Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Planting Trees

This being my very first statement on my very own blog, I wondered, “What is my message to the world?” It turns out I have several messages and they will appear over time. I will begin with this important message: more older people should consider teaching in public schools.

Oh, I know, older people will say they have done their duty with kids (by raising a set of their own), but they could do even more for their society and mankind in general, by stepping into a classroom from time to time and taking over a standard lesson. It would be good for the kids, for the teacher and for themselves if they did.

I would not ask anyone to do what I have not done, so let me say that I have put in about ten years with kids from the sixth grade onward. And I treasure most of the time I spent in the classroom. Teaching is very honorable and very important. Teachers get too little praise for their efforts.

People in their retirement years who teach children are reminiscent of the Greek proverb: “A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” I was helped to ‘plant trees ‘ in one of the finest middle schools of the State of California and am grateful for the opportunity. I was also grateful to be counted among the teachers of this successful institution. I will never see these kids grow up to take their places in society, but I helped them grow.

Now, I will admit it was complicated to get into the classroom. I had to prove I had a degree from a reputable college; and I had to take a test (the CBEST). I was only 59 at the time and had not studied for the test at all. The hardest part was finding the correct room at LaVerne University where the test was offered. The actual test was no challenge. It was designed to be passed.

Next, I had to be fingerprinted by the local
fuzz. I had no record and I had been living at the same house for some years so my fingerprints raised no questions. Then I had to learn how to get along with kids. My wife, Evie, was a real teacher and a good one, so I had a fine role model. However, I was used to running factories where workers are hired to be big and tough, and where I was in charge of everything. Being a modest individual contributor in a school facility took some getting used to. So did dealing with young people instead of hardened adults.

On purpose I made changes in my life style a couple days of the week so I could teach kids. And I became aware of boys and girls whose morals were rock solid. These were the kids you could confidently put in charge of the entire operation. It was an honor to know some of these young people. I grew as a result of the experience of teaching.

Yep, older people should definitely consider working in school with today’s kids. My teaching days were truly golden. Besides, I learned a bunch of things.

1 comment:

Brule said...

Nice little blog.