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Some adults are helping kids; others are acting like children

By ELAINE WILSON-REDDY

Contributing columnist

I am a professional educator. My experience spans 17 years of teaching band, music and choir, in addition to being a substitute teacher at various times. My last subbing experience was in 2011-12. I was grateful for the opportunity but left knowing I would never sub again.

Never say never, right?

God had a hearty laugh and created the need for me to be a substitute teacher again. I am thankful to have this chance in order to do some soul cleansing and karma cleaning.

So far, I have subbed at Bate Middle, Hogsett Primary and Toliver Intermediate schools in the Danville school system.

I am in a different head space now than when I taught back in 2011-2012. I am much more aware of the “why” behind student behavior. This awareness has brought me to my knees in a couple of instances.

Students come to school wearing the reality of their home-lives. Some have had a good breakfast, clean clothes to wear, shoes that fit and a supportive, loving family to wear. Others wear getting up late in a mad scramble to find clothes to wear while racing to catch the bus. Still others come to school hungry wearing the same clothes from the previous day, shoes that don’t fit or are worn out, and with more stressors than we can begin to imagine.

The compassion I have witnessed from educators for their students is nothing short of amazing. I heard a teacher say her husband asked her not to buy any more Velcro or have anything else laminated until after payday. They are truly dedicated to meeting as many of their students’ needs as possible. It’s what teachers do every single day during school, after school, in the evenings, on weekends and during school breaks.

A student in one of my classes was having a particularly difficult day. The building principal and assistant principal were in and out of the classroom to make sure things were going well. When it became obvious this student needed some intervention, the building principal took the child for a walk. Just a simple walk down the hall. No yelling. No threats. Just compassion and a calm, safe place for the child to decompress.

Additionally, I watched teachers embrace a new faculty member on her first day of teaching by sticking their heads into the classroom to say hello and ask if she needed anything. They brought precious classroom books, instructional materials, and manipulatives to make sure she had what was needed for her students.

Teaching is hard. Teaching can be heartbreaking. It can also be exhilarating. Our education professionals deserve better than the beating they are taking from our governor. They work tirelessly to help mold young minds into responsible adults, often when the young minds have been damaged by other adults.

Professional educators have the most important impact on our children outside of their homes: helping children become responsible adults. I am proud to be an educator.

On a different note, it’s embarrassing and ridiculous to witness the “adults” who are responsible for running the Boyle County Fiscal Court. I was astonished to read about the last fiscal court meeting. These are grown men acting like children.

The joint city-county parks and recreation committee was to have come up with a plan to make that department run more efficiently and be more accountable. The first meeting of the committee sounded like the city and county finally had personnel who would put their egos aside and plan for what is best for their constituents.

Bless Jamey Gay for asking during the fiscal court meeting how the committee meeting went. We now have on record what we have always suspected: Those men don’t want questions asked. They enjoy their ability to do what they want with little to no transparency. The fact that a newly elected magistrate called his colleague “nosey” for asking about the meeting is a disgrace.

The committee has since had another meeting where the same two magistrates, Tom Ellis and Phil Sammons, dug in their heels with zero intention of discussing what had previously been negotiated.

Tom Ellis and Phil Sammons, you need to come spend some time in one of the elementary schools I’ve subbed in. I guarantee that you would not be allowed to act in such a petulant manner.

We, the taxpayers of Boyle County, elected you and pay your salaries. In exchange for that privilege, we expect you to act like grown men. Stop your temper tantrums and get back to the business you have been elected to do.

I don’t understand how we have elected so many men (Trump, Bevin, Sammons, Ellis) who insist on acting like badly behaved children. Grow up and get to work.

G. Elaine Wilson-Reddy, JD, is a professional educator, consultant and advocate. She lives in Danville.