Last week, Ohio governor John Kasich became the latest Ohioan to give my home state a bad name when he said "If I were King of America, I would abolish all teachers' lounges, where they sit together and worry about 'woe is us.'"
I'm kind of at a loss as to how to respond. I mean, I could tell you that collectively, teachers have literally the most important job in the world, but I don't think I know anyone who doesn't know this to be true. The doctor who saved your life is a doctor because her 5th grade teacher got her hooked on science and her biology teacher recognized her potential and her physics teacher refused to let her give up. The people who keep planes in the air, food on our tables, and nuclear power plants from melting down know how to do this because they had teachers.
I could tell you that teachers are essential to keeping our streets safe, but you could probably deduce that. Did you know that if a kid isn't reading at grade level when they're 10, they're four times less likely to finish high school? And that high school dropouts are 63 times more likely to end up in prison than folks with college degrees? That means teachers may be the only people standing between a kid and a life of crime. Does Kasich not have access to this information? Maybe his teachers never taught him statistics. Or how to read. No wonder he has a vendetta against them.
He's gotta know that the teachers' lounge doesn't begin to live up to its name. As several teachers have pointed out, lounging is just about the last thing going on in a teachers' lounge. The teachers' lounge, if it exists at all, is where teachers go to scarf down a tuna fish sandwich on their 20 minute (if they're lucky) lunch break. To grade homework and tests. To write letters of recommendation and critique students' college entrance exams. Teachers don't even get to lounge around at home, what with all the grading and Googling to make sure the kids aren't cheating and the migraines and the lesson plans. But you don't have to be a genius to figure out that teachers have way more work to do than could possibly be done in an 8 hour day. You just have to be smarter than John Kasich, apparently.
Teaching is just about the most thankless job on earth. Teaching is long hours and bratty kids and fights in the hallway and a million billion proficiency tests. Teaching is being exposed to every childhood disease imaginable and having to work sick. Teaching is a lack of bathroom breaks and a wealth of indignant parents. Teaching is hard as hell and doesn't pay nearly enough.
But you probably already knew that. Why doesn't Kasich know that?