Eighth grade teacher Mrs. P was in a bit of emotional turmoil. Though the details were sketchy, it was becoming clear that soon she would no longer be married to Mr. P. In her English class, she iterated the quote “Absence makes the heart grow fonder” and followed it with “of somebody else.”
As middle-school boys will do, one of them had found something that was an affront to Mrs. P’s sensibilities, and she decided to chase the perpetrator down, even so far as the boy’s locker room. These days that could lead to a direct exit from the district, but at that time Coach R calmly and respectfully explained to Mrs. P, despite her protest, how she could damage a young ego by seeing their privates (“junk” was not the euphemism of the day). The truth of the matter was that certain boys would have liked nothing better than to flash Mrs. P, so Coach R was as much trying to protect Mrs. P as the boy’s in the locker room.
I don’t know what happened to Mrs. P. She was a good teacher of English and I was in her homeroom for a year, but as with so many teachers, they are a major force in your life and then you move on. Perhaps it is a flaw in the system. We meet a teacher, an adult mentor in our lives, we connect with them and learn from them, and then we have to move on regardless of our connection to them. As learning becomes more computerized, will that reduce the human contact involved? We are already networking in a virtual world. If human nature remains the same, how will we adapt to the separatist isolation created by the virtual world? We are together as a team and still working individually.
With the world changing at the speed of light, the challenges are different not just from generation to generation, but for those entering college from those getting their degree. That being the case, should a teacher’s tenure be no more than 5 years so the next round of teachers can bring in the latest research and thinking? What is the formula that will produce the best results for the entire human population, and how will we make the mass of 7 to 9 billion people all contributing members of society?
There are currently somewhat more than 7 billion individuals in the world … that’s right, individuals … because everyone is one individual each wanting to be recognized with value and purpose. Seven billion visions with seven billion missions, some as basic as surviving another day, others to change the world. Some wish to govern while others break the laws established. What will the next 20 years hold?