Today is a stressful time for educators. The state puts more and more demands on our students and our staff with mandated tests and extra requirements. It seems like every legislative year, they add three times as many mandates and take away almost none of the pre-existing ones. As I inch closer to the halfway point of my twenty-first year in education, though, I have realized one thing that never seems to change. Our teachers continue to have a passion for kids, and our students never fail to surprise me on how far they rise to meet the ongoing challenges of our world today. I have people tell me over again that kids are different today than they once were. You know what, I agree. They are different, but they aren’t different in the negative manner that the people who say that think they are. They are different because it is a different time than when we grew up. People complain that their kids are always on their phones, and those same people can’t put their phones down when having a conversation with me about it. I see Facebook warriors put down kids and put down schools by saying that the schools have gone downhill since they took religion out of the schools, but those same warriors keep their children home from church on Sundays. I hear folks make comments about students needing a good spanking, but they don’t spank their own children. This may sound negative on my part, but I assure you that my main point is that in these past twenty-one years, one thing has remained certain. Kids are inherently good, and the more and more pressures that the world places on them, they continue to demonstrate to me that they are inherently good.
In our school district, that has never been more true! I think that we have the best students in the country, and I firmly believe that I am the luckiest superintendent in the state! I have a very small twelve foot by twelve-foot office, but I have two windows to the outside that remind me how lucky I am every single day. Out of one of them, our Pre-K students come to the window and pound on it until I come over to talk to them for the day. They knock and knock and knock until I get away from my desk and open the window to talk to them. They don’t want much, but they all have smiles on their faces and they tell me about how much they have learned for the day. They want to show me their shoes or what shirt they have on, or they want to show me how fast they can run. Sometimes they ask me if my “mama” is in the house with me, so I ask my office ladies to come to the window to say how to them. I won’t say in this blog which one of the office ladies they consider to be my mom, but she knows! Those kiddos are excited to be in school. They want to learn. They want to see their teachers every day, and they are innocent and sweet. Their teachers love them, and they love their teachers. That was the same twenty-one years ago, and it is the same today. Every year, a new group of students come to my window, and they tell me the same things and show me the same things and hope for the same things. They want to love and be loved. The first picture that you see above is of this year’s group of kiddos who come to visit me at the window. They aren’t my kids, and yet they are… and I love them.
Someone may point out that those students are sweet and good because they are so little. I would argue that no matter what grade a child is in, they are the same. They want to love and be loved. From our Pre-K to our seniors, our students want to fit in, be accepted, and be praised. Our teachers want to praise them, and build positive relationships with them. Certainly, our kiddos do things from time to time to that are unacceptable, but I would argue that kids are kids. When they act out, they get disciplined. Students acted out when they were our age, and they act out today. Nothing has changed with that. Every single day, I see our elementary, junior high, and high school students and think how proud I am and how respectable they are. I was reminded of this the other day when our football players, coaches, and principal welcomed the chance to go and cheer on our band so that they can return the favor of the band cheering them on every Friday night. It made my heart feel good to watch them respect their classmates and honor them in that way. It doesn’t stop there, though. I see this positive atmosphere out of our students every single day. While the community usually only hears about or witnesses negative actions from our youth, I wish they could see what I see on a daily basis. Como-Pickton CISD truly has great kids, and yes, they mess up from time to time. The other picture that you see above is of our football team at the band contest the other day. They aren’t my kids, and yet they are…. And I love them. I am the luckiest superintendent in the state.