Pride and joy – our son the teacher!

“Amidst all the uncertainty and inconsistency and mixed messages bouncing around in our world today, children need the kind of stability and care offered by good teachers…”

Good morning! It’s a wet, soggy, rain-soaked, everything-is-saturated day here in Wake Forest. It’s been that kind of a week and it will be excessively damp for a couple more days. Given no surprises, these are the perfect conditions for writing. We’ll see.

  • First (if you haven’t already seen it) I want you to go back and read yesterday’s commentary on leadership – Leadership Defined. There are no rules governing what deserves to or will “go viral” but if anything I’ve written lately should, this is it (read it, share it, post it etc…)

So proud of our teacher son!

I had a moment yesterday of exquisite pride and satisfaction, when our son Andrew posted these images on his Facebook page. Andrew has always been phenomenally gifted with smarts, he excelled in college, he was a top-performer in specialized civil service work with the DOD, he recently earned his masters in public administration from Penn State, and he just wrapped up a “Teach-Now” international teaching certification program – all while working as activities coordinator and PYP cover teacher in Tashkent then Dresden.

Some of my readers may not know my first career was as a classroom teacher. Including two years as a paraprofessional in Atlanta, I spent a little more than twenty years in the classroom. My specialty was always exceptional education, with my primary focus in what I like to call “challenging” behaviors. My book – when I write it – will probably have to be in the form of a novel because A) people won’t be able to believe some of this stuff happened, B) I don’t want anyone to be able to connect the dots that lead to actual people, and C) you know, the statute of limitations…(!!!)

Andrew has the right stuff:

But we have always known our son Andrew had the “right stuff” to be a teacher. Official or not, he has always been one. From working in the church nursery as a teen, to stellar work as a live-in nanny during his college years, to working with on-base youth while stationed in Tuscany, to being a naturally awesome uncle to David and Beks.

Amidst all the uncertainty and inconsistency and mixed messages bouncing around in our world today, children need the kind of stability and care offered by good teachers – educators who are not only nurturing but who have the broad experience and keen intellect of someone like Andrew.

As a profession, education needs to actively recruit people of Andrew’s caliber and reward them for making this kind of commitment to children.

Here’s a true story that will (if you’re an educator) make you cringe. It should make you cringe regardless:

I did rather well when pursuing my teaching degree. Honors, top grades etc. A few years later an alum from my university stopped by my classroom to say hello. “What a waste,” he said. “You were one of the most intelligent people I knew. You could have done anything. Why teach?” I challenged him right back. “You’re pretty bright yourself. Why not be a teacher?”

He responded with, “You get no respect and there’s no money in it.” I wanted to tell him (but I didn’t want to hurt him), “But there’s no soul in what you’re doing.”

All Soul:

Fast forward to 2020. You know, the year that’s all about seeing clearly. Our son Andrew and his lovely wife Alicia are all soul in what they are up to. International citizens and educators: Italy, Bahrain, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Germany. Their son, Mr. T., is growing up in an environment where faith, learning, service to others, and loving this world are the predominant values. Not a lot of money, granted; but a lot of soul, a lot of life, a lot of what matters.

Congratulations, Andrew. We are so proud of you!

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