Lois Lowry's Blog
I have been trying to find time, here and there interspersed among other commitments, to write the answers to questions in an interview for Scholastic's TEACHER. And I'm just coming up on the several questions that deal with schools and teachers. Here's an example:
What concerns you about education today? What would you like to see change? What has changed for the better.
If you could give a gift to teachers, what would it be?
I haven't answered those yet for Scholastic, but they are waiting; and in the meantime, today I got an email from a teacher in Oklahoma. Here is part of what she wrote me:
One of my students had a very tough week because of his homelife. It has been a pretty heartbreaking week, and I came home tonight feeling pretty worn out emotionally and physically. I got on the computer and went to your site because my 23 fourth graders had so many questions about you. I ended up reading your speeches. Thank you for sharing them with everyone! “Bright Streets and Dark Paths” especially touched my heart. It was the encouragement I needed tonight. Thank you. I am going to quote your wise words in the last part of your speech, “Down those treacherous bright streets and the dark paths today’s children travel, they need our companionship, our respect, our outstretched hands.” I hope you don’t mind if I write them in red ink across my lesson plans for next week to remind me to keep doing all I can for them.
Well, I'm gratified that she found something of value in one of my speeches. But much more: I am moved to be reminded of what teachers do, how they care, how they struggle, often—not just to drum the spelling words and math rules into those small heads, but to make a difference in their lives, to understand how tough some young lives are, to shape and mold and comfort and give hope along with knowledge.
It's what I do, too, of course, in writing. But I can get up from this desk and go to a movie, or chat on the phone, or fly to California to visit a friend...as I will do soon...and while I am doing those things, teachers everywhere are remaining in their classrooms, day after day after day, and they struggle often: against the administration sometimes, against parents, sometimes, against the demands of testing—and the lure of higher-paying jobs.
Well, my soapbox is wobbly and uncomfortable to I will step down from it now.