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Why do we exist?

I was asked what I hope to accomplish with my blog. I have thought a lot about this question and I think what the teachers and administration did in Barre-Montpelier after the flood to assure the kids could start school epitomizes what I know in my heart teaching is all about.  The teachers refused to let Hurrican Irene’s destruction keep the school from opening and taught in tents to assure kids would start school on time. This dedication to the children and to assuring they have the opportunity to learn deserves acknowledgement and respect.  Perhaps there are other stories like this, and the Apples for Teachers blog is a place where we, students young and old, can share our stories.
 Stories can be very effective in their ability to help us empathize and by empathizing we can see other sides to a question.  What I hope is that by adding another perspective to the current dialogue we can make better choices for our children.  But just sharing stories on the web, while a place to start, is not the end. Asking our children what their educational experience is today and comparing that to our own experiences is very important.  Do they respect their teachers?  By respect I mean do they see their teacher(s) as professional, as valuable, and/or as someone dedicated to helping them succeed. Do they see the value of education in their future success? Is school a place they want to go every day? If not, why not?  Why do they think students are organizing demonstrations in support of their teachers around the country? I would love to know what kids have to say about these and other issues related to their education.
 I am not quite naive enough to think that all teachers are wonderful and if we just have respect for these professionals all the educational challenges we face would be solved.  But I am optimistic that we can make a difference in the current debate by letting our legislators, state and national, know that teachers and teaching are deserving of our respect, that involving educators in curriculum and assessment design is fundamental to the success of our children’s education, and that involving educators in policy making is fundamental to the success of our education system. 
 If Apples for Teachers and the 4Rs Project can empower parents and students and, through their stories, empower our legislators to work together toward a stronger education system, this blog will have served its purpose.


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