Letter to the Editor

Teacher has 'reality check'

Sunday, October 17, 2010

To the Editor:

I have been blessed to work at a job I truly love -- teaching.

At 32, I started on a venture of becoming what I'd always wanted to be, a teacher. As year number 28 begins, Forest Park Elementary has been placed in the media spotlight.

No, it's not because of our beautiful new facilities, latest scores, or hard-working kids.

In the perfect educational setting, a teacher might have a small class of 20 responsible, interested, eager and excited learners. Of course, the students would not bring any problems with them to school ... hunger, relocation, broken homes, unemployed parents, death of a family member. There would be no physical or emotional needs amongst this ideal class.

Realistically, very few teachers are offered the opportunity to enter that "perfect class" the first day with "perfect students." Now, let's get back to the "real world," the one that has numerous children with imperfections.

Of course, most professionals do not see these as flaws, we see them as opportunities to build character.

As educators, we are aware that these students may stumble, but we will be there to pick them up. We will see obstinacy, but we must not let that define the child. We will encounter children with disabilities, but we must look past what might be an obstacle for them to see the true child within. Some of the problems we may never identify or understand, but they are a part of the heart of that child.

May God allow me to help eliminate the roadblocks for struggling children on their road to perfection.

I hope my fellow educators will join me in offering hope to and celebrating successes with all students.

Jean Harris,

Fourth-grade teacher,

Forest Park Elementary