Teachers really can change the world
Updated: August 29, 2012 3:58PM
Last week was back-to-school week for most suburban families.
And back to school for teachers, too.
As a student, I always looked at the return to school with much hope and anticipation.
This could be the year, I always thought, just like a Cubs fan on Opening Day.
I could get the best classes and have the best teachers who would bring out the best in me. Anyway, that is what I wished for.
Sometimes, I got the best teacher, like Mr. Mims, who sparked a love of literature in all of us with his own love of poetry and probing questions.
Sometimes the teacher was awful, like my chemistry teacher, who had a habit a leaving the room for lengthy periods of time, even during tests. Eventually, an enterprising student discovered she had left behind the answer key in a top drawer. We all managed to pass the final with flying colors.
So it goes. Not every teacher is a Mr. Holland, the Richard Dreyfuss character in the film, “Mr. Holland’s Opus.”
I’ve always thought that movie was aimed at students and non-teachers. The film sought to chronicle the sacrifices and struggles of a teacher to give his students the best and to help them to become the best. Dreyfuss is a sort of teacher everyman, who dreams of greater things while toiling away as a music teacher, just temporarily.
The message: Teachers sacrifice their time, their families, their financial security, and their hopes and dreams to teach us, so we’d better appreciate them.
But, as we’re about to start another year of school, maybe that film has a different message.
Mr. Holland never wanted to be a teacher. He considered himself an artist who loved music and wanted to create music. He was the living embodiment of the well-worn cliché, “Those who can’t, teach.”
So maybe the message of the movie is really for those who have chosen the teaching profession. Maybe you got into it as a fallback career. Maybe you had greater aspirations, but feel you are settling for something less.
Maybe its message is aimed at those who are tired of the system, tired of the students, tired of the pay and hard work, and tired of the low esteem the public has for teachers these days.
For all of those, the message of Mr. Holland is to appreciate the great chance you have. You get to touch and shape young lives. Do it well, for you can change the world.~.