I am a first-grade teacher and have been an educator for 34 years. I have known so many dedicated teachers who give and give, without asking for recognition.

Teachers give up so much extra time. It is not uncommon to find cars in the parking lot at the elementary school where I teach from 5:30 or 6 a.m. until 5:30 or 6 at night. It is not uncommon to find teachers working at home, on the weekends or over vacations. It is not uncommon to find a teacher buying items their students need or must have. We serve children who face any number of daily challenges in life, but we love and care for each one as best we can.

We’d love to sit at a table and tell you about our children. We’d love to tell you personal stories of triumph, when it didn’t look like it was possible. We’d love to tell you about the moments when a student realizes, “I can do this. I am a reader (or a writer).” And, we’d even like to tell you about those who we’d like to find more or better answers for.

Teachers are mentors, a safe harbor for many, who teach respect, responsibility and kindness every day. Teachers model those same ideals and in so doing, would never tell a child who says, “I want to be a teacher some day,” not to do it because they’ll be among “a dime a dozen” (”At new Cianbro facility, LePage praises vocational training, calls teachers ‘a dime a dozen’,” Aug. 17).

There is a part of me that understands the point trying to be made — teachers need to be more than teachers; they need to be mentors, too. But it is that part of me that wants to help us rise above the taste in our mouths it left behind because of the way it was stated. At least, I hope that’s what was meant.

Patti Champagne


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