Monthly Archives: August 2017

Teachers: Saints Not Heroes

 

Tonight our home is filled with equal parts nervous excitement and anxiety. Our oldest daughter, Anna, starts 7th grade at Jefferson Jr/Sr High School tomorrow and Norah starts 5th grade at Lumberg Elementary. Hillary continues her role as a preschool teacher at Lumberg. After a summer of a quiet office at Jefferson, my workspace will get much louder tomorrow as school is back in session.

As summer ends tonight and a school year starts tomorrow, my thoughts are with teachers and school staff like my wife. Some call teachers heroes but I disagree. I think we do teachers a disservice when we call them heroes. I truly think they are saints.

Being a hero brings with it a pressure to save students in a way that no one else can. But teachers are not heroes. They alone cannot turn a student into a fully functioning, successful graduate. Because far too many people with no experience in the classroom pass laws and make decisions regarding education, teachers feel this pressure and expectation to be a hero. To save the kids in their classroom and save their school. But they cannot do it alone. It truly takes a whole community to raise a graduate.

Instead of seeing teachers as heroes I think they are truly saints.

Teachers give of their time and energy sacrificially. We expect them to change the lives of students but we pay them a wage that doesn’t even allow them to find a safe place to rent or a home in the community they serve. Teachers give of themselves each and every day with the hope that they are making a difference in the lives of the next generation. Saints are revered. Teachers should be too. They should be treated like professionals.

So as teachers, staff and students in our Jefferson County Public Schools start school tomorrow, know that your community is behind you. Parents are behind you.

May this school year be one that you feel the support of your community and parents

May this school year be one that you see brief glimpses each day of the impact you are making in the lives of students, especially in February

May this school year be one that you grow in your professional skills and receive positive feedback from your administration

May this school year be one that you grow in your collaboration and sense of team with your school staff

May this school year be one that you feel encouragement instead of heavy expectations

Thank you for investing in our children!

15 Year: Scotch and Marriage

Fifteen years ago Hillary and I were married down in Roswell, New Mexico and started off on an adventure. We were pretty naive back then. Having only dated each other for eight months, we were still getting to know each other. And I was only 23 years old, Hillary was 22 and both of us had just graduated from college.

Now fifteen years later, we have two beautiful daughters and our oldest, Anna, is heading off to junior high next week. Time flies by!

Last summer Hillary and I went to Scotland and sampled some of the best Scotch Whisky the Scottish Highlands has to offer. One of my favorites was the Glenfiddich 15 Year Old Scotch. A great Scotch Whisky involves the perfect ingredients, process and most importantly, time, to perfect the great taste that melts away your throat as you drink it.

Time has taught Hillary and me a lot and we are still figuring out things. There is a lot of change that has happened over the last fifteen years for us personally and as a family. As growth and change happens there can be a tendency for couples to drift apart especially those that marry young like we did. Thankfully, though, as Hillary and I have grown and changed personally, we have remained connected. This has taken leaning into tough conversations and overcoming selfishness. Seeking the best for the other is much harder to do than to say. Hillary has taught me so much about grace as we have grown together. Our faith has empowered us to fail well and forgive each other.

Over the last few years I have begun to realize that whatever is healthy is hard. This relates to working out, eating well and marriage. It takes hard work to grow a marriage just like it takes hard work to create a great Scotch Whisky.

The next fifteen years of our marriage will bring with it change for us personally and for our family. After moving too much over the last ten years, we have found our home in Edgewater. This is where we will lay down our roots. In the next fifteen years, both of our girls will graduate high school and college. Hillary will advance in her career and hopefully become a preschool director soon. With a gentrifying Edgewater and changing schools, I won’t be leading Edgewater Collective forever and will need to find another position where I can utilize my passions for education and system building.

I am excited for the future with Hillary and our girls. The hard work continues but it is totally worth it because of those who are along for the ride with us. Like a great Scotch Whisky, our marriage becomes even better with time.