ccjcTwo things were imprinted on my brain from childhood.  I lived on a farm with my grandparents across the road.  When I would leave for a ballgame, school trip, or going out on a date, my grandpa would say, “Remember those little folks are watching you,” and my dad would say, “Son, remember who you are.” They had explained what they meant by these statements early in my life. Dad and grandpa meant them to be an encouragement for me to be a person of responsibility, character, and integrity.  

Let Go of The Stuff Out of Your Control

These are tough times to be in public education.  Budgets are in a downward spiral, more and more is being asked of us in and out of the classroom, and change is coming at such a high rate of speed we have little time to prepare for the next moment.    Much seems beyond our sphere of influence, so we need to be reminded of what we do have control over.  I challenge parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and law makers to be reminded that our children are watching us.  These young people are looking to see if we are authentic when we say that their education is most important.  Children can spot a fraud a mile away and know when our talk is not congruent with our actions. We all need to remember that getting results at all cost is not as important as how we treat others, how we do things matters, and pontificating that education is our number one priority means investing in young people – they deserve parents who love them, quality teachers, to be happy and fulfilled, to be safe, and to know that their community and state is there to offer resources and opportunities.

Teachers Bring People Together

I believe we teachers have a tremendous responsibility.  Every time I walk into the class room, my students are watching and learning.  They see how I handle stress, how I work, how I treat others, how I deal with mistakes and failures, how I handle success, and how I act when the going gets tough.   In times like these, it is important for teachers to remember who they are. We are trained professionals given the noblest task of preparing the minds, hearts, and spirits of those children sitting in front of us. The time is not to withdraw from the task, huddle in a meeting, or build a barricade of protection against our critics. Tension seems to be growing between the key entities, and we need to come together in order to make a positive impact on our educational system.

The time to unite parent, teacher, administration, school board, community, and legislator together to provide the best education possible is now.  Can we not put aside our egos, our wealth, our success, and petty differences for a greater good?  Let’s be leaders for change … let’s help people connect for our children.

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Johnny Matlock 217 West 24th Street Hays, Kansas 67601 Phone: 785-623-1412 Email: matlockjc@gmail.com