Talent can be found in many organizations, professions, and companies, but talent alone will not lead to success.
While talent is certainly a valuable attribute, it must be combined with an unrelenting will to succeed no matter how difficult the task. A positive attitude can be found in those organizations and it is this attitude that is necessary to achieve quality. In Portage Township Schools, there are many people in many different positions who have contributed to the success of our students. Although all of these individuals play a role, this article will focus on just one group – the teachers – because they are the ones who are in position each and every day to have the most impact with their students.
The profession of teaching is not for those without the desire to succeed. While talent is important, the challenge is to activate the talent so that students achieve the desired levels set by the state, federal and local levels. This can be seen through a teacher’s desire to press on, even though that teacher may face the most challenging circumstances.
Teachers are faced with the mission to advance learning to specific levels among a wide diversity of students. Teachers have to determine how to accelerate the learning of students who are below grade level expectations, and/or for those who have specific learning disabilities.
Portage Township Schools subscribes to differentiated instruction, which means that teachers also need to challenge the students who possess abilities higher than their grade level. In addition, teachers face situations of transiency when students enroll from other school districts where the expectations were far lower than those in Portage.
Instilling the importance of respect, in addition to other critical values, is another challenge that teachers face while teaching their students. Although teachers can pass on these values to their students, the values must be reinforced in their students’ everyday experiences. Often times, this process is not easy, and teachers have to find a way to motivate kids to promote respectful behavior. It is a daily challenge for teachers to prevent undesired behaviors from interfering with teaching and learning.
Finally, our teachers also face the challenge of managing their time. The actual “teaching” is only one part of their jobs. It is the preparation that goes into a lesson that few individuals recognize. Teachers could never survive in this profession if they only worked their contracted 7.5 hour per day. They would not be prepared for class, have time to assess student work, or have time to provide feedback for future lessons.
Passers-by will see cars in the school parking lots way before school starts and after school ends. In addition, it is unknown how much time teachers invest within the confines of their homes.
It is important for our community members to be reminded that our teachers also possess a perseverance and unrelenting will to serve their students, but that they go about their work quietly and behind closed doors. A desire to succeed applies to education, as well as any other organization or company, and it is the work and will of teachers that have a profound effect on the future of our community.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.