By Dale Singer, Beacon staff
Re-posted with permission.
How can American schools help guarantee that they have the best teachers possible?
A panel that addressed the question after a showing of a movie on the plight of teachers had a somewhat paradoxical answer: Make it tougher to become a teacher and easier to stay.
The panelists were reacting to the case studies featured in the film “American Teacher“, shown Wednesday at the Missouri History Museum, sponsored by the Gateway Center for Giving. But they also were answering based on their own experiences in education.
Minnie Phillips, who has retired after a long career teaching English in Webster Groves and at John Burroughs — and who said she is still in denial that she’s not in the classroom — told of how she grew up in southeast Missouri and knew from the age of 4 she wanted to teach.
As the first African American in her town to graduate from college, she faced a raft of obstacles on her way to a degree, but she said her passion to learn and help others to learn kept her going.
“I have been privileged to teach,” Phillips said, “and I am an advocate of teaching. Teaching for me is that vital part of who we are. Teachers are the guardians of the future.”