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Ventura County Perspective

Teachers Are Blessed With Being Chosen to Serve

February 04, 2001|GARY MURPHY | Gary Murphy of Simi Valley is principal of Chaminade College Preparatory high school in West Hills

Teachers are the most honored and privileged contributors to our society.

Now, I know the crowds don't part for us when we walk through the mall. No one hosts a black-tie party in our honor, and our salaries only come close to what Alex Rodriguez makes in one game.

But hear me out.

Who else can claim to communicate and transfer our collective culture--from Jesus to Hitler, Jefferson to Vonnegut, Gershwin to Dylan--to future generations?

More importantly, how many of us are chosen to swim against the worst in our cultural stream, to promote personal spirituality over crass materialism, awareness over ignorance, compassion over apathy?

We are entrusted with the protection and celebration of our past, helping our students nurture a moral view of the present and planting seeds of the future.

Only we can fully appreciate the beauty of the student in a Metallica T-shirt who can quote from "Walden."

Who but teachers can claim to be the guardians of idealism?

There is nothing more idealistic than the notion of taking a person in September and making him or her better by June.

That's what we do.

We take the small, precious flame of a dream and through blood, sweat and tears whip it into a beautiful blaze that subdues the darkness.

We have seen the glow of pride when students accomplish what they either did not want to do or did not think they could do.

We believe. We are hope. We are promise.

We are the champions of everything we can be.

As teachers we are blessed with being chosen to lead lives of selfless service.

We have the opportunity to give of our time, our talent and indeed our treasure for others.

For us, every day is taking less so others get more.

The soul is fed not with indulgence and comfort but with struggle and sacrifice.

As Mother Teresa advised, we do not necessarily do great things but we do countless small things with great love.

The less fortunate must find opportunities for this personal nourishment; we are blessed to live it day to day.

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How many can claim the sacred opportunity to touch the future and help to shape it? Like a potter at his wheel, we approach this gift with a humble reverence and with divine guidance we slowly fashion young men and women in ways that we may never even know.

Through our students we have the chance to make the world better every day.

If we hang around long enough, we experience the joy of seeing our students grow up, have families of their own, win joyous victories and overcome crushing defeats, all the while becoming contributors to the world in their own right.

We are a critical component to this circle of life.

If we are judged by our responsibilities, who among us can claim to be more gifted?

Politicians and pundits may plan and strategize, skeptics and cynics can decry and criticize, but only we who teach know the glory of the spark of discovery, enlightenment and pride in the eyes of our young men and women.

This cannot be standardized and never shows up on school accountability ratings. The conception of dreams cannot be measured or scrutinized and can never be materially rewarded adequately.

I am the craftsman of the future. I am a teacher and I thank God for it every day.

On the occasion of Teacher's Appreciation Week, I want to thank my fellow teachers for their dedication, commitment and effort in the interest of our students and their families.

"Who else can claim to communicate and transfer our collective culture--from Jesus to Hitler, Jefferson to Vonnegut, Gershwin to Dylan--to future generations?"

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