Superb teachers leave NC and the best students are told to avoid the profession
As North Carolina is losing our best and brightest teachers, students are being told to reconsider pursuing a career in teaching. Matt Buys, a member of the Asheville City Board of Education, admits his reservations about his own son pursuing a teaching career after witnessing the damaged caused by the best teachers leaving his county.
My son wants to teach high school history. He chose his college based on its education program. “Why not be a monk instead?” I asked him. “You’ll make more money.”
When his favorite teacher, a former Army Ranger who teaches U.S. government, learned my son was pursuing education, he smiled but retorted, “Teaching is an honorable profession, but I would advise him to think carefully about his decision.”
He didn’t extrapolate and didn’t need to. I am on a school board. Federal, state and even our local board policies have been tough on teachers lately. Micromanagement and low salaries are turning good people away from the teaching profession.
My favorite duty has been attending the Teacher of the Year banquet. Two years ago I presented an iPad, courtesy of a local bank, to a joyfully teary kindergarten teacher, and the year before that the iPad went to a hardworking marching band director. The band director said he was grateful to have a wife who supported him and his two children even when it involved missing dinner and getting home late at night for months on end. He walked back to his table and presented his wife with the iPad.
Know where those district Teachers of the Year are now? Gone.
The band director moved to South Carolina; the young elementary school star quit teaching. These teachers had the gift. They were humble, awe-inspiring people. The kindergarten teacher was known for taming even the wildest, toughest kids with love and hugs. The band director changed the course of hundreds of lives, among them my own son’s life. These are the teachers we are losing, and it’s happening on a statewide level.
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