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On the surface a teaching gig looks like a cakewalk.

From the classroom, to the teachers’ lounge, the time off, it makes people jealous, as if they could do the job.

Here’s a message to the good people who went to school in classrooms with teachers, but aren’t teachers themselves.

(Before continuing, this blogger is not a teacher.)

You thing teaching is easy?

You. Are. Wrong.

And here’s why:

Every kid in class has a parent, a grand parent, or a guardian of some kind. All kids come with that baggage.

The support system for students have expectations of teachers. Call it great expectations, and the teacher is there to fulfill them.

When you don’t fulfill every expectation, the roof falls in. If a kid’s performance in class is less than stellar, the teacher hears about it from everyone.

The fallout travels far beyond school.

Parents have friends with kids, kids the same age as the grade you teach, some older and some younger. Complaints about teachers take on a life of their own. They come from all sides, including fellow teachers and administrators.

Eventually the teacher breaks under the pressure, though you can’t tell. They still show up and do the work, but something’s missing.

Call it interest or caring. Call it professionalism. Call it punching the clock. You know when your teacher mailed it in. Your kids know too, but they’re not experienced enough to put it into words.

Bad teachers don’t make bad students, but they don’t lift kids who need a little more either.

From the outside teaching looks like a simple gig, but where else in the workforce is anyone woven into the fabric of society like a teacher.

It’s a love it or leave it deal and no one in this age of social media does it better than North Bend, Oregon mayor Rick Wetherell.

Before being elected mayor he was this bloggers junior high English teacher.

This particular teacher was about the size of a husky eighth grader but there was a big difference.

Mr. Wetherell drove a dream car of the 1960’s, a Mustang fastback. On top of that he was married to a woman who out shined even the North Bend Bulldog cheerleaders.

The final touch was he came from Hermiston, Oregon. Famous for watermelons and ass-kicking wrestling teams, Hermistonis also a school with a bulldog mascot.

By coming to North Bend, Mr. Wetherell double dogged down and let his students know they’d never slide by in his class, or any other aspect of education. He was tough enough to deal with early teen drama, break up fights, and still express the delicate nuances of classic literature.

This man engaged his students, his community, and his faith with gusto. He’s engaged for life and that’s the difference between mailing it in and feeling it enough to make others feel it.

If it takes a summer to recharge a teacher’s battery enough to light up students the next year, or a lifetime, it’s a good idea.

Who are your standout teachers?

About David Gillaspie
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