Zeal Without Knowledge | Mark’s Remarks


As a representative of the educational community, I applaud people for speaking out and taking an interest in their children. Teachers and school officials alike will tell you that one of the stumbling blocks in our career is lack of support from home.

I’ve written before about folks who like to bash schools.  It seems to be a favorite pasttime. I have people I’m close to who rarely say positive things about our schools. Mainly, I think the reason they are this way is because the school doesn’t do things exactly the way they want them to.  Therefore, the schools aren’t good schools. 

I respectfully disagree and try to keep my mouth shut (and then bring my passive aggressive self to the keyboard and write about it later).

A long while ago, a child was involved with a school project and wanted the project to be about Jesus. The rules for the project were that the child was supposed to choose a famous person from a list of people we had studied at school.  However, because the child went home and told the parent he was unable to use Jesus as the subject for the project, the parent went ballistic.

Even an explanation from the teacher didn’t suffice, and the matter was blown out of proportion. The incident was talked about at a large public gathering. I was there, and I wanted to stand up and shout “That isn’t true!”

To this day, I have said nothing.

But that’s the way things go, isn’t it? Often, people are given some type of public forum, either big or small, and choose to spout things and talk incessantly. It’s sad to say these people are often needy and get some sort of good feeling by standing up and talking on and on. For a short time, he or she gets some attention. 

Like I said, it’s sad.

Almost always, the people who stand up and spout off don’t know the full story. Indeed, if you have watched the news, you see people standing there and being quoted by the news media. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a bunch of bull on the news, from people who don’t know what the heck they are talking about. Still, news people will go right up to people with big mouths, quote them, interview them, and the recording goes on record as the gospel.

I wonder if any of you know that there have been few, if any, physical altercations at a local high school in the past few years? Kiddos at that same high school do not have locks on their lockers and there have been few, if any thefts reported.  

Students plug in their phones at a shared charging station and leave them for hours at a time, only to come back later to retrieve their phone. I could go on and on about the great things happening, and the bad things NOT happening at our local schools, but we rarely hear things like that on the news, do we?

My biggest source for the gospel truth is my own children and former students. There have been a number of times that rumors are going around our town about our schools, started by over-dramatic people and big-mouthed people who just want a little attention.

When I asked my kids or former students about it, I’d get the full story.  The phrase “that didn’t really happen” is used often in these conversations.

Am I minimizing serious things going on in our schools? Heavens no. I believe these things need to be aggressively addressed and taken care of, especially when it involves our children. Plus, I can certainly understand why anyone would get up in the air about the safety of our kids. I totally get it.

I think, however, that we need to get the full story before we go on social media or start talking in a public forum. Good manners and educated responses are also some things that should be included when we choose to speak. And for heaven’s sake, let’s talk about some of the good things going on in our schools.   

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Mark is a 25-year veteran teacher teaching in Columbia. Originally from Fairfield, Mark is married with four children. He enjoys reading, writing, and spending time with his family, and has been involved in various aspects of professional and community theater for many years and enjoys appearing in local productions. Mark has also written a "slice of life" style column for the Republic-Times since 2007.