While reading the Albany Herald today, I recognize the picture of Teacher of the Year candidate Jordan Cambron of Alice Coachman Elementary in Albany as a young man with in-laws in my neighborhood in Sylvester, Georgia. It might be a stretch but we are claiming him just like the assorted PHDs, grad degrees, military honors and major college graduates from my street.
To play Six Degrees of Separation, Cambron teaches at Alice Coachman; Coachman was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal; Wiley Brown of the 1980 NCAA National Champion Louisville Cardinals (who grew up across the street from me and honed his basketball skills on my backyard dirt whole court) would have been an Olympian if President Carter did not boycott the Moscow Games.
What shocked me about the article on Cambron is that he is the only male teacher at this urban school. Readers of this blog know that I think diversity and exposure are good things. So, I was trouble to hear of young boys and girls, many from single-parent households, who only encounter one male teacher in the whole school. Chuck D of Public Enemy say, “when a man is in the house; the bull _______ stop.” That statement is not always the case because I know some really successful people who grew up with no father at home and I know some families where the father ruin the household vibe. It is always better for kids to see positive men and women at home, at church, at school and in the community.
Cambron came into teaching after being a policeman; he chose to address problems with young people in a positive and encouraging way early before negative behavior developed.
In the down economy, people need to desperately cling to their sources of income that puts bread on the table. However, many so-called teachers are going through the motions to “stay paid” and make retirement. If you have a community filled with teachers who are the opposite of Cambron and the other teacher of the year candidates, you will have in time a community of unemployable young adults who wonder why the public school system failed to reach them.
I like nice things which cost money (overseas trips, dinners with an engaging lady, E-Class Benzes) but I seldom considered teaching school when I was/am “between opportunities” because factories and plants are the important but teaching and training the next generation is essential and should not be taken nonchalantly. When an industry considers a community, the dog and pony show from the Chamber of Commerce helps but industrial managers want to see the school records—do you have a developed labor force that can do these jobs?
Knuckleheads in the community will always run up to public officials and staffers to complain, “Why you all don’t bring no good high payin’ jobs down here? I can’t fed no five kids with no minimum wage.” Of course, the officials want to ask what this citizen has done in preparation for work and did the complainer consider the budgetary information covered in high school econ class when planning a large family. I should stop now before I say something…….
Hats off to Cambron, my brother Andrew and the other men strong enough to deal with those “challenging” lower grade children. I might get broke but I can’t get broke enough to face that Herculean task—what money I did make would likely go to legal defense for going off on those little monsters. Okay, I am kidding because most kids want to learn but that worst 10% will frail your nerves.