Jon Hubbard, State Representative for the Jonesboro area, wrote the following article, "A Most Unappreciated Profession," which is found on page 166 of his book: Letters to the Editor, Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative published in 2009. This article is being posted here because of a falsehood that was circulated that Hubbard would hurt teacher retirement which was refuted in the following letter. Be sure to read Hubbard's article after reading the letter to the editor.
This really ticks me off! I am the Northeast Arkansas Tea Party director, and our party has never even discussed teacher retirement at any meetings. Neither have I ever discussed it privately with anyone. We have several teachers in our organization; some of them helped plan our first tea party.
Far from being an enemy of teachers, the tea party is highly supportive of teachers. Less government is one of the tea party’s basic principles. Teachers and parents can see how government control of education has failed the teachers and their students. The tea party would like to end government control of curriculum, eliminate all that burdensome paperwork and excessive testing, and let teachers be professionals and teach their classes as they did years ago — when we had the best educational system in the world. All the money wasted on so-called educational reforms and bureaucracy could have provided nice raises and less expensive insurance for the teachers.
Actually, Hubbard has a record of how he feels about teachers and compensation in his book published in 2009, “Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative,” page 166. In a 4-page article titled “A Most Unappreciated Profession,” Hubbard describes the teaching profession as “one of the most necessary and honorable profession in our nation’s history.” He describes the honor due teachers, the need for more compensation, the necessity of a summer break because of the stress level, and even discusses combat pay for teachers in certain instances. Hubbard understands all of this because he, too, was a teacher for several years!
I wish every teacher would read for themselves Hubbard’s article by checking out his book at the library. Bryan Luster, Jonesboro
We are often advised or warned to get our priorities straight, and this is one priority that is long overdue in its need to be corrected. The time has come to heed this powerful advice and do whatever is necessary to correct the practice of grossly under-appreciating and properly compensating one of the most necessary and honorable professions in our nation’s history; that of the professional educator or schoolteacher. But, when describing the professional educator, the distinction must be made between the truly dedicated teacher, and those within this profession who have become so intertwined within the destructive ideology of liberal teachers’ unions, who instead of concentrating their efforts upon becoming more professional teachers, have become a major part of the problem.
Why do we keep losing the better teachers? Believe it or not, it is not always the money that forces them to leave this noble profession, but if they were paid in relation to the importance of their profession to this nation’s future, it would be a good place to start. But to the professional teachers themselves, the opportunity to do their job in an atmosphere of safety, and one that is conducive to learning for their students would be the greatest incentive we could give them to continue in their chosen field. These fine people did not take the time to earn their college degrees in education simply to become glorified babysitters. These people are dedicated to the future of this nation, and thanks to the deplorable mess that our public school system now finds itself in, these saints soon lose their excitement to teach and motivate, and in many instances they lose a part of their faith in the great American dream itself.
How much importance are we really willing to place upon the future educational development of our children when we allow our dedicated teachers and educators to be viewed as expendable people who probably cannot do anything else? How important is it to properly teach someone the basics that will lead them into developing the cure for cancer? One question to ask would be whether it is more important to pay for new sports facilities, or even some other less-than-urgent physical facilities, than it is to provide a proper income and workplace environment that will support those whose job it is to teach our children, and at a level that is somewhat on par with the projected earnings of those they are teaching. After all, without dedicated and qualified teachers, the need for schools would not exist.
Many school patrons erroneously
think that it is wrong to pay teachers during the summer months when they are
not teaching. But, what most people do not understand is that under the extreme
working conditions our teachers are placed in today, if they did not have those
summer months to recuperate, many of them simply could not find the strength to
return to the classroom in the fall. Although the dedicated teacher loves and
enjoys his or her job, it is not an easy job, and under the working conditions
found in many of our schools today, it would be appropriate to allow combat pay
to compensate for the danger some teachers find themselves in. It may be
difficult to find the correct working plan, but it can be done.
Ask yourself which role model would most greatly affect the future success of this nation: professional athletes who are paid millions of dollars per year, and many of whom are continually arrested or charged with criminal behavior while being given two, three, or more chances to reform; or dedicated professional educators who are presented with the daunting task of motivating, training, and educating those who will someday aspire to all of the other professions necessary to make this or any nation a world leader. Granted, there are professional athletes who are very honorable and who cast a very good light upon their profession; however, almost everyone will agree that the amount of money paid to even the greatest of these athletes falls dangerously close to being considered obscene, if not insane. If the idea of anyone making this income were to be considered reasonable, who then would honestly deserve it more, the baseball player who hits thirty home runs a year; the basketball player who scores twenty-five points per game; the football player who rushes for a thousand yards in a season; or the classroom teacher who motivates and inspires a gifted but untrained young student to strive to discover the cure for cancer, or to find the alternative fuel that will allow this nation to become totally independent of an expensive and disappearing petroleum fossil fuel?
Imagine a world where children must leave their home at age eight to twelve to find jobs to help feed their families, and where there is no option that would allow them to go to school to study the arts, sciences, mathematics, or even how to interact with others. We would be as backward and undeveloped as any of today’s Third World countries who must constantly seek out help to feed, clothe, and defend them from any number of predators. The United States of America would be just another place where people couldn’t feed themselves or their families, and where the life expectancy was anywhere from eighteen to forty years of age if not for our dedicated teachers. Now, wouldn’t that be something to look forward to?
There would be no factories to design, develop, and produce the products that have become the conveniences or even the necessities of the everyday lifestyles we have come to enjoy today. There would be no hospitals, doctors, or nurses to treat the sick and injured. There would be no one to motivate and train someone to invent, build, or maintain things we now consider to be the necessities of life. For good or bad, we could not be spending our weekends listening to, watching on TV, or attending sporting events as we do today.
The world we live in today is made possible as a result of many factors, but one of the most vital, yet underrated and unappreciated, is the dedicated classroom teacher. These noble people most certainly do not go into this proud profession with any grand illusions of becoming wealthy as a result of the pay this profession provides them. But, after toiling away in the classroom for a few months, or even a few years in a valiant effort to help our young people get the necessary educational foundation, they soon begin to realize that in far too many cases, they are the only ones who are truly excited about the learning experience. And woe be unto them if they ever attempt to discipline the wrong little darling placed into their care. They are expected to maintain strong discipline in the classroom—unless, of course, they attempt to discipline the children of certain members of their community, whether they are the elite or not. When those who really want to learn and achieve an education are hampered in doing so due to the unruly atmosphere found in many of today’s classrooms, the teacher is viewed as the one who has failed to do his or her job of maintaining the proper discipline in their classroom.
As with any other profession, there are good teachers and there are bad teachers; but how many times have we seen a truly qualified and gifted teacher forced to leave the teaching field, a profession for which many have a burning passion, for reasons over which they have no control? Far too many! Many of us can recall a time when there were teachers whose careers spanned thirty to forty years and who left their profession only because there was a mandatory retirement age. These were teachers who were very much responsible for the success of the outstanding doctors, lawyers, civic leaders, astronauts, scientists, engineers, and educators of today. It is sad to realize that those same dedicated teachers of yesteryear could not even begin to survive or tolerate the deplorable conditions found in our schools and classrooms today.
This is in no way intended to
take anything away from today’s teachers, many of whom went into their
profession with the same dedication of those teachers of years past, but who
were fully aware of the conditions in which they would have to teach today. In
far too many cases, these teachers of today are also forced to leave their
profession because they just can’t take it any longer. Both groups of these
noble professional educators, past and present, are among a diminishing group of
true American heroes that we still have around today. They have too long been
forced to accept and live with the lack of respect, gratitude, and yes, the
financial considerations they have deserved for a long, long time. Let me make
it perfectly clear that most of these unsung American heroes have not openly
campaigned for the increase in compensation that this noble profession properly
deserves, as it would not be within their nature to do so.
One way to provide funding for this is to make our legislative leaders aware of the importance of this issue, and with encouragement from the general public, this can be done. Our government needs to understand just how important it is to the future of our nation that we appreciate and compensate those who dedicate their lives to opening the doors of educational opportunities to our young people, and to allow these education professionals to reintroduce the discipline necessary to allow our schools to conduct the intended business of educating our children, and not being forced to play the perceived role of glorified babysitters or prison guards.
Possibly the most intriguing and compelling reason for correcting these injustices of the past is to convince many of our best and brightest young people of today to seriously consider entering teaching as a most worthy and worthwhile profession. Without the efforts of these dedicated warriors, the educational advantages this nation has previously enjoyed will continue to erode and eventually disappear, just as we have seen happen to our strong family values and other beliefs and principles of the past.
God bless our troops and our teachers, and God bless America!
Taken from the book by Jon Michael Hubbard, p. 166 "Letters to the Editor: Confessions of a Frustrated Conservative." published in 2009.