From now on, my resume will read “Nation Builder.”
Posted by newbie-tchr at 4:25 pm in 1

The day before last I watched Obama’sĀ State of the UnionĀ with my fiance, and could not help being extremely excited about all the amazing things he was saying about teachers. Regardless of party, it’s pretty humbling to hear the President of the United States talk about your profession in such a manner.

My favorite part was actually where he told the story of teachers in Korea, and how they are instead called “Nation Builders,” because of their impact on the nation’s youth. It always strikes me how much the US takes education for granted when you compare it to countries, like Korea, that haven’t always had the access and availability we’re so accustomed to.

Even in the US though, I’ve seen the discrepancies in the school systems that Obama was calling Congress to notice. As a military brat, I’ve lived pretty much all over the US – or at least that’s what it feels like. Excluding one year of private high school in Alabama it was all public education. Moving around let me experience some amazingly advanced school systems, like Fairfax County, VA and Eagle River, Alaska. Unfortunately, there were some not so great ones…which will go unnamed. My own experience of hopping through the school systems led to a lot of gaps and discrepancies in my education, which can be immediately blamed on the lack of consistency in state standards of education. Embarrassing as it is, I never learned fractions, because Alaskan schools were two years ahead of Alabama schools in math. (whoops) I learned cursive two years in a row because of the difference in Ohio and Alaska school systems, AND didn’t learn the confederate capitol was Richmond (not Montgomery) until I was a junior in high school. (This led to an extremely embarrassing situation where I asked the teacher if the textbooks were printed incorrectly in front of an entire class)

Clearly there’s more work to be done than getting more teachers. Standards need to be aligned, and made universal, and we need to help some districts and even states catch up to the more advanced ones. But, as Obama pointed out, the place to start is with teachers – especially well-educated and trained teachers with a will to help make it better.

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