Throughout the course of my education, I have had hundreds of teachers. I can say that, to the best of my recollection, only one didn't have passion. I had ineffective teachers, I had "bad" teachers, but nearly all of them had an intense passion for their careers, for their vocations. This deep desire to do well for their students is a unique asset in the teaching profession.
Our education system isn't perfect and there's lots of debate as to why and what we can be doing better. We hear about solutions that include more spending, new textbooks, more electronics in the classroom, and even comprehensive solutions like the Common Core. Schools are increasingly providing breakfast and after-school programming in an attempt to keep kids captivated and engaged as long as possible. Yet, it's my belief that those things won't fix the problem. Essentially, parents are failing in their basic duty to provide for and educate their children.
The more active and involved in a child's education the parents are, the better the child will perform, learn, and succeed. Teachers push the proverbial rock uphill all day, only to show up in the classroom the next morning and start all over. Students return from summer break and have to relearn things that they had already been taught. Parents aren’t doing enough to reinforce learned principles and encouraging learning outside of school hours.
Parents are the primary educators of their children. As parents, it's our job to ensure that our kids understand that learning doesn't just happen in a classroom, that reading isn't just for homework, and that education isn't a bell-to-bell endeavor. Teachers and schools are a tool in our toolbox to help educate our kids, but at the end of the day, it's up to us to reinforce learning and expand it.
This is no easy task. In fact, I sometimes have to remind myself that things I consider small, trivial, or nonevents are completely new and wonderful in the mind of Benedict. Even just the act of a crayon making a mark on paper is enough to elicit a gasp from him. It requires that I think like he does, to steer him in new directions and teach him new things.
I want to challenge the notion of education for Benedict. I want him to be a vigorous reader, an avid explorer, and perennially curious. I want him to know that education doesn't just happen in a classroom and that learning never ends. It's a lofty goal, but I know that as a parent, I have that teacherly passion for him; I want him to go far and I'll do whatever it takes to help him get there.