I am a teacher. Even though in my present position I very seldom have direct contact with students other than a passing word in the hallway, I believe I will always be a teacher. It is also my belief that God made me in such a way that the only way I can be truly happy is to believe on some level that I am impacting the learning of our young people no matter my present job title or position. In spite of this, it is not my belief that I was a great teacher and to suggest such would be an insult to all of the truly great ones whom I have had the privilege of working with over the years and the many truly gifted ones who taught me as I grew up. However, I like to believe that my students and those around me could always sense the care I had for them and the passion their learning meant to me. This is to me the “calling” that those who should be in public education almost universally refer to when speaking about why they went into teaching, the feeling that educating students is what they were meant to do.
Teaching is not special in this regard. I hope that should I ever need serious medical attention the nurses and doctors who care for me are the type who can think of literally no other career, other than healing, which they could ever truly be satisfied doing. The mechanic who works on my car, I hope is one who is utterly fascinated by the inner workings of machines and truly enjoys his career above all others. Truly, you can always tell these types of people who are in the “right” career as it is not really a job where they simply make money; it is woven into the very fabric of who they are as a person. Whether talking about automobiles, medical problems, spiritual struggles, or any subject of real significance to me and those I care about, the opinion of the people I know who are “called” into their profession is the opinion I seek out and respect.
As many of you know who “follow” me online, I am very supportive of the upcoming Initiative 42 measure. To say that I have tried to put out information about the issue might be very much an understatement. In fact, many will no doubt look forward to the election on Tuesday for the simple reason they will no longer hear about it any longer. However, I am “unique” (perhaps again very much an understatement) in that I felt the issue was important enough to speak out openly and vocally in my support. But, there are many others in the education field who do not have my same personality traits and for whatever reason might not be comfortable sharing their thoughts in the same fashion I have. Many of these same people who you have not necessarily heard from are far better educators and teachers than I could ever hope to be and simply because they have not spoken out on a political topic does not mean that they do not have an opinion.
Keeping this in mind, as the work week comes to a close and the weekend approaches; I know that the vast majority of people in Mississippi who plan to vote on Tuesday will pause to make their decisions about what votes they will be casting. The majority of these people have without a doubt been too busy in their own professions and lives to necessarily read up on this education initiative themselves. If you find yourself in this category and you are unsure of how exactly you feel about fully funding public school education in Mississippi and Initiative 42, I would ask that you seek out the counsel of the educator or teacher who you personally know to be caring, effective, and passionate about their life’s work. Let them know that you are asking in an open, non-argumentative way so that you truly get their perspective on it, just as you might ask the best mechanic you know his opinion before buying a car or as you might ask the nurse you respect most which doctor to choose for your medical condition.
It is my belief that if you ask such an educator, whom you believe truly has the heart of a teacher, with a spirit of openness; they will help you to reach the decision that is best for the children of our communities whom have devoted their lives to caring for and educating. For the spiritual questions which affect me and my family, I would go to the minister I felt to be the most God-fearing man I knew. I simply ask that you do the same on this educational issue as well. The information is out there about the vote, and I hope that many of you will read up on it. But still, please do not skip the step of asking the teacher in your life whose opinion you respect the most.
Thank you and I hope you and your family have a wonderful weekend.
“Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.” – Proverbs 15:22 (ESV)