So, I tried really hard for the past couple of weeks to avoid writing about this, but it’s finally hit the point where I can’t! There are somethings that are simply too frustrating! I’m going to try and keep this as ambiguous as possible, because I know some of the people it discusses don’t really want the situation to be particularly public, but sometimes, you hit a point where you just have to vent, or make a point about things.
For the people who know me best, they know that I loved my high school! I lived and died by that place. Where as some people “bleed” their college’s colors, I “bled” my high schools. I treasured the building, I treasured the atmosphere, and I believed it was the exception to the rule. No more.
Over the last several years I’ve watched changes occur in the administration and slowly those changes trickled down through the rest of the school. For a while the changes seemed insignificant. Closed hallways, intended to keep students safe and also to keep academic hallways quiet. Gym uniforms, annoying, but I’ll buy that kids weren’t following the rules to come up with their own gym clothes. I’m sure there are some other changes of which I am not aware because I’m not constantly at the high school anymore. But last spring, as many of you know because you’re either a part of this community or because you read this rumors began to rumble that some teachers were retiring. This fall that proved to be true. I wrote a post about it then. Now, “retirement parties” are happening, school years are ending, and people (teachers) are finally leaving and I’ve had it! True, this doesn’t all relate back to the administration, it also relates back to my state government, but regardless, for once in my life, I’m not just mildly upset or irritated at the situation, I’m absolutely furious!
I don’t know how to explain, to anyone, that the measure of a teacher is not in their degrees, their experience, or their salary. The measure of a teacher is in who they are, how they teach, and most importantly, who/how they inspire. The particular teacher I’m thinking of has been inspiring students (and sometimes frustrating them) for nearly 20 years. I’ve butted heads with the prof, I do with many. I’m a stubborn old goat, and I admit it. I still think it’s wrong. The teacher in question, especially in the last few years, has pulled some of the most amazing music out of high school students! This teacher has given young educators opportunities and experiences. And this teacher has encouraged young performers to seek out their dreams (and that has always been true)! Now, with a forced retirement out of the public school system, this teacher is looking for a different position. Yes, said person has worked at the collegiate level before, but they’ve spent 20 years pouring their life-blood into my high school’s music program and it’s being taken away.
I will continue to say that, if this were a chosen retirement, I would shut up about the circumstances, but as it is, it is a forced retirement and I have never seen anything that is so incomprehensible! I encourage those of you reading this: stand up for your school’s music department, stand up for the teachers, be activists, because too many are silent, too many don’t care, and like I never thought I’d see at my high school, too many sports departments are getting funding while the fine arts departments are slashed to pieces. I loved my high school and now, on the days that I pass it, driving, riding my bike, or running, I am simply disgusted by it. If you love where you were, be an activist, keep what made your high school a home part of that home. I’m sorry to say, maybe I didn’t make enough noise at my high school while I was in college. I assure you, I will not make that mistake again!