This is an actual journal entry, dated October 5, 2010. It is for my sisters and brothers out there who teach.
When I was very little, I thought the worst job in the world was to be a ship's captain. I mean, if the ship went down, wasn't there a law or something that said the captain had to go down with it?
The image haunted me. The picture of a captain standing on the deck of his ship and the waves rose and closed over his head.
But like many childhood fancies, this thought submerged beneath the waves of my consciousness. Until now.
The Captain and his Ship have resurfaced.
But this time, I am the captain.
The ship is our current education system.
Now, I am not a political person at all. At all. But what am I supposed to do?
I am on this ship with children, our children, for godsakes, and their ship is going down. There is little money to keep it afloat, but if I don't teach them how to swim and swim fast, they will go down, too.
I should get off this ship. Others have. Others look at those of us still standing on the decks of our ships and shake their heads at our foolishness, our cockiness....thinking that we can still make a difference. I should get off while I can, before it kills me. Before the waves crash over my head and take us all down.
But there are Children on my ship. And if I don't teach them how to build a raft out of deck chairs or how to swim ('cause some of them don't know for cryin out loud) and there are sharks out there and if I don't teach them where the soft spots are (on the nose) they will never know.
They will get eaten.
And then I understood.
The captain doesn't stay on the sinking ship because there is a law that makes him.
The captain stays out of personal honor. Simply put, it is the honorable thing to do.
We must be there for the children, because they are the most valuable resource we have.
(Wait...that makes them sound like somethings instead of someones.)
They are all we have.
So...to the rest of the crew out there, I am waving to you, from the deck of my ship. No wait, I am saluting you.
I am not sure how to keep our boats afloat, but I stay because someone has to.
Because kids are worth it.
Because it is the least I can do.
End of journal entry.
On Friday, October 8, a gunman hopped the fence at the elementary school next to mine and began firing on the children at recess. Due to the brave efforts of the teachers (who protected the kids) and the construction workers (who tackled the shooter) no one died.
Folks, I'll admit I don't get out much, but teachers are some of the best people I know. We are dealing with a crisis in education, and teachers are on the front lines. With your children. Trying to do what's right for them and, in the case of the teachers at Kelly, protecting children with their own lives.
So go out and hug a teacher. Tell them that what they do makes a difference.
Because it does.