By DR. LARRY MOSES
No one asked me but… The single most important factor in an individual’s education is access to teachers who understand the learning process and the learner.
All of us can remember the particular individuals who influenced and inspired us and gave direction to our lives. It may or may not have been a teacher. However, many found this inspiration in a favorite teacher or teachers. It was by virtue of their personalities and their love of some discipline, some book, or some kind of learning, that this educator opened the world to us, and gave life a meaning it had not had before. More importantly, that individual took an interest in us as a person.
We need these inspirational teachers to take back their profession and rescue the public education system of America. Who these teachers are do not make a difference; they ARE the difference.
The last thing we need in public education is more standardized tests. No standardized test ever inspired a child to greatness. The child who is being left behind is not the one who can’t pass a standardized test. Frogs can be trained to pass a standardized test. The child left on the shoulder of the road of education is the child who never had the benefit of having the English teacher who was impassioned with Chaucer; or the social studies teacher who can make Patrick Henry come to life; the math teacher who can make fractions exciting; the science teacher who actually allows students to mix things in his chemistry lab.
Left behind is the student who is not part of the music, art, or drama program led by a charismatic teacher who can attract students like the pied piper; the student that never has the opportunity to play under the coach who spends countless underpaid hours to allow the student to have successes they will never experience elsewhere.
The student lost along the way is the one who never associates with the Student Council advisor who sacrifices countless unpaid hours to see that homecoming works.
These are the teachers who can look a student in the eye and tell them in no uncertain terms that what the student did was wrong and unacceptable. In that case, the student will listen because these are the same teachers who have been there for the student in times of need. The teacher has revelled in the student’s successes and helped them recover from their failures.
These teachers know, along with good strong subject matter, teaching students the thinking process and the ability to come to sound judgments are the duties of the professional educators. The morals, ethics, and virtue taught in the home and community are reinforced by the examples set by these teachers.
No one asked me but… Another mass shooting has set off another firestorm of what to do about gun control in America.
What are we to do about gun control? There is a cry for new gun control laws to solve the problem.
I am not sure what law can stop the crazies. There is already a law against assault weapons. There are, in fact, over 2,500 restrictive gun laws in America today. The issue is not one of gun laws; it is one of a society that has lost its moral center.
Guns have existed in America from its foundation. The Founding Fathers placed the Second Amendment into the Constitution to protect the First Amendment.
Those who would ban the ownership of all guns point out that the Second Amendment has two parts, and the “gun nuts” only read the second part.
Part one states “A well-regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free state…” These people would contend that the “well-regulated Militia” is no longer “necessary”. They believe since America has a professional military the average American citizen no longer has a responsibility to defend the country and the Constitution. However, the Second Amendment was not only a response to an outward danger. It was also designed to protect the citizen against an oppressive domestic government.
Let me get really radical here and suggest that every able-bodied man and woman should have a military style weapon at home. All American citizens should be trained in their use and be on call 24/7 in the defense of the country. Whether you like it or not, that is the militia.
The problem is it is not “well-regulated”. That might require universal military training for all Americans. Of course, this would cause an outcry by both the liberal gun-hating left and those on the right, all of whom would object to the inconvenience it would cause in their lives.
A solution being suggested to resolve gun violence in school is the arming of teachers. I was in the classroom for eighteen years and worked with a great number of outstanding teachers. For the most part they had no business, other than the Second Amendment, owning a gun let alone carrying one on campus.
I would include myself in those who should not be armed. Prior to teaching, I had four years of service with the United States Marine Corps. During that time, I became proficient in the use of firearms. During the years in the classroom that proficiency declined.
My mindset changed. The Marine Corps mentality was to be polite to everyone but have a plan to kill them if necessary. This is not a good mindset for teachers.
There is a reason we have career policemen. Those I have had the privilege to know are great at what they do. I have no fear of them being armed because they are trained and are continually being trained in the use of firearms.
There is much more to the use of a firearm than a mere mechanical function. Teachers are not by nature of the same as policeman. When to fire a weapon and the ability to make that decision is much different from the psyche of teaching students. Where a trained policer officer sees a shooter to be eliminated, the teacher might well see a troubled student. That moment of hesitation will cost lives.
All of the laws that are being contemplated are merely band-aids to cover the open wound in American society today. America has lost its moral compass and until we right the moral ship of the country, the problem will continue.
Thought of the week… A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning.
– Brad Henry