Friday, October 17, 2008

Hurting Teachers

Yesterday hundreds of teachers were asked to leave their students and their schools because a certain school district could no longer afford to pay them. Those with daily direct access to kids are being turned away from their jobs because of poor financial decisions made by administrators who do not have daily direct access to kids. I’m sure I sound cynical today, but let me be clear: I am hurting for these teachers and their students. The principals were given the pink slips yesterday informing them of which teachers would be asked to leave. They had the ability to choose when to best inform teachers of this decision, but were given the suggestion to wait until the end of the day. Unfortunately, for some unknown reason, a few principals decided to go ahead and inform teachers in the morning forcing them to pack up their belongings and leave while a classroom full of stunned children watched in silence.

What is happening in our society that these types of decisions are being made at the expense of children? When did administrators in some school districts forget that their most important job is to take care of children? Why do teachers and students have to pay the cost of poor financial decisions made at upper levels?

I know I don’t know all the reasons behind why it seemed best to let teachers go in order to save this school district’s budget. I don’t know if it is agonizing for the administrators to even have to follow through on this decision. I wonder if they are asking the same questions I am asking. I pray that they are. I pray that the pain and confusion of the last few weeks will guide some to be more responsible in the future. I pray that from now on decisions that are best for kids can be made.

As a teacher, I find myself thankful that this is not the school district I work for. Do I always agree with the decisions that my administrators make? No. Am I supported and are my kids taken into consideration when decisions are made? For the most part, yes. Am I working in a place that leaves me feeling fulfilled and purposeful at the end of the day? Yes! I am thankful that I don’t have to come to work everyday wondering if my job is at risk because poor financial decisions were made elsewhere.

As a future parent, I find myself praying now that Taylor and I will be able to make wise education decisions for our children. As we are both teachers, we see the positives and the negatives in the public school system. I pray that we will have faith that the Lord will put us where our children need to be. I pray we will take confidence in knowing the Lord is in control of our children’s future not the schools. Dealing with our children’s education is still years down the road, but the current situation had me thinking and praying about the future.

So, today I am sad for these teachers. I hurt for the students that had to literally watch their teachers walk out of their lives. I pray that the Lord will quickly guide the teachers to new positions with new students to touch. I pray the Lord will redeem the situation in this school district so that the needs of students can be put first.

Thank you, Lord, for being in control. Thank you for your provision. Provide protection and comfort for those hurting right now. Give wisdom and clarity to all those making decisions that will impact students-present and future. Thank you, Lord, for putting me in a place where I can thrive and touch students’ lives without the fear of losing my job. Thank you, Father, for children! May teachers everywhere boldly make a daily difference in the lives of each of their students!