To laugh often and much;
To win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children;
To earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends;
To appreciate beauty, to find the best in others;
To leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition;
To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded.
This was posted as a comment to my Facebook status, which also included a quote credited to Emerson.
I would bet that most, if not all, people reading this would agree that success is defined by the above examples and yet, in our society we find it difficult to reward those who do most of these very things every single day: teachers.
When I read this piece I instantly thought of the job teachers have: to bring out the best in their students in a myriad of tasks that require a variety of skills; to manage a group of people who are dealing with a wide range of emotional, physical and intellectual needs; to attend to the aspects of their job that require skills in technology, record keeping, informational distribution, and organization; to communicate effectively with their students, their peers, administrators and parents; to perfect new ways of sharing knowledge using methods that have not been perfected all while...
Wanting to laugh often and much, as that is something that their charges are already very skilled at, but being burdened by the weight of accomplishing the above tasks.
Just the other day my own child said she wanted to be either an actress or a school librarian, because the latter are celebrities. Spend time at an elementary school and you will see that she is right. Why do children grasp the truth in the words of Emerson (or whoever it is that said/wrote these words) so much more easily and readily than adults? How is it that we can all - or almost all - agree that these traits are part of the trodden path of the successful, but we do not want to reward this kind of success with our money?
Now, please don't tell me that teaching is its own reward - yes, one has to see beyond the reward of money to be a good teacher, but I will not believe that any teacher would not be thrilled to receive more money - deserved money.
Maybe it is because of this quote by Peter Drucker: “Teaching is the only major occupation of man for which we have not yet developed tools that make an average person capable of competence and performance. In teaching we rely on the "naturals," the ones who somehow know how to teach.” Maybe we don't see good teachers as having to work hard, we see it as something that comes naturally, as easy, as a given. It is not easy. It is, as stated above, a constant striving, "to find the best in others." If you can do that, in a society that expects you to do that, without the compensation you deserve - thank you.