Vinson: A teacher's top concerns

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I find it journalistically healthy to step out of the box every once-in-a-while when it comes to picking subject matter about which to write. If one remains in one’s comfort zone for too long, it’s all-too-easy to become literarily “stagnant.”

While I originally had a red-hot, high-profile “Lower 40” sex scandal in mind for this week’s column, I opted to go in the opposite direction, and, instead, asked a long-term high school teacher, a female in her early 60s, what were “top 10 concerns.”

Consider this my very first, official “Upper 60” column. The teacher’s top 10 concerns were:

1.      Metal fillings in teeth: There is an ongoing controversy over the Mercury (Hg on the Periodic Table) in metal fillings being linked to “auto immune disorders, especially Parkinson’s Disease. Since she has some metal fillings, she found this reported Mercury “scare” quite scary.

2.      Global Warming: Though the month of July 2014 has been unseasonably “cool,” she is not convinced it is directly tied to Global Warming—or that Global Warming even exists. “I’m not saying Global Warming does not exist,” the teacher noted, “but I don’t think there is enough evidence to establish that Global Warming for sure exists. Maybe, it’s just Mother Nature, and that’s all there is to it.”

3.      Troubled by the bias in the liberal media: With concern, the teacher said, “To any thinking person, it’s self-evident that the majority of today’s media are ultra-liberal and blatantly biased in their reporting. You would think these news anchors and writers would be held to a higher standard of conduct and accountability, but it appears their bosses are of the same mindset, thus condone this liberal media bias.”

4.      Political correctness: “With everyone so scared of saying the wrong thing to the wrong person, the truth is often pushed to the side and forgotten in favor of political correctness. The scariest thing about political correctness, for me, is that a person doesn’t necessarily have or do or say something actually bad or out of the way. However, if someone in the right position wants to purposely misinterpret it—misrepresent it—an innocent person can end up in a lot of trouble. I don’t like that.”

5.      Young people entering college: “Most high schools encourage students to enter college, and that’s good. However, as some students have said to me, they have to borrow money to attend college, and what guarantee do they have that they will get a good job when graduate from college? How will they pay back the loans? Good questions.”

6.      High school students not academically prepared for college: “Far too many students entering college, these days, need remedial classes in basic skills like reading and writing. They aren’t ready for freshman-level college courses. The thing that bothers me so much, with this, is that that these kids who aren’t academically prepared are shocked when they can’t do college-level work.”

7.      Choose a “career path” before entering college: “While on the subject of young people entering college, my advice is to do your best to decide a ‘career path’ before choosing a college to attend. If you’re unsure about a career path when it comes time to enter college, you might want to take off a year, work, save some money, and make up your mind.”

8.      Teenage pregnancy: “Young girls should be taught, from a very early age, that raising children is a demanding job even when the parents are adults, have good jobs, and a stable home environment. Having children irresponsibly—at a young age, with no education, nor job skill—affects not only the children, but everyone connected to both of the parents.”

9.      Drug use among young people: “Simple: Don’t mess with drugs, or anyone who messes with drugs.”

10.  Military veterans: “We need to do a better job taking care of our veterans, the ones who sacrificed so you and I can be free.”

There’s something to be said for the teacher’s simple wisdom, don’t you agree?

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Mike Vinson
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