Wednesday, January 27, 2010

" I touch the future, I teach" Sharon Christa Corrigan McAuliffe (September 2, 1948 – January 28, 1986)

Where were you when you heard about the Challenger Disaster January 28th 1986 ? I was vacuuming my living room with two small children sick, one home from school that week. On the day of the national funeral memorial service I had Barry conduct his own memorial service for the astronauts using his Playmobile characters and Fort Randall flag. He was home from kindergarten due to illness, still, I wanted him to understand something very sad had happened in American history that week.

As many of you know I went back to college each time my children were looking at colleges program they wanted to attend. The deep desire for knowledge is a quality I hope I never outgrow, as well as, one I have instilled in both Barry & Kara. They know my motto, "when your life reaches a dead end, take a class..."

My personal enrichment adventure turned into a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Design with a strong background in Educational Psychology. Being a teacher was a good fit for me after being a nontraditional student. During my time as a Design student, I was a role model for many of my peers. Often I would help the other students with design decisions, loan them supplies, teach students skills I process that were not offered in the class... you get the point.

When I first began taking classes preparing for my second career, first career being a momma/ homemaker par excel lance, I began with a class at Community College of Allegheny County in Career Research. During the entire semester we took personality inventories, CAPS, COPS, COPES test and researched career options.

According to the Meyers- Briggs Personality inventory I am an ESFJ. It was no surprise to find ESFJ's excel in careers as Homemakers, Nurses, and Teachers, all people who are in the leadership position of helping others create a better life.
ESFJ's are happiest when they have keep the home fires burning. My sister in law Mari Pat and her friend Rita called my Hestia as an endearment when they were guests in my home.
My brothers wife, Wendi, used to laugh and call me " Susie Homemaker".

When I went back to college after Barry and Kara were adults I saw a natural leap from being a mom/homemaker to Adjunct Lecturer @ Buffalo State College. The concern I maintained for the welfare of my students was the same guidance, concern and nurturing enthusiasm I extended to my own children.

Being a teacher is an awesome moral responsibility, no matter what the age of your student. If you hold a title of teacher the students are trusting the teacher is someone who knows the material, loves to share the knowledge and has the students welfare at heart. When a student finds one of these qualities lacking in the teacher a power struggle may ensue. Students should be wise consumers. They know when they are being used as reason for a professor to acquire grant money for free travel abroad or to attend conferences for free. They know when the projects they are assigned benefit the professors efforts to gain tenure rather than providing a well rounded education as the course description prescribes within the class curriculum. Too many professors/ teachers are in the profession to have; free use of studio space, equipment and supplies or teachers who are in the career because they want summers and holidays off.

We all heard the quote, "Those who can -- do. those who can't-- teach." H.L Mencken Unfortunately, most of us have been victim's of self centered teachers/ professors who being unable to support themselves in their craft have resorted to teaching as way to make a buck. There is no way to judge the motives within another persons heart, one can only pray that those who are holding teaching positions to exploit the system through grants and giveaways will eventually burn out opening positions for teachers called to the vocation of pedagogy. Education is the hope of the future.

It is a teachers responsibility to help the student to go beyond the teachers experience. I will always remember Christa McAuliffe, an American teacher from Concord, New Hampshire, and one of seven crew members killed in the Space Shuttle Challenger disasterteacher,
" I touch the future. I teach."

It is a disaster and never acceptable for a teacher/professor to bring harm to a student as a result of jealous competition. If you are given the authority to make a difference in a persons life by holding the title of teacher/ professor/in any pedagogical career, may you live up to your responsibility to be a trustworthy leader and a disciple of integrity.

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