By Michael Stelzer Jocks, History Faculty.
I was so sad to hear that Comedy Central’s wonderful skit show Key & Peele will be ending this year. The two comedians have done some amazing work over the last five years. I really can’t pinpoint their funniest sketch as there are so many good ones, but, as a teacher, I must say the ‘Teachingcenter’ skit from a couple weeks ago needs to be in contention for that honor. Have a look:
Key & Peele’s message is clear. Our society is obsessed with overgrown boys and girls who play games. We follow their every victory, every defeat and every scandal from the edge of our seats. So many of these men and women are living a life of decadence, paid millions upon millions of dollars, and we don’t bat an eye. In fact, we cheer them on and defend them if they are part of our ‘team’. At the same time, large segments of our nation complain incessantly about teachers if they make more than 40,000 dollars a year since they ‘get the summer off’. Key & Peele are critiquing such social absurdity. They are doing what good comedians do; critiquing societal norms with some dead-on, feel-good humor.
Now, I don’t want this to become too political. I don’t want to make the argument here that teachers should get paid more (they should), or that athletes should get paid less (they should.) I also don’t want to touch on teacher unions, violence in sports, our nation’s cult of celebrity, or anything else that may lead to some red-faced readers….
No, I just want to copy Key & Peele. I want to give a shout out to teachers. This may seem self-serving since I am a university teacher, but I am not trying to blow my own horn. I really want this post to focus upon a much more difficult position: the K-12 teacher.
I have the utmost respect for these folks. This respect stems from having two elementary aged girls. Of course I love my girls, but I would be lying if I said they were perfect angels. Having them home all day, fighting with each other over the most mundane things can get on my last nerve. So, I simply can’t imagine how difficult it must be having 20 to 25 such children in an often cramped classroom. How do teachers control such an environment for 8 hours a day, five days a week? I really don’t know. But in happens every day all over this nation. And what is more, teachers so often do this magic trick with a smile. I know my girls’ teachers do. Not surprisingly then, the kids constantly let me and my wife know that they LOVE school. Why do they love school? That one is easy; they LOVE their teachers. And, their teachers love them. You can see that at the end of each tiring, trying day when the teachers greet the parents with a laugh and a nod. As a parent, and as a teacher, this 3pm send off repeatedly leaves me in reverential awe.
So, raise your glasses to the K-12 teachers! Key & Peele are right; they are the true superstars!