American Education Week, Nov. 13-17, focuses attention on the importance of educating our kids: the next generation and the future of our democracy.
As a former teacher and school administrator, I can tell you there’s something magical that happens in a classroom. The special and rewarding “click” when a child reads aloud for the first time, grasps a new math concept, or keeps at a research project even when it’s difficult. But, it’s not magic. The business of education is hard work.
Teachers need to master their subject area, understand child development, and know how to teach. To really be successful, they must get to know their students and form personal, trusting relationships. Sometimes reaching a kid takes toughness. Sometimes the child needs tenderness. And, sometimes an educator doesn’t know until years later that they had just the right balance for a particular student.
But it’s not just the teacher and the students that make education what it is today. Our schools are centers of their neighborhoods. Often times in Wisconsin, the school is what holds a small rural community together. It’s school-community involvement that can truly bring success for our kids. That interest from the neighbor without kids in school, the business owner, the civic leader — these relationships cement the importance of education in our communities and bring local solutions to strengthen our school systems.
So we observe American Education Week to remind ourselves that preparing kids to graduate ready for college and careers is a community effort that takes time, takes money, and takes the passion of educators who devote their lives to teaching kids. Support your local schools. They are building the future.