Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Value Everyone

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.


IMC Guy said...

I have had a little experience learning about the pay for educational assistance and it really is amazing how little they get paid.

I also had a discussion the other day about graduate credits and Masters degrees for teachers and the discussion turned to "smartness."

I replied that there is a huge difference between SMART and EDUCATED. People can be one and not the other.

HappyChyck said...

I've taught in populations that were not college-bound. I stressed the importances of being a contributing member or society and doing what brought they happiness. I had a student a few years ago who really wanted to be a mechanic, and I repeatedly told him I'd be his first customer because I just needed someone who was reliable that I could trust. And frankly, I'd pay $$ for that!

Also, IMC Guy said it very well--huge difference between SMART and EDUCATED.

Pissedoffteacher said...

I tell people that smart and educated are not the same all the time. My mother-in-law was an uneducated woman, but, in my opinion brilliant. She used to call all my husbands friends "CI", meaning college idiots, and she was right. They all went on to get high degrees, but had no common sense, at least not while they were young.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing this.