KEEPING THE FAITH: School’s out

mcbrayer

Ronnie McBrayer

Published: Thursday, May 30, 2013 at 11:29 AM.

Curtain climbers. Yard monkeys. Cherubs. Whippersnappers. Ankle biters. Urchins. I don’t know what you call them, but our children have been turned loose on the world. School is out for summer (at least it ends this week here where I live). By the end of summer I’m afraid my description of these little animals will be a bit stronger. I’ll be ready for them to return to the classroom.

Still, I appreciate their euphoria. I can recall the butterflies that formed in my stomach as summer break approached each year: “No more pencils, no more books, and no more teachers’ dirty looks.” It was sweet release. Now, this does not mean my summers were always easy. I worked on my uncle’s poultry farm every summer from the time I was 12 or so until graduation.

And ironically, it was those hot, stinking chicken houses that convinced me to stay in school and get a college education. But as a kid anything — anything — was better than sitting in a dull classroom doing algebra problems, memorizing Lord Byron, and studying vocabulary words. Even if that meant doing hard labor shoveling, well, you know what.

So, I still get giddy this time of year just thinking about escaping for the summer. But I’m not the only one — nor are my children. The real happiness is found in empty classrooms where teachers are dancing with unmitigated joy.

At least I know my sons’ teachers are dancing. These dear souls will probably be sitting somewhere in a retirement home 60 years from now, telling horror stories about those McBrayer boys. Preachers’ kids are the worst, you know. I hope their teachers don’t tear up their contracts this summer and refuse to return.

It’s been said that if teachers were paid like professional athletes, and if athletes were paid like teachers, our society would be a much better place. Amen to that. But money is not the reason these men and women give themselves to the classroom.

Sure, teachers would take a raise (or two), but they teach for other reasons: They teach because they love working with children. They teach because they are drawn to a particular subject. Or they teach because as a student, they themselves were greatly influenced by a teacher. In fact, influence seems to be the real reason teachers teach.



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