There are a few unique professions today which strategically contribute to the very fiber and fabric of our country.

The farmer has always been known as “the backbone of America.” The military man holds the security of the nation in his hands and the preacher determines the moral and spiritual temperature of the land. Their paycheck is small, their contribution is great.

In the same company with this elite group should be found the teacher, but all too often this is not the case.

“Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.” The familiar old adage reflects how many feel about the teaching profession. It gets about as much respect as Rodney Dangerfield once got.

However, in Europe and Canada, teachers are considered to be more in the same league with doctors and lawyers. Perhaps the value we place on teachers in America says something about the worth we place on children.

In Oriental countries, teachers are respected and revered almost to a mystical level. There is a special intrigue associated with their teachers, kind of how Americans view professional athletes or celebrities.  

The teaching profession, though, deserves to be in the same league as doctors and lawyers and it should get the same level of respect as the farmer, military man or preacher.   

In fact, it may be the most important profession in our country today. What other profession in the world, for example, requires more of its employees in so many different areas than does the teaching profession?   

Erma Bombeck showed great empathy for the teaching profession some years ago when she compared it to other professions by asking some of these same questions?

What other profession must deal with the neurologically impaired, the emotionally disturbed, and the academically unprepared, all with the same material, all at the same time, all in the same length of time?

What other profession must challenge the gifted, inspire the average, motivate the apathetic and teach the disabled?

What other profession must check for head lice, collect milk money, arrange transportation, assist in bladder control, stress bilingual development and be on the lookout for child abuse?

What other profession must maintain discipline, nurture friendships, detect drug abuse, encourage bicycle safety, follow due-process procedures, counsel problem children, manage fund-raisers and teach the principles of free enterprise?

She’s right! In fact, as a classroom teacher, I found myself asking the same things.

What other profession, I thought, must be an expert in math, English, history, science, government, vocabulary, reading, spelling and life in general?

What other profession must perform the duties of a police officer, lawyer, judge or jury at least once every day? Or what other profession requires one to be a professor, pastor, psychologist, and parent all at once?

What other profession even touches this profession when the entire scope is considered?

A major magazine once carried an article about the jobs in America that have the highest stress. First on the list was brain surgeons, second was air-traffic controllers … third was teachers.

And only a teacher knows.

(1) comment

Pete Demoney

Teachers matter, until your angel has consequences.

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