Without teachers, who would educate ‘important’ people?
August 22, 2006
Social status and concepts of hierarchy are underlying themes in George Orwells book Animal Farm. The pigs are considered the most important among the other animals, with the two main characters/pigs of Snowball and Napoleon representing the ideals of Stalin and Trotsky during the Russian Revolution. When preparing students for reading this tale of the search for freedom and equality, I ask them to brainstorm a list of professions, which are later ranked in order of opinion-based importance.Usual answers include the typical: doctors, lawyers, teachers, construction workers, coaches, firefighters, business owners, writers, professional athletes, judges, architects, Realtors, bankers, and engineers, just to name a few. After writing these titles on the white board, students decide which are more important to emphasize and reinforce the character structure of the animals hierarchy within the novel. Interestingly, one student put teachers as the first and foremost of importance. When asked to defend the decision, this particular student simply stated, None of these people could do their job without a teacher teaching them. Teachers are the ones who instruct others. They need to learn their skills from a teacher. Therefore, teachers are most important.This philosophy is thought provoking, especially coming from the mind of a 15 year old. Everyone knows that among the list of professions named, teachers rank at the bottom for monetary recognition. When others would produce the list, especially those seeking to rank due to financial success, teachers might not find their status near the top of this list.
Making a difference through the exchange of knowledge while simultaneously producing a positive impact is why most teachers go into education. They do not seek recognition or think of themselves as superior to other professions. It is pretty obvious they are not in it for the money, and their job exists beyond the boundaries of the bells signifying the duration of a school day.What is the point being made here? To honor and respect teachers. To recognize the fact that students value their teachers. To remember how hard they work and most importantly, how important they are to our society. With school starting in just a few weeks, discussion about teachers will be in abundance. Remember those who made a difference in your life, and thank those who do the same for our-students.Vicki Isacowitz is a secondary English teacher who has been educating students since 1996. She is co-founder of Clever Minds Educational Services, providing tutoring for students in grades kindergarten-12. For information call 582-1707 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.