They make a difference

Published 6:44 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2019

In the heyday of comic strips in the Sunday paper, Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” was one of the most beloved. In one of his more famous strips, Charlie Brown and Peppermint Patty recline under a tree, as Peppermint Patty ponders aloud, “I wonder what teachers make.”

While she is referring to their financial compensation, Charlie Brown’s mind goes in another direction, as he responds, “A difference, Peppermint Patty, they make a difference!”

In this simple comic strip, Schulz conveys a powerful truth. The value of an educator cannot be measured in the money they are paid (although few can argue they don’t deserve more), but in the impact they make in the lives of their students every day. Compared to dollars and cents, however, this value is fairly abstract and hard to quantify.

What is it worth to see a child read his first book? Can you put a price on learning to add, subtract, multiply and divide? How much does it pay to see a teenager’s spark of excitement when she’s exposed to something new that might become a career?

Beyond academics, what would you pay to have an ally in your kids’ corner, cheering on their successes and helping them recover from their mistakes? Is there a fitting amount to charge for a child’s development? What kind of value does a teacher have in the eyes of a child, as a mentor, a caretaker and a friend?

The answers to all of these questions is simple — these milestones, moments and acts of love are priceless. You can’t put a price tag on these small miracles, and teachers perform them every day. For that, they deserve our respect, support and thanks. In what they do for a living every day, they make a positive impact on society, one child at a time.

Please support your teachers. While you might not realize it in these first few days of school, the lessons these special people teach your children in the coming year may be some of the most powerful experiences of your child’s life. Partner with them, be patient with them and work together for the betterment of our children.

To our teachers, administrators and school staff, we wish you the best this school year. May you help your students grow as you nurture them in the classroom. When times get tough and frustrations rise, always remember that you are making a difference, in more ways than you could possibly know.