Do you remember your kindergarten teacher? I remember mine. Mrs. Penny was her name. I loved Mrs. Penny. We all did. I wonder why? I think I know: Most kindergarteners love their teachers because their teachers teach them things.
Mrs. Penny taught me letters and numbers and Spanish words. She read me stories and told me my pictures were beautiful. I think we all feel a real bond of affection to those who bring understanding and achievement into our lives. That is as it should be.
Let’s examine this phenomenon from a variety of perspectives in relation to our government school system.
Did Mrs. Penny teach me anything my mother didn’t know or couldn’t learn? Hardly. Obviously, I never learned anything in elementary school that my mom couldn’t have taught me: arithmetic, language, nature study, art, history, whatever. Therefore, elementary schools are unnecessary for education. Any parent can do it. As a matter of fact, many or most schools in the early years of our country’s history required that entering students already know how to read and write! Why? Because it is so easy to do.
It’s all so … elementary!
First conclusion: I could have spent six years with my mom at home teaching me herself! Wow! I love my mother. I would have loved such an experience! Mmmm. I didn’t need to be taught by others or in an institution.
The act of giving (especially the imparting of stuff of great worth such as knowledge) from one person to another creates a permanent attachment founded in true appreciation and admiration! Now, if my mother taught me those things, my warm and tender thoughts would be associated with her. Instead, a woman I knew nothing about, and whom I will never know anything about, is tied to this love.
Our human endeavors are limited by natural laws. Because I was in a classroom, I wasn’t at home. Because teachers instructed me, my mother didn’t. And, because childhood is fleeting, there are no second chances. Does this matter? A resounding yes!
Every act of learning results in a permanent bond of devotion and fidelity to the teacher. The relationship of child to parent is the most important, formative and impacting of any human relationship in society. Of all the responsibilities of parenthood, the most vital and consequential is education. And yet, we relinquish this great and mighty task to the state – unable to recognize the shift of loyalty away from the family and the parent.
Where once the family was our earthly source of strength, power and self-confidence, we have teachers and friends. But if our most important emotional connections are forged with teachers and school friends, what happens when we grow up or move and know them no more? I submit this structure, with its tenuous bonds, cannot withstand the pressures our children face.
Children like adults will always seek guidance when in need. Today children go not to their parents, not to their pastor or grandpa; they seek wisdom from their peers and their teachers. Why? Nearly everything they know had been taught by someone other than mom and dad!
Teachers teach your child. This process builds trust, respect and loyalty. When a personal crisis occurs, to whom do most people turn? The person who they believe knows the most – their teacher.
This begins very subtly with a sweet and loving Mrs. Penny – only one new influence on your child. Soon, your child will see the separation from parents as normal, healthy and eventually, good. Parents feed, clothe, discipline and shelter; but teachers impart truth and wisdom.
When your son finishes with elementary school he will have had six new “advisers.” Move on to junior high or middle school. Now your child might have as many as six or seven new “counselors” a year. On to high school: four years each of seven or eight “teacher counselors” At this juncture, Jennie or Tom have been placed under the care, counsel, and training of about 55 teachers (of whose background and beliefs you know nothing! And over whom you have no control) Add to that a number of friends and acquaintances.
What’s the problem we ask? There is no stability or permanence to any of this. Crucially important relationships are developed with people who are essentially strangers and will exit the life of your child quite permanently someday. Unlike family, these relationships will never be permanent. The person who guides your child through his first problem will be gone when you child next needs him.
Possibly even more damaging is the ever-changing nature of the guidance your child receives. Every year, every class, every teacher will bombard you child with conflicting “truths.” Some may mistakenly take my point to be a closing off or shielding of our children from “reality.” Not so. I am pointing out that children have yet to form their worldview. This foundation is necessary for mental, emotional, spiritual and relational strength in their lives. When young, they are impressionable and if deluged with conflicting “truths,” something will give. If every day a different role model and confidant told your child a different sum for the equation 2 + 2, your child would become hopeless, cynical and depressed. That is what is happening in the classroom, and we see it in the children.
This brings me to the fourth aspect of my thesis: schoolteachers are no more noble, selfless, objective or intelligent than other people. The truth is they are no less subject to the pride or selfish motives which unfortunately affect most everybody. The teacher is no less human or sinful than the rest of us.
My point? We allow 50 to 100 strangers to spend more time with our children than we do. Within the population of teachers are liars, cheaters and thieves. There are bullies, porn-addicts, pedophiles and rapists. Some teachers are witches, atheists and pantheists. Teachers can be adulterers, bigots, socialists and drug addicts. Should you roll the dice and hope for the best?
Conclusion: Any parent can teach. Teachers and learners develop very intimate, permanent and impacting bonds. The teacher is counselor and confidant to the prot?g?. Teachers can be as evil as the rest of us. Until your child is ready to defend himself, you should be your child’s primary teacher.
Next month’s issue (October edition) of WND’s popular Whistleblower magazine will be devoted entirely to public education. Titled “Dumbed down: The deliberate destruction of America’s government schools,” it will forever change the way you think about America’s education system. You may subscribe to
Whistleblower at WND’s online store.