Wednesday, February 24, 2016

To the Reluctant Parents of the Education Major

Dear Reluctant Parents of the Education Major,

I am sure you have always encouraged your child to pursue his or her dreams, but I am also sure the dreams you had in mind brought revenue and reverence. I know you had visions. You imagined the possibility of respected positions such as physician, lawyer, or entrepreneur. You had high hopes, high expectations. You never dreamed the choice would be to become a teacher.  It sounds so minuscule, so degrading of your child's potential. Why would your son or daughter pursue a career where they had to endure constant criticism from the general public or even obtain a second job to attempt financial independence. You didn't picture them working a full day yet struggling to accomplish everything at home in preparation for work the next day. You didn't picture the mounds of paperwork, the disrespectful emails, or the emotional drain. You wanted more, so much more for your progeny.  

Your concerns are warranted. You are justified in your unsettled feelings about your child's pursuit of a degree in education.

Now, let me tell you the truth about the teaching profession: It is the hardest job to put into words, yet the easiest to capture the heart. Your son or daughter will leave the classroom tired every day, but the exhaustion will come because he or she fights the good fight: Ignorance is losing, and knowledge is winning. You see, your progeny will shape our future, mold our tomorrow, and work tirelessly to build leaders and citizens who understand what is happening in the world around them rather than being ignorant to other viewpoints and perspectives.  Your son or daughter will teach the next generation how to truly think for themselves, how to work collaboratively, how to actively listen, and how to powerfully engage in conversation.  That is education from a teacher's perspective.  That is the world beneath all of the battles over teacher pay, Common Core, standardized testing, and school choice. Under all the negative gleams the positive.  Your child will do a good work.  He or she will have life-altering experiences as a teacher, good and bad, but your child will never stop learning what it means to be human, what it means to love, what it means to hurt, and what it means to be real. Your minuscule teaching descendant will probably not be written about in history books, but he or she will be remembered in the hearts of each student that steps foot in his or her classroom.  Lives will be changed, futures altered- all because of the decision your child has made to educate young minds.

Isn't it time you got behind them?  Isn't it time you put aside your fears and gave your whole-hearted support for the days and years ahead? Invest in our tomorrow by being positive and supportive about the decision your young, independent, vibrant, and intelligent child has made. No, the decision wasn't to be a doctor or a lawyer, but the decision was even more essential and fundamental.  After all, where would our country be without passionate and dedicated teachers to lead the way?

A Proud Product of Passionate Educators

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