Originally created 01/25/00

Seeks community support for teachers

From all over this great nation we are hearing about teacher shortages.

I heard a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Education comment that within five years we will need a number of teachers equivalent to the allied combat force at Normandy to fill the depleted ranks of the nation's teachers.

Picking up on the analogy between the Normandy invasion force and the teacher shortage, we will find that those who went out to do their duty were not motivated by money. Something else was operating to fill the ranks destined for the French beaches in 1944. How much money will be necessary to ensure that our children receive a world-class education?

Drawing another comparison with teacher recuitment, consider that the U.S. Marine Corps continues to exceed its recruitment quotas. Other branches have for some time consistently missed their quotas. A Marine private earns the same as an Army private. What's the difference? I wonder if commitment, honor and courage have anything to do with the Corps' success.

Now, why do you suppose teacher shortages are becoming more alarming? About 10 years ago a study revealed that the number one reason teachers resigned was because of management. Management, however, is only part of the explanation for teacher shortages.

Certainly managers -- principals and other administrators -- whose focus is on education are essential for attracting and keeping teachers, but that is not all. Teachers must have the support and respect of the community and the students.

Not too long ago I nearly resigned from teaching. I was frustrated with management, and lacked community support. However, the students were cooperative and supportive. What encouraged me not to make a hasty decision and resign were the students and my love for teaching history.

I have been a teacher at Lakeside High School since it opened. Now I have the support of management, my community and my students. The teacher cannot go it alone and certainly this teacher is grateful for the opportunity to serve his community.

John R. Barney, Martinez


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