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A Word on Heroes

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From: Vivian Komando (komandv_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Tue Sep 18 2001 - 17:43:36 PDT


You Want Heroes?
by Frosty Troy

"Where are the heroes of today?" a radio talk show host
thundered. He blames society's shortcomings on public
education. Too many people are looking for heroes in all
the wrong places. Movie stars and rock musicians,
athletes and models aren't heroes, they're celebrities.

Heroes abound in public schools, a fact that doesn't make
the news. There is no precedent for the level of
violence, drugs, broken homes, child abuse, and crime in
today's America. Public education didn't create these
problems but deals with them every day.

You want heroes? Consider Dave Sanders, the school
teacher shot to death while trying to shield his students
from two Neo-Nazi youth on a bombing and shooting rampage
at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado.
Sanders gave his life, along with 12 students, but other
less heralded heroes survived the Colorado blood bath.

You want heroes? Jane Smith, a Fayetteville, N.C.,
teacher, was moved by the plight of one of her students,
a boy dying for want of a kidney transplant.

So this pretty white woman told the family of this
handsome 14-year old black boy that she would give him
one of her kidneys. And she did. When they subsequently
appeared together hugging on the Today Show, even tough
little Katie Couric was near tears.

You want heroes? Doris Dillon dreamed all her life of
being a teacher. She not only made it, she was one of
those wondrous teachers who could bring the best out of
every single child. One of her fellow teachers in San
Jose, Calif., said "she could teach a rock to read."
Suddenly she was stricken with Lou Gehrig's Disease,
which is always fatal, usually within five years.

She asked to stay on the job-and did. When her voice was
affected she communicated by computer. Did she go home?
She is running two elementary school libraries. When the
disease was diagnosed, she wrote the staff and all the
families that she had one last lesson to teach --that
dying is part of living. Her colleagues named her
Teacher of the Year.

You want heroes? Bob House, a teacher in Gay, Georgia,
tried out for Who Wants to be a Millionaire.. After he
won the million dollars, a network film crew wanted to
follow up to see how it had impacted his life. New cars?
Big new house? Instead, they found both Bob House and
his wife still teaching. They explained that it was what
they had always wanted to do with their lives and that
would not change. The community was both stunned and
gratified.

You want heroes?
Last year the average public school teacher spent $468 of
their own money for student necessities -- work books,
pencils -- supplies kids had to have but could not
afford. That's a lot of money from the pockets of the
most poorly
paid teachers in the industrial world.

Public schools don't teach values? The critics are dead
wrong. Public education provides more Sunday school
teachers than any other profession. The average teacher
works more hours in nine months than the average
40-hour employee does in a year.

You want heroes? For millions of kids, the hug they get
from a teacher is the only hug they will get that day
because the nation is living through the worst parenting
in history. Many have never been taken to church or
synagogue in their lives.

A Michigan principal moved me to tears with the story of
her attempt to rescue a badly abused little boy who doted
on a stuffed animal on her desk, one that said "I love
you!" He said he'd never been told that at home.

This is a constant in today's society-two million
unwanted, unloved, abused children in the public schools,
the only institution that takes them all in.

You want heroes? Visit any special education class and
watch the miracle of personal interaction, a job so
difficult that fellow teachers are awed by the
dedication they witness. There is a sentence from an
unnamed source which says, "We have been so anxious to
give our children what we didn't have that we have
neglected to give them what we did have."

What is it that our kids really need? What do they
really want? Math, science, history and social studies
are important, but children need love, confidence,
encouragement, someone to talk to, someone to listen,
standards to live by. Teachers provide upright examples,
the faith and assurance of responsible people.
 
Now, pass this on to someone you know who's a teacher, or
to someone who should thank a teacher today!

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Increase the Peace ~^~ {^}Each time a (Hu)man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope. Robert F. Kennedy~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Visit our High School art Page: http://members.home.net/artzheart

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