I was in San Francisco last week visiting my sister who is a schoolteacher there and has two kids. On Friday I went to her school and if you didn’t know, it was the birthday of Dr. Seuss last week, so there was a schedule set up of different readers coming into the school to read stories to kids.
My sister never told me any of this information.
When I arrived at the school, I was greeted by the principal who told me that I was to walk up on stage with a microphone and read a few pages of Green Eggs and Ham and then pass it along to the next guest reader.
I walked into the assembly hall, and there literally were 1,000 wide-eyed kids waiting for me to read Green Eggs and Ham to them. This entire thing was being video taped by ABC’s Channel 7 News in San Francisco because one of the readers that day was a television personality.
So I read Green Eggs and Ham and it hit me how important a book this story is to children. I can remember vividly being a kid and being read Green Eggs and Ham by my parents. It was read to me so many times that before I even knew how to read, I had thought that I had learned because I had literally memorized the book. Kid’s freaking love Dr. Seuss. It’s crazy.
My grandmother on my Mother’s side, Sharon, is still kicking around in California, used to like making steak for me for dinner. And one of the strangest things that she used to do was literally eat the fat off of the steak. I thought it was so weird. “Well green eggs and ham are weird but you seem to like that,” she’d say.
While in San Francisco I realized two things. One is that teaching kids is freaking exhausting. I’ve always viewed teaching as sort of a calling for people, and everybody I know who is a teacher, in general, says it was always their dream to become a teacher. I’m telling you right now, that job is exhausting. The kids just literally tire you out. They are constantly looking at you for attention or information, and you really don’t get any down time during the entire day except for recess. The big thing about teaching that is pretty cushy is the time off you get, but in terms of the job, it’s pretty tough. You really have to enjoy being around kids constantly to like it. I like kids, but when there are 25 of them all acting like maniacs in a classroom, you can get pretty worn out. I was anyway.
Which brings me to what’s going in the Bridgehampton School District. The entire teaching and support staff agreed together that they would not get any salary increases for the 2012-2013 school year so that they could battle budget issues.
School budgets are becoming a real problem, government budgets in general are, and they are a focus of not just local elections but the national election for President as well. But for the first time in a long time, I’ve seen some reasonable thinking when it comes to any form of government. Bridgehampton looked at the situation, said to themselves, clearly this is an unreasonable financial situation, and took action to address it that was the least painful for as many employees as possible. It was addressed in the same fashion that well-run businesses need to address certain issues in hard times, and this is rare for the government. Sometimes I think the government expects to do better during difficult times. Reasonable thinking. It’s pretty rare these days.
With that being said, there is a slippery slope that can happen with this kind of thing and it’s why both sides are generally at war with each other, with each side asking for completely unreasonable outcomes. I’m sure there are plenty of misguided people who would be more than happy to have the entire school shut down, teachers get paid next to nothing, and for kids to get jobs in a sewing factory in China.
Teachers are freaking important, so are police and a lot of other government workers. Some are not so important, but teachers and police are vital for a society. So let’s try to keep the reasonable thinking going, it’s so rare these days.