Wednesday, March 28, 2007
One of the school aids came running over to me today and asked me to help her with a math problem. She was embarrassed to ask my AP because she thought he would have called her stupid (he's not always nice, but he wouldn't have done that--he just gives the impression he would). She needed me to show her how to calculate her weekly salary, which included a small raise and some over time. It was sad to see how little this woman got paid. I know we teachers feel we are underpaid, but when I see the salaries of school aids, security guards and paras, I feel wealthy, but this is a whole other post. Getting back to the topic, I showed her how to figure out if she had been paid for her over time or not. She thanked me a hundred times and then said something that hurt "I'm only good for making copies, I'm not smart like you." I immediately told her that what she said was false. Everyone has special talents, mine happens to be in math. I'm sure her strengths go beyond the copy room.
Our society tends to undervalue people that are not academically inclined. Many of those people are talented and good at things that people, like me, in academics could never hope to succeed in. It's time to let everyone know that it is okay if they are not book smart. They are still smart. They still have value and their value is equal to or superior to everyone. The whole concept of telling everyone that they should go to college is only pushing this myth of the "superior" educated people. A real NCLB law would encourage teaching that everyone, no matter what their job function is should be valued.