Growing Up in the Classroom

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Now, I know this may sound like I’m sucking up, but I just love teachers. 🙂

My kids have been so fortunate to have dedicated teachers in their lives. As a parent, it’s a wonderful feeling to send your child to school knowing they are being cared for and taught by smart, hardworking individuals.

In addition to the deep appreciation I have for the teachers who have worked with my children, I have a unique perspective on life in and out of the classroom. I come from a long line of teachers. My grandmother, aunt, and great-grandpa were teachers. And, of course, mom Sandy Gingerich, was a third grade teacher at Mid-Prairie for 25 years. She went back to college when I was in elementary school and got her degree, while mothering four kids. She managed to get her masters degree later, STILL while mothering four kids AND working full time. She was a tremendous teacher and I am lucky to have her as my mom!

When you’re the child of a teacher, you learn a few things. For example:

  • I can recite all of the places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived as a child. Not only have I heard the books many times, but my kids now have as well!
  • I am very skilled in the art of cutting out laminated shapes and decorating bulletin boards.
  • Teachers work nights and weekends with no shift differential. Who ever said teachers take the summer off? My mom didn’t! She just had different classroom hours in the summer, and guess who got to help? Yours truly. (Unfortunately, her school didn’t get air conditioning until after I left for college.)
  • When your mom is a teacher, you learn there is a difference between her “teacher voice” and “mom voice.” (Can you guess which one is nicer?) Also, meeting my mom’s students in public was always interesting.  My mom would switch instantly to the “teacher voice” and the students would act shy. They didn’t know what to think about the fact that their teacher also shops at Hy-Vee. Worlds colliding! 
  •  I recall many a conversation about things such as: is _______ “funner” or “more fun”.
  • An important life lesson I learned from my mother was that you always need to be nice to the custodian.

How does this relate to my run for school board? Well, I can honestly say, I KNOW how hard our teachers work. I KNOW the challenges they face when they have too many kids in their classroom. I KNOW that our teachers aren’t paid a fair wage for the amount of impact that they have on the lives of children.

They don’t leave their work at the “office” when they walk out the door. They bring everything home with them. And it’s not just the papers they grade at the dining room table. It’s not just the books supplies they purchase out of pocket. They think and worry about their students long after the last bell rings, after they hug and say goodbye at the end of May, after they graduate from high school. They offer up silent prayers for their safety and well-being when their students leave their care.

This is what I know about teachers. And this is why I will fight for them if elected. I will push for policies that reflect fair treatment of teaches. I will advocate for fair compensation. I will actively seek out and defer to the expertise of the teachers when programming decisions need to be made.

The teachers in our district deserve strong leadership and advocacy. I promise to be in their corner.