“You know parents are the same. No matter time nor place, they don’t understand that us [educators] are going to make some mistakes. So to you, all the [educators] all across the land, there’s no need to argue, Parents just don’t understand.” – Will “Fresh Prince” Smith
Ok, ok…I changed the lyrics just a bit. But for some reason, I feel that I can relate. All too often I feel as if parents don’t understand, or want to understand, that I am a professional. This is what I do. Yes, I made a conscious choice to go into education and do this for a living. Is that the hard thing to believe?! This was a choice. I chose to dedicate my life to the study of education for the purpose of being able to mold, shape, guide, direct, and in some cases, change the heart of your child. I made the decision to teach, coach, and ultimately administer in your child’s school. Unfortunately, there is a stigma that comes along with being a principal, teacher, and/or coach. Parents tend to believe that you are there as a “volunteer”, who is simply giving some of his or her time to “help out”. Rather than TRUST in who I am as a Professional Educator who has dedicated his life to his profession. Parents don’t realize that the purpose of the degree that hangs on my wall is a relative to the one that hangs on any doctor, dentist, mechanic, or lawyer’s wall. It’s a symbol of dedication, determination, and success in what I do. I have been proven worthy by a highly accredited institution to do what I do.
So the piece of paper in a fancy frame doesn’t impress you. Okay, I understand that. How about the success of your child in school? How about the smile on their face when they receive good grades? How about the idea that they walk away every single day having learned something new? I wish I could provide you plaques, trophies, ribbons, and medals for all of my accomplishments in my career. The unfortunate thing is that students don’t like to sit on shelves and collect dust. An educator’s trophy walks away to move on to better things. My trophies have gone on to play college football, become doctors, teachers, and honored military men and women. My accolades don’t shine in a fancy case, they become respectful men and women, husbands and wives, fathers and mothers.
It’s okay that you don’t understand. It’s difficult to comprehend why someone would do all that an educator does without financial or celebratory reward. Sometimes, I think about that as well. Why do I continue to do what I do? Sometimes it seems that no matter what I do, I’m yelled at and disrespected by parents who have forgotten that they too were once considered an accolade by one of their principals, teachers, or coaches. They’ve forgotten that all they are and who they’ve become can be attributed to a forgotten educator who has never forgotten them.
So what keeps me going after 13 years of being a teacher, coach, and principal? The words spoken to me by hundreds of my trophies…”Thank you Mr. Stevens.”
“The Fear-of-God builds up confidence, and makes a world safe for your children. The Fear-of-God is a spring of living water so you won’t go off drinking from poisoned wells. The mark of a good leader is loyal followers; leadership is nothing without a following” ~ Proverbs 14:26-28 (The Message)