Thursday, September 13, 2007

Why We Need to Support Teachers

I will always be a teacher. And I will always have respect and admiration for other teachers because, in my biased opinion, no other service helps people and society more than teaching. Whether it be Socrates, whose teaching started Western philosophy; Lino Olopai, whose teaching offers wisdom in our modern times; or the countless teachers in our classrooms whose teaching inspires young minds and hearts to achieve great things, teachers make a world of difference in the lives of all of us. Indeed, Henry Adams got it right when he wrote, “A teacher affects eternity; he [or she] can never tell where his [or her] influence stops.”

Moreover, teachers sacrifice so much to help our children. Even in these hard times, teachers dig deep into their own pockets to buy supplies and surprises for their students. They stay up late into the night writing lesson plans, grading papers, and thinking about how to help little Johnny who’s having a hard time with his multiplication table. And while some voices in the community pay only lip service to education and others outright bash the education system, everyday, in the trenches of our schools, teachers fight the good fight, moving forward one student at a time, against the daunting tide of criticism and empty promises.

Some say that we have to be practical and realistic about education and the economy, a perspective often used to undercut education. Well, if you want to be practical and realistic about the current state of affairs, how can you not see education as the practical and realistic solution to our problems? An educated workforce is a skilled workforce that attracts high-paying jobs and profitable industries. An educated electorate is a thinking electorate that will not tolerate government corruption, incompetence, and indifference. An educated people is an enlightened people that will work together to find common solutions to our common problems.

So, why in our darkest hours do we cut funding for our schools? Now, more than ever, we must invest in our schools. The most important resources in any given community are its human resources, and you cannot have that without good schools. Despite businesses and industries that run to protect their access to cheap labor, the new global market increasingly demands a high-skilled, high-knowledge workforce. As the National Center on Education and Economy put it, “only countries with highly skilled workforces could successfully compete in [the new global] market.” In other words, we don’t need cheap labor. We need smart labor.

That is why, instead of investing in lobbyists, consultants, and a third-world model built on cheap labor, we must invest in our children and we must support our teachers.

For teachers have not given up on our children and our future. Neither should we.

Galvin Deleon Guerrero
Candidate for the Board of Education
“From the classroom to the boardroom—an educator for education.”
Garapan, Saipan

p. s.
I don’t claim to know it all and welcome your thoughts and comments. Feel free to email me at


Anonymous said...

It is a sad commentary of our community when we spend more on prisons that we do on schools.

Lucia said...

I agree with you! I cannot fathom how shortsighted we usually are about education. We cannot use the "hand to mouth" when dealing with education because it takes a long time and we have to do it one student at a time. We need to be visionaries, to be able to see beyond the horizon. We have to set the course for this canoe and use our resources to get there and not stop mid-way in the middle of the ocean. I look forward to hearing more of your wisdom.