It shouldn’t be about money

To the Editor,

In my relatively long life, there are two things I have learned that are paramount. One, if what I am doing is motivated primarily by money, I will not be content for long. Two, when I begin to focus on what others have more or better than I, I shift the focus to the blessings God has given me, and compared to the rest of the world, I am materially better off than 80 percent of earth’s inhabitants. Shifting to that perspective cannot but engender gratitude.

In the 50s, attending parochial elementary school, half the time we were taught in combined grades totaling 60 students by one grossly underpaid teacher. The school was built in 1887. That made it 70 years old at the time, and continues to function as an elementary school today. And the kicker was, we consistently outperformed our public school counterparts!

In those days, the teachers were highly respected, even though they were moderately, if not meagerly, paid. So teachers sought the profession because they felt it was their calling. Since money was not their primary motivation, the love of being an influence on, and seeing their charges grow and excel, was their ultimate reward.

Today, public school teachers can’t teach. They are hampered by a plethora of hoops they have to jump through by a myriad of rules and regulations overseen by a preponderance of administrators. Effective discipline lacks support of both the parents and our culture in general. So, teaching has become a profession for naive idealists whose frustrations far outweigh their rewards. And even though I believe they are adequately paid, relatively speaking, for West Virginia’s economy, their primary focus has shifted to money evidenced by the prolonged statewide walkout.

Governor Justice had acquiesced to teachers’ demands three times. Each time the demands have increased. Now, the teachers want him to perform a miracle — to resolve the out-of-control healthcare cost escalation that translates into ever increasing premiums that plague all businesses and government entities as well as individuals. Given the inherent economic parameters of our state’s economy, I think he has done all he can at this time. He has made a good-faith effort. It is time for teachers to take him at his word and quit holding the children and their parents hostage and focus back to the love some say they still have for their profession.

Blaise Hogan