Thoughts for Future Teachers

I am not studying to be a teacher so I can't tell you what kind of teacher I want to be. But I can tell future teachers what I know about being employed in a state/public agency as you will be once you become a teacher.

1. First of all....try not to get frustrated. It will be VERY hard not to but it takes up valuable energy that you will need to work "around" the system.

2. Know your elected school board members. And your senators and representitives, your congressman. Study them just like you study for an exam. Know their positions, their backgrounds, their interests, find out everything you can about them. And then support those that you feel have the same vision for education that you do. Meet those candidates, talk with them, ask questions. It's your right and your responsibilty as a teacher.

3. Your students don't have a voice. But you do and their parents do. Use this voice and find those parents that share your concerns and expectations from your respective education department. Parents vote, grandparents vote, aunts and uncles vote. Make these people your army.

4. Go to the statehouse and watch your elected officials in action. These are the men and women who make the laws that dictates your salary, your insurance,and what text books you can or cannot use among other things. Just remember...there's two things that's hard to watch, how laws are passed and how sausage is made. Just so you know....

5. Go to the state website and click on "legislation". Here you can find the bills up for consideration and what committee the bill will first appear. And if you have problems with a certain bill, call the members of that committment, send them letters and emails. Go visit their local office and tell their staff of your concerns. Do this as many times as you can. It truly is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.

6. Make friends with the local paper's political reporter. Invite he or she to your classroom to speak. Get your students interested in freedom of the press and in the legislative process. Also, the reporters know who the "players" are on the school board and in the legislature and are usually VERY helpful in promoting a worthy cause.

7. Numbers count. Rally your fellow teachers and PTA members. Call your friends. Build a phone tree. When an important vote is coming up on an issue of particular concern, activate the phone tree. Each elected official is aware of how many people contact their office. They have people just to keep up with that because those numbers can be converted into votes back home when that official runs for re-election.

8. If your elected official disappoints and does not do the job they were sent to do....find another one. Look around the community, find that certain someone who has what it takes to do the right thing. And then help that person win.

Yes, all of this takes time and hard work. But so does beating your head against a brickwall which is what you'll be doing when your classroom doesn't have the equipment, books, technology or safe structure in which to learn what they need to be a productive member of society. Think about that.

And if you need some help...call me!


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