by Jon Eckert, Ed.D.
According to a Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll, 71% of Americans “have trust and confidence in the men and women who are teaching children in the public schools.” I would assume that number is even higher for parents whose children are enrolled in private schools, and I would certainly assume that for homeschoolers.
Grateful for Trust
I am thankful as a teacher, that there remains a public trust in this country for those who work with our children. After all, Thomas Jefferson viewed education as essential to our democracy – we need to be able to trust those responsible for developing that citizenry.
As a professor, I am grateful for the trust the public places in the teachers whom I have prepared.
However, I am most grateful as a parent that my three children have teachers that I trust.
When Trust is Lacking
When trust is eroded, we begin to see the way systems, organizations, and nations decay. Many of the challenges we face in education are due in large part to a lack of trust. Whether or not they are warranted, many of the policies in place in schools are there due to a lack of trust. When principals do not trust teachers to do what is best for students, they micromanage. When parents do not trust their children’s teachers, they hover. When students do not trust their teachers, they do not learn. Everything is predicated on trust; without it, very little positive will come from schools.
When Trust is Present
When trust in a school is present, powerful learning can happen. Great teachers, who have earned our trust, flourish when they are in a safe environment in which they can take risks and push their students to do the same. When teachers create these trusting environments, our children flourish.
Ultimately, we and our children must place our trust in the Lord as Proverbs 3: 5-6 suggests, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” Our trust in the Lord will hopefully allow us to wisely entrust our children with their teachers each day.
Bushaw, W.J. & Lopez, S.J. (2012). The 44th annual Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the public’s attitudes toward the public schools. Phi Delta Kappan, 94 (1), 8-25.