Teachers deserve more for transforming lives of our children

Along with the enormous rewards enjoyed by good school teachers comes terrible frustration. Many wish they could do more for their students. And when the public focuses on the education system’s shortcomings, teachers sometimes take it personally.

They should not.

We just passed National Teacher Appreciation Week, a time when it behooves those worried about schools to reflect on what is right with them, as well as what is wrong.

When we were young, most of us benefited from some truly great teachers.

The good news is that our children and grandchildren are exposed to talented, dedicated, good teachers, too.

Are there a few people in the classroom who should find another line of work? Of course. Every profession has that problem. But by and large, our schools have excellent faculties.

Those good teachers and principals agonize about the quality of education, too. They see shortcomings they wish they could correct.

They wonder why so-called education reform in our states and nation seems to be no more than moving from one fad to another. They wish someone would just let them teach.

For years, better schools have been a focus of this newspaper. We have emphasized that the overwhelming majority of any criticisms we level have been at failures of the education system – not at the quality and dedication of those who, again, must teach while sharing many of the public’s frustrations.

What is perhaps most worrisome is that too many campaigns to improve schools seem to rely on strategies to lessen teachers’ creativity and flexibility – even to use technology to declare they are irrelevant.

They are far from that. Second only to parents, they are essential to children. They earn our appreciation – and more important, our support – each and every day they transform lives in the classroom.