Field of Dreams
Education is a field of dreams with the potential to generate the greatest promise. The one asset in this world we can all feel proud to have. It has motivated the most beautiful inspirations. It has advanced our finest ideas. It has opened so many doors. Education is responsible for our foundation, our finances, our politics, our global awareness and our flight. But, it is being treated as a business deal where all the cards are on the table and the students’ interests have the least influence.
Teachers are caught in the middle. We love to see the interest on our students’ faces. We love to answer the tough questions. We love to guide, encourage and inspire. But, we watch as the interest fades into disgust as the students face red tape in a confusing web called the political process. We watch as the questions diminish into complaints that the school or society or the world is too full of itself to notice they are ruining a great thing. And we watch as our guidance becomes less effective, our encouragements fall on deaf ears and our inspirations hardly affect our students’ hearts when we witness how ridiculously we run ourselves around in idiotic circles.
We think and analyze the education process so much, we miss the true essence that makes it work. The strong connection made between student and teacher is a precious bond that cannot be dissected like a frog on an operating table. It is a special thing that happens that only the student and the teacher are responsible for or truly understand. However, the bond is often interrupted by the confusing vibes students feel when they witness how low a priority is placed on education.
As educators, we know that the best place to invest our money is in education. But, we recycle paper as dinner tickets are being bought for executive banquets. We literally squeeze drops of ink out of our ink cartridges as the Speaker of the House and the President flip quarters for the corporate tent and the next chartered flight. We can’t afford to give “Poor Suzy” a pencil or a piece of paper, but big businesses are throwing money at charities. While people play lip service to the students and the concerned parents, checks are being written for a new line of bombers for the Air Force.
Students are starting to realize what they are up against and teachers are trying to appease the aggravation while wondering themselves if any attempt is worth the hassle. If we think we are setting a high priority on education, think about the mixed signals students are getting when they are witnessing virtually everything else prosper while schools have to conserve toilet paper. Everyone knows that technology is the wave of the future and some schools don’t even have a computer lab. Most college professors wouldn’t even consider teaching out of a textbook three semesters old while most textbooks in public schools have references to teachers who retired at least ten years ago.
Education is our most valuable asset and it’s time we invested in it. When teachers witness the change a few tools make, they realize the true need. Schools can’t afford to be placed lowest on the list anymore. We are failing miserably at showing how much we value our education system. With each word we say, our actions contradict. Making students understand the real value of their education is becoming increasingly difficult with the multitude of contradictions and outside attractions. Giving teachers a realistic chance to combat the major problems in education will greatly benefit the generations yet to step foot in our higher institutions.
Even though the battle we are up against is aggravating to the core, all of my raging thoughts and feelings disappear when I walk into a classroom. Half-open eyes turn to curiosity in wonder of what I might be bringing them today. Sparks begin to ignite as a connection is made from the real world the students come from to the world between our four walls. And art begins to breathe when we feel the bond strengthen. Education is the reason we are together. Education is our bond. And the world begins to fade with all of its whining demands and its trivial interests as we search for what has meaning to us. This field of dreams is our last hope for ever strengthening generations yet to come.