It’s football season. School has started back. Allow me to have a flashback…
Only in America is it great to be a loser. The losers of the Super Bowl made in a night what I made in a year. Yes, you read that right. The losers. Think about it. My professors always use to say that journalists need to declare their interests. So before I get going, let me tell you a couple of things. I used to be a teacher. I got to work at 7 a.m. and I left at 4:30. I made 42,000 a year and I got summers off. Consider my bias declared. Now let’s move on shall we?
I watched the Super Bowl last year along with over a hundred million other people. I like football. I do not love it, but I like it. I like the passion of the players and fans. I like how the game brings people together. I like the competition. And as a twenty-four year old young lady, I like looking at some of those players. What I do not like, however, is the salary of football players compared to that of teachers. What does the stark difference in salaries say about what our country values? We should be outraged and when I say we I don’t mean just teachers. We can’t occupy the classroom, but we sure know how to occupy a stadium. We don’t want to hear from our teachers about the flaws in our education system, but we turn up the volume to hear Eli Manning. Think about it.
I had a student named Malik. He eats, breathes, and sleeps football. It’s all he writes about, talks about, and thinks about. He asked me every Friday if Cam Newton was our mystery reader. Every Friday I told him no. Almost everything I taught reverted back to football. Whenever we learned about a new state he made a correlation to a football team. When I talked about Alabama in social studies he screamed, “Roll Tide!” If I said the weather was cold in Wisconsin he’d say, “Man, Green Bay almost won.” You get the point. Malik is very bright and when he tells me he will play football in college I believe him. He is meticulous about his schoolwork and at age six he can rival third graders in stature. When Malik came to school after the super bowl game he asked me if I had watched. When I said yes I just knew he would ramble on about his favorite play. He surprised me when he said, “Oh, so that means you heard ‘America the Beautiful’ that song you taught us about in social studies?” It may seem minor, but I was so happy that he noticed. Academics first, think about it.
Now I am not suggesting that football is not important. It seems like every possible human emotion is extracted from a single game. Remember, I like football. I am also not mad at Eli Manning and his teammates for working their butts off to win the biggest game of last year’s football season. I know their performance on the field was a reflection of their hard work, patience, and practice. I just wish teachers were adequately compensated for their patience, practice, and performance too. I wish teachers would be paid for the touchdowns they make in the classroom. Last year Brady said, “We just came up a little bit short. I think we had a couple of missed opportunities out there…” Unfortunately, he was talking about football and not our education system.