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The proposal in Ohio Gov. John Kasich's budget to require teachers to shadow someone in business for their license to be renewed is well-intentioned. It wants to connect those in the teaching world with the so-called real world in which the vocational needs of business keep changing.
It might also be a very good idea for the state of Ohio to require all legislators and those holding statewide office to shadow a teacher for at least one full week as a requirement of their taking office.
Governor Kasich would do well to lead by example in this.
We say that because politicians often propose laws and regulations that change the world of teachers, but do so having never experienced the job of a teacher, which begins early in the morning and often continues after classes end, with committee meetings, homework to grade, sometimes students to counsel, and maybe teams to coach.
Walking a mile in a teacher's shoes would surely help legislators and governors, when they propose changes in the schools, to see the world of educators more accurately. It might be the very eye-opener some need to re-evaluate their assessment of these professionals, who, along with parents, families and peer groups of school age youngsters, are the most important figures in the lives of young people.
If the governor would lead the way, it would be interesting to see what he thinks after a full week of directing a class of 25 or more young people, some of them ill clad, some who start their day with no breakfast, others who have attention deficit issues, others lacking motivation, mixed in with middle class and upper middle class children who have enough and may be very motivated to learn. At the conclusion of the classroom day, the governor or the legislator could help coach a team, then in the evening grade homework. He might note that those free, nutritional lunches supplied to young people who might otherwise go without may soon be eliminated because of new federal policies being considered.
Because school budgets too often lack the money teachers need to provide all of the classroom tools they want youngsters to have, the governor or legislator doing the shadowing could then dig into his own pocket and shell out money for the classroom extras as do many teachers, who are certainly not getting rich in their chosen professions.
Summers off? While some teachers use those months to rest and recuperate, others pursue additional education in their fields. If they are band directors or coaches, they're back to school weeks before classes begin. Weekends off? Many teachers are able to enjoy their weekends like others in the real world, but some dedicated ones are traveling with young people they may coach or spending their weekends helping the musically and dramatically inclined to stage productions.
The governor, having shadowed a teacher, could then advise the legislators to follow his good example. They in turn could suggest those in business might profit by doing the same.
What an education that might be! Those outsiders from the real world, after experiencing the world of teachers, might even come up with some workable suggestions for improving life in the schools, provided they do not violate the many unfunded mandates the legislature is prone to pass.