This will be one of my few non-technical posts. At one point the teachers at Merrimack, NH were considering a strike, the public debate got rather ugly. At one point the local Dairy Queen owner who felt teachers were overpaid put up on his sign "Teachers Only Work 9-3". I believe that might have been the final catalyst for my father to take pen in hand and write the following.
Nashua Telegraph March 18, 1990
Negative comments in letters discourage teachers who care.
To the Editor:
After having spent most of a lifetime with a spouse who works in the field of education, it is difficult for me to read and to accept all the negative aspects of the letters that have filled the editorial pages of the local papers. I feel I must respond.
Of the professions that require a college education, teaching has traditionally been one of the poorest paid. It is also one of the few vocations that, in order to continue in the profession, continuing education is required for each year of one's career.
Contrary to many beliefs, the hours are extremely long; many committee meetings take up more hours than the general public can begin to realize. Teachers are available after school to provide additional help when students seek it and to monitor after-school detentions.
The day's work is seldom ever done when one gets home. The student papers are always there to be corrected; and plans for tomorrow's lessons must be formulated. Summer is the time to get refreshed by taking additional courses.
We watch our own children graduate from college and go out into industry. At entry-level positions they make more money than the teachers do after 25 years of experience and work.
The question then is: "Why not go out into industry?" Unfortunately, too many have already left education. many of the teachers have had the opportunity. Those who choose to stay do so because they love the profession, and they feel they benefit the young people who represent the future of this country.
The biggest reason, though is that once in a while they are shown a little love by students who will thank them for all they have done. It doesn't happen often, but it's enough to keep them going.
Many letters to the editor have shown very little love or appreciation for teacher's efforts. It becomes difficult for anyone to give love when there is none in return.
John I. Gentille