One of the sections you’ll be reading through this month is our Business and Education Round Table. We like to bring business leaders and, whenever possible, educators together to discuss ways they partner in the classroom to help students prepare for the workforce of the next generation. It’s always a great discussion, and I’m amazed at some of the ways they collaborate. Whether it’s an apprenticeship program at Siemens Energy or providing laptops to students along with training from Lenovo, there are a lot of great things happening around the state. Teachers need this more than ever, believe me.
I come from a family of educators. My mom was a chemistry and physics teacher at, what seemed like, most of the high schools in Charlotte before she retired. (She was teaching chemistry at my high school when I was there…weird.) I actually went through student teaching in college before deciding to go into sales and publishing — I couldn’t get used to the early hours. My sister is a kindergarten teacher at a Title 1 school in Charlotte. She has a tough job. Most of her students don’t speak English as a first language and come from a variety of backgrounds. She has some war stories to tell, for sure. Dealing with the pandemic, language barriers and other issues are daily challenges she faces head-on.
I always wonder why she does it. Over the past year, I kept telling her to look for another job that paid better, had better benefits and less stress. Her response is always a deflection to a story about a student or a funny event that happened with her class as they walked down the hall. She acts it out and will play two or three parts as she does so. My wife and I feel like we’re watching a one-woman play. It’s hilarious. As we watch and listen, I know why she won’t leave. She loves the kids, she cares about them. She’s not in it for the money, the benefits or the accolades. It’s a calling.
I think this is what most teachers feel. It seems like more and more teaching isn’t a profession looked on with respect as it used to be. In fact, it seems to have become yet another source of division among people as a result of the pandemic, perceived policies and political agendas. That’s a shame. I think most teachers are there for their kids. We should celebrate that effort and determination. We in the business community should also support them. It’s a good investment.