On the days when helping is my calling, I am exhausted. Thinking about what it takes to uplift and motivate a child, on the exhausted days, I give props to our teachers.
Teachers, even when exhausted, gather themselves and interact with not only my child, but others’ children, and push themselves through to the end of the day.
And on top of that, many then have to go home and deal with their children.
Teaching is a profession that, when done properly, must come from the inside out. It has to be a passion.
To listen to children who often can’t seem to get from one side of room to the other; hear them respond to questions by saying they just “don’t know” the answer; or to hear them exclaim “I forgot to (fill in the blank)” for the umpteenth time has to be a labor of love.
Teachers are people whose entire being has to be focused and ever-vigilant when they are in the presence of a child, because a teacher never knows just what is going to trigger something that will cause a child to finally exclaim, “I got it!”
Learning is constant and consistent. If you pour enough information into a child, it will come out — one day.
There is a saying, and I am paraphrasing, that says if you train a child in the way you want him to go, and he will not depart from it when he grows older. I believe this, and I have seen it come true in not only my children but others’ children.
Each one of my children have had good teachers that I thought were bad, and good teachers that they thought were bad.
The good teacher I thought was bad was the teacher my child liked because they fed the spark that made them feel that they were valuable and that their insight was worth a listen.
In the hustle and bustle of our commuter city, we can forget to thank those who tirelessly teach our bundles of joy. They teach them the differences between a homonym and a synonym and how to use their “inside voices” when in the classroom.
They tolerate our pre-teen girls with their you-know-likes, and our pre-teen boys who speak in one-word statements. Amid all this pre-teen drama, a teacher is able to create a hunger for knowledge.
As our children get older, we put all of that hormonal energy into one big campus called high school, and teachers still manage to create a place where children can excel and allow minds to expand and dream.
This takes talent. This takes dedication. This takes patience. At any salary, a good teacher does not make enough.
But a teacher receives rewards far beyond the monetary when children talk about their favorite teacher and say thank you. (Thank you Ms. Wylie, my third-grade teacher.) A teacher is an amazing gift.
• Yolande Barial is a Tracy resident and mom. Her column appears every so often in the Tracy Press.