TO THE EDITOR
Dec. 20, 2015
To the Editor:
I don’t normally like to publically air my political views, but I feel my story and opinion in this particular matter may help others to more accurately assess the issue.
Prior to my current job, I taught history to high school students for twenty-five years. When I started my career, I struggled to create a curriculum from the vast amounts of information available to me. It was a challenge to find a balance between what was in the textbooks, what lay between the lines, and alternative sources that would help round out and bring to life the past beyond the page.
My greatest resource was an older teacher who had gone through the same struggles and was more than willing to help me build my own, unique courses. It was hard work, but eventually I developed a teaching style that I believe served my students well. In fact, these classes were so successful that over the years I’ve shared my lesson plans with countless young teachers who have adapted them and created their own, distinct classes.
Two years ago, when our community was in the throws of debating whether or not to allow WAL-MART EDUCATIONAL SERVICES, INC. to build a high school here, I admit I was opposed. It was hard for me to accept change, or see the wisdom of a business/educational system. I not only voted against the initiative, I picketed and knocked on doors to convince others to do the same.
Well, it passed anyway. I was devastated. What would become of the profession I had dedicated my life to? Would I be thrown into the streets, a victim of a system that no longer valued me?
As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded. Not only did Wal-Mart NOT fire me, they immediately contacted me and offered me a job. Imagine that; I was shocked! Of course my new position paid slightly less, about half of what I was earning, and I would no longer be teaching. That position actually went to one of my former students who had graduated the year before. Teaching degrees are no longer required.
My new job is that of Greeter! When the school opens each morning, mine is the first face the students see when they enter our shiny new building. “Welcome to Wal-Mart High!” I say proudly. “Have a nice day!” My friend Jim, who used to teach anthropology, has the end-of-the day shift. His line is “Thanks for learning at Wal-Mart! Don’t forget to study!”
The new teachers are all high school graduates. They receive further training at The Wal-Mart Teacher Training Institute: seven weeks of it, in fact. And they are provided with all the curriculum they’ll ever need. No struggling to create unique content or begging for advice from older colleagues.
This is a brave new world of education, and I’m proud to be a part of it. If you are one of the people opposed to this innovative learning paradigm, let me assure you there’s nothing to fear. After your children have graduated, they’ll be more than ready to move on to academic excellence at one of the many new universities across our great nation. My own grandson starts classes in the fall and I couldn’t be prouder! I can’t wait to visit him at AMWAY TECHNICAL INSTITUTE and maybe even take in a treadmill match.