been out of school for about a week now in Syracuse. And all I have to say is ......TEACHERS ARE AWESOME !
When they do things like this , parents get to see what our child's year looked like

You may be wondering how did I go from vacation to exclamation . Let me tell you . My son is a handful.  No , a cupful . Nahhhh more like a jarful of pure unadulterated energy. Sometimes potential, sometimes  kinetic.  Those that can help him shift between the two are golden in my eyes , and for some reason teachers seem to be the best at it . I am his mom , I love him to death.  But this past week , I wondered - Oh my goodness , does he act like this in school?  What do they do when they get frustrated , because if he says 'Fine , ok !!!!!!!!" on more time ... I swear!!!! So , I then realized that they  have him , plus 20 or more (make that 25 or more in some schools) other children to deal with , and it makes you want to ring a bell for them or something so that they can get their angel wings.

Alas , teachers have gotten a bad rap this year.  We've had numerous stories of monstrous people berating and belittling children , particularly those with special needs, and rightfully so have called them out for their heinous behavior.  And while I wont get into the conversation about our ability to remove those teachers, I dare say other teachers should not be painted with the same color brush.  I have experienced teacher who didn't give a damn , wasn't from my community and did not care about the children who were in front of them . But there were also those who went above and beyond , made sure we were giving it our all , maintained a level of excellence in teaching and learning and cared about the children's lives who were in front of them,.

These teachers are rarely in the news.  My second grade teacher didn't make the cover of the New York Times even though she checked on me no mater what grade I was in in Elementary , to make sure I was "wearing my spectacles" to satisfy my mother's request when I was 7.  My son has had some excellent teachers and therapists since early intervention, particularly when we moved to Syracuse. This year , his teacher was courageous enough to tell us how he was having a hard time understanding Tajee and hoped we could help him think of ways to facilitate easing the communication barrier...along with his speech therapists. I say courageous because how often do we admit to "not knowing something .  His goal was having Taj learn , not whether or not he could save face . Awesome .

As a nation , we tell our kids  - Education is so important . A mind is terrible thing to waste. Or my grandmother's favorite, "education is the great equalizer".  However , we don't support the people who are responsible for giving our children the very education we literally hang their future's on.   I am sorry , but in a country where we are so quick to support private companies and their profits of billions of dollars because they EARNED it , how can we be ok with the fact that the average starting salary for teachers are less then 40,000 dollars a year but they need master degrees and certifications in order to do their job?  What happened to the notion of "EARNED" there.  The supports such as computers , smart boards ., whiteboards , markers, art projects , musical instruments, BOOKS- for god sakes, have found their way OUT of the classroom or in only one or two specialized classrooms .  How are we expecting folks to teach , when buildings are dilapidated or too old to properly maintain a wifi connection - but still want teachers to teach?  But guess what teachers want to know ... if their students are LEARNING . And THAT my friends , will always be the sign of a good teacher .  And I am sorry .  Way more teachers understand that they are doing their best to foster learning in very mediocre conditions and yet we are coming down on them like a sledgehammer , further lowering morale.  That's not copacetic in the least.

Our teachers need our support .  Our principals and administrators need our support. And by that I mean more than an appreciation luncheon. ( Even though folks love those - especially when you get the good cooks to bring a dish LOL ) . No , seriously . I am talking about you, your friends sending a letter , email , postcard whatever of support . Not only recognizing the amazing work teachers do , but also letting policymakers know that teachers need the appropriate tools in order for children to learn.  So while I am sure that our children's educators , appreciated the magnets, cards , and baked goods we gave them at the end of the year , I challenge you to give them one more gift and that is - the gift of solidarity . Send your stories to your Superintendents ( you should be able to find their email and addresses on the school districts website ) , Governors ( if you are in NY ,  you can go here )
and  Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Education ( Contact info is here:

Tell them your stories of great teachers and principals in public education , tell them what your classrooms look like and what they need in order for our teachers to continue to do their best work.  Let me know if you did !!!!!


  1. What an amazing tribute to educators, Talina. I love a good "call to action". Well done! Gwen

  2. Thank you kindly , Gwen. I know lots of parents are feeling hopeless and helpless around education . So time to rally the troops .. in a positive way ***