Thursday, July 23, 2015

It's all about perspective

I get so irritated when I see politicians bring up a decision or stance that someone made 5 years ago, 10 years ago, or even longer. "We should all hate Candidate Doe because he was for legalizing wild bobcats as pets 20 years ago!" Think about it. We see these claims ALL THE TIME now, especially since the presidential election is coming up. Is it not plausible or acceptable for people to regret decisions they've once made or change their minds on issues or situations after having a little perspective? Can you say that you would make the same decisions now that you did when you were younger? Changing one's mind, changing one's stance, changing one's perception... it's all part of human growth.

I think about this concept more now as I creep closer to graduation. As I read some of the things I wrote even as close as two years ago, I'm amazed at some of my decisions and stances then. Education has truly changed me. I am not the same person I was and it's hard to look at some of my old posts and not consider deleting them; I fear that someone might see those posts and think that what I posted then aligns with my thought process now. But I resist that urge only because I want to remember where I was then and how much I've grown.

One such post came across my TimeHop app recently. Apparently, I'd just been told that I was about to have to pay $100 for my childrens' "free" educations. Understandably, I was upset. Not unlike many families, we struggle financially. I questioned the purpose of us paying $50 a piece for supply fees for our kids when I could have gotten all the supplies both children needed for school for less than $50. I was certain that what I was paying for was not only supplies for my child, but supplies for the children whose parents weren't able (or willing) to pay. Why was it my responsibility to provide for those children?

In response to the post, I can now tell Former Me some things about education and schools that she didn't know or didn't really think about then.

"Hey, I get that you're upset. I understand your point, but I think that you should first take into account those workbooks. Do you remember when you were a kid and had to wait in line at a local store to buy workbooks and how expensive they were? Now consider that these materials are going through the school. Yay! No more waiting in line and hoping you got the right workbook! Considering this, $50 doesn't seem like a whole heckuva lot now, does it?

"Also consider how fantastic it is not to have to wedge your way into the back-to-school section at Wal-Mart and hope that you can get every exact specification on the list. You'll like that plan when Zachary goes into the 4th grade and you have a list of precise supplies to buy. Oh, so you don't understand why a kid would specifically need a green folder and a yellow folder? Why can't it be just any color, you ask? Well, it's easier for a teacher to say to 30 young students, 'Get out your yellow folders.' This allows for smoother transitions between subjects and allows more time for teaching. You'll come to realize that in teaching, every second counts!

"Finally, I know that there will always be those parents who honestly can't afford to pay the fees for their children. I also know that there will always be those parents who will refuse to pay the fees, whether they can really afford to or not. In either case, you have enough problems, right? Why should you have to pay for supplies for those other kids, especially if you don't know which kind of kids are getting the waivers? On that point, forgive me, but I have to say, GET OVER YOURSELF.  It isn't the child's fault when parents can't or won't pay their fees. If you have serious money issues, talk to the teacher and work out some sort of payment plan, otherwise, pay it and stop worrying and whining. Do you realize just how much money teachers take out of their own pockets to pay for things so your children can be comfortable and happy and ready to learn? No, you don't know it, yet. You will soon, though. Point is, it is not the teacher's fault and it isn't any of the kids' faults. Don't take out your frustrations on them."

So, yeah. I would have given Former Me a good swift kick and reminded her to remember the importance of giving and doing what we can for the betterment of society. Being on the other side of things has provided me with a perspective I never once considered before.

On that note, I must get back to business. I finished my last exam for the summer semester yesterday and am gearing up for the Praxis exams in less than a month. The kids will go back to school in two weeks. This summer (and the year!) has totally flown by. It's hard to believe that by this time next year, I will be finished with this part of my education. I told you, dear reader, that I wouldn't see much of you in the interim and I apologize for that. When I emerge, I will be ready with new stories and new experiences to share! Until then...

Peace, Love, and Teaching,