In praise of teachers and nurses
BY JACK LEVINE
Please make every effort to keep healthy and practice safety precautions. Prevention is truly the best medicine!
This is especially true now that the scourge of COVID is on the attack. Each day’s news brings us yet another wave of frightening threats to people of all ages.
Vulnerability is especially prevalent among people who have refused to take medical advice to be vaccinated…And of course, children under age 12 cannot yet be protected via inoculation.
Please mask up to help fight against spreading the virus. Keep in mind that while we focus on the well-being of our immediate family and friends, our first responders…law enforcement professionals, EMTs, firefighters, abuse investigators, hospital staff…remain on call and stay vigilant to protect us and our families.
In the wake of the vicious terrorist attack in Kabul of course our military forces abroad and those here in domestic service at home deserve our support.
In Praise of Nurses and Teachers
Our communities’ hospitals and schools have become the front-line stress points in this terrible turmoil over COVID policies and practices.
While we are all from a wide diversity of ethnic and social backgrounds and have widely different personal experiences, one constant for all of us is having benefited from the caring commitment of nurses and teachers.
Whenever a poll of most admired professions is conducted, nurses and teachers rate the highest. They have earned this reputation for doing so much for so many.
I’m one of the most ardent fans of these two professions and I’m willing to guess that you are, too.
We all fondly recall the positive experience of having a nurse care for us or a family member whether in neo-natal intensive care, pediatrics, or hospice services….and at all life stages in between.
Physicians are certainly skilled, but emotionally, we usually rely on the more sensitive touch of a nurse to translate “doctor’s orders” in ways that can be more easily understood and accepted.
“As for teachers…Wow…Where would we be without the guidance and generosity of teachers in our formative years?”
The best nurses are a perfect blend of medical science and human relations. They make decisions with the patient in mind and always try to predict the problem so it can best be prevented. Nurses give the gift of compassion even when the news is not good.
As for teachers…Wow…Where would we be without the guidance and generosity of teachers in our formative years?
When I conduct my community seminars, I like to ask participants who their greatest positive influence was in their childhood…other than immediate family members. Invariably, a teacher springs to mind, usually with a smile of fond recognition.
I remember Miss Quinn (I learned years later that her first name was Ann). As a 4th-grader, I was certainly not the most loquacious kid…I was kind of shy. I liked reading and feared math…I knew why the word number began “numb”!
I could smoothly skate my way through the most complex literary paragraph but slipped and stumbled when the even simplest math problem confronted me. I deeply dreaded the feeling of cold sweat when called to the board to divide or multiply in public!
Miss Quinn taught every 4th-grade subject in our suburban elementary school in my hometown, Long Beach, NY. My memory of her starts with her engaging smile, it shined and expressed that she really wanted to be with us. Like every good teacher, Miss Quinn genuinely loved and respected children.
But she was no pushover. If the wilder kids thought they could run over this seemingly kind person, she proved them wrong with a cold glance, a pursed-lip…and if need be, a direct voice.
In a slightly elevated tone, she’d say, “Jeffrey, none of us appreciates your disruptive behavior and we certainly expect more of you so we can all get on with today’s work.”
That was Miss Quinn’s style. The offending child was cornered by the collective disapproval of the rest of us…and none of us wanted to be designated as the focus of organized negativity….alone, separated, and scorned.
Miss Quinn taught the lesson of a good attitude by instilling in us a fear of the alternative. It was not the threat of physical punishment but the emotional impact of fearing the chill of group scorn that kept us in line.
The teacher’s finest art is clear and convincing communication so a love of learning is shared with all of the children in the class.
While most of us grew up with the family expectation of educational success, it’s not a goal that can ever be achieved without the engaging skills of good teachers.
From early learning through higher education, dedicated teachers deserve to be honored and admired.
We all know that great debates rage over health care and education policies. What system reforms are needed to get the most benefit for the least cost is the usual focus of attention.
In my experience as a public policy advocate, I have come to learn that the best path leads us to the most obvious conclusion.
Investment in quality professionals is the key to success in all of the human services. We have to determine who knows what to do, when, and how to do it best.
We will feel better and do better as the result of that wise investment in a skilled workforce…of great benefit to all…across the generations.
Recognizing and acting upon that reality would bring us far forward in our health status, educational achievement, economic stability, and quality of life.
Please feel free to share my message with a nurse or teacher in your family or circle of friends…That would be a high compliment.
If you wish to share a story of a nurse or teacher who had a meaningful impact on your life, please send it my way. I am interested in hearing your thoughts about these two powerful professions.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – JACK LEVINE
Jack Levine, Founder
P.O. Box 10875 Tallahassee, FL 32302
The Advocate’s Credo:
Thou art my child, my parent, and my elder,
I love thee best,
But could not love thee half as much,
Loved I not all the rest.