Letter: The future of Mathews is up to us … now
As a 2007 alum of Mathews High School, I recognize how critical Mathews schools are to our community and nation, and how critical to their performance funding is. It is by providing for the education of the next generation that today’s Mathews residents will continue the legacy of the community; thus, it is up to the Mathews community to fight for the educational funding and support that the schools need.
Even as a student, I have always been aware that a Mathews County education is special. Parents from surrounding counties have coveted slots in our school system; Mathews students have excelled on regional and statewide levels making the entire community proud; our students have left Mathews with superior preparation for college.
I am impressed by the number of alumni who return to Mathews, eager to contribute to the community that inspired them. Look at our doctors, our pastors, our business owners—our educators. The trend of being educated in Mathews, going on to gain further experience, and coming home cannot be simply a coincidence. It is sincere love for the future of Mathews County that draws so many of our teachers back to their roots. If we do not provide teachers with the necessary financial support, then today’s students—the future of Mathews—will lack marketable skills and have nothing to return home for.
Mathews teachers have never failed to provide every student with the skills they need for success. I can promise that there are no greedy or selfish teachers in the Mathews County School System, and it crushes me to think that any Mathews citizen could believe (or imply) such a thing. As a student, no teacher ever turned down my request for help on anything. On the contrary, our teachers stayed late after school helping students and even sponsored extra events far beyond their paid teaching hours—before having a chance to begin their own lesson plans, let alone do anything for themselves.
Inspired by the caring and selfless teachers of Mathews, I myself have decided to enter the field of education (though not in Mathews, due to getting married and following my fiancé’s graduate education elsewhere). I student-taught in a large school system, and I can promise that the extra hours Mathews teachers put in are not the norm. Mathews teachers do not leave at the teacher bell or stop work at the end of the day; there is a reason that Mathews schools have a history of accreditation.
Mathews teachers know that they will not be paid spectacularly—as one teacher told me, "We’re here because we love teaching in Mathews." There was never a statement more true. Yet, Mathews teachers don’t stop at simply educating the county’s children; they are also parents, churchgoers, community volunteers—everything that makes Mathews what it is. They need to be able to count on their jobs to provide for their families. They have never let down their students: the future of the community.
It is time for each and every one of us to return to our terrific, selfless, and hardworking teachers the support that they have never held back from us. I have faith that if we as a community stand strong behind our schools and the fabulous teachers that have made them what they are—not just in words, but in the salary and benefits that they were promised in their contracts—we will not lose Mathews as we know it.