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 Where did the teachers go? Somewhere, over the Rainbow?

Kids having story books read to them by bearded men with lipstick seems wrong to me. Where did all the  real teachers go? Those that taught us to think for ourselves, not to think as they think?

To be a teacher is a most honourable profession. Or, at least, it should be. Sadly, today, too many are incapable of simple arithmetic without the use of a calculator. More importantly, there are those who seek to stifle critical thinking and promote their own views to the children whose young minds are in their care.

Teachers too often bring socialist politics into the classroom. Some bring youngsters to despair with their view that there is no future because the world will be destroyed in 12 years. Too many tell them that they are not boys or girls, but are whatever they choose to be on any given day. How have we let this happen?

I was fortunate enough to embrace my education in a school run by a man who believed in critical thinking, debate and the wonderful and exciting concept of who, what, when, where, why and how.

It must have been tough for my teacher: 60 kids in a class that had several grades. But he taught us and inspired us and we eagerly walked to school in the middle of winter in our gumboots, slid into our classroom slippers and relished the day of discovery that lay before us.

Each child was allotted a task for the week, whether it be sweeping the classroom floor, chopping the firewood for the old fireplace in our classroom or gathering the school milk to be handed out at playtime. We had a memorial garden at our school and each and every student had to attend every week and weed the areas around the plaques; tend the trees and ensure that the area was pristine and tidy.

Our school motto reflected everything that he taught us . "  Our Best Always " and our Headmaster, my teacher, expected no less from each and every one of us.

Every week, we held a debate. One week, the topic of the debate was announced. I cannot remember what the topic was but it was one about which I held strong views. To my horror, my teacher put me on the team that had to argue against everything that I believed in.  Because I was such a smart little madam, I was determined to win, so I researched and finally won the debate on the strength of my argument for everything that went against my own beliefs.

He taught me that, if you are to have an opinion, research the facts and know both sides to the argument.

Throughout my life, I have known three men who influenced my growth as a human being, a woman and as the person I feel proud to be today. My father, my old employer and my wonderful teacher.

Each of these men were teachers ? not necessarily by profession, but by their actions, their deeds and by the example that they gave.

When I met up with my teacher again, after many decades, he was 89. Despite his grey hair, his slightly stooped frame and the lines on his face, I saw the same man; the same spirit, the same integrity and the same intelligent and balanced person who taught a young lass in rural New Zealand to think for herself and see both sides of an argument before declaring her opinion.

We need teachers like him. More than ever.

Children have the RIGHT to develop their own point of view. It is through good parents, good teachers and the freedom to ask questions that our next generation will be in a position to carry the responsibility of the future on worthy shoulders and not the knees of a brainwashed and ignorant set of slaves who have had preachers, not teachers.

Surely, we owe them the opportunity to be their best, always?


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