With all the bru-ha-ha going on in Wisconsin, I keep thinking about the article by Mr. Leonhardt that prompted the post below. After reading his article, I actually did something I don’t often do, I wrote him an email thanking him. Guess what? He actually wrote me back and we had a nice dialogue back and forth about the issue of teacher pay. As I noted in my post, teachers clearly aren’t in it for the money. That being said, we deserve a fair wage and the respect of our communities. I try to keep my posts out of the political spectrum for fear of offending someone, but I hope our dear sisters and brothers in Wisconsin don’t give up… if they lose, we all do.

No I didn’t win the lottery. A rich relative didn’t pass away making my dreams of a huge flat screen TV come true. $320,000 is the amount a quality kindergarten teacher is worth according to a new study. I rarely reflect on articles I read, but this one just got me… in a good way… in an amazing way.

Teachers know we do important work. Most parents realize this too… for some reason, the general public forgets from time to time how critical our roles are. While the study cited does reflect test scores, there was much more at stake than academics. We don’t just teach reading, writing and arithmetic. According to Mr. Leonhardt, kindergarten teachers impart “patience, discipline, manners, and perseverance” to their charges. “Skills that last a lifetime” – truly we are gardeners tending to precious crops.

As I read the article, smiling to myself and giving an occasional fist pump that slightly alarmed my dog, I felt affirmed. Obviously, I’m never going to make that salary as a kindergarten teacher, but my students help subsidize my pay with pictures, flowers, and endless hugs. Even when you know you have the best job in the word, it’s really pleasant to hear your opinion backed up by research. Thank you Mr. Loenhardt for helping me go back to school with proof my work is significant.