“How much do your kindergarten teacher and classmates affect the rest of your life?” (“The Case for $320,000 Kindergarten Teachers,” The New York Times, 7/28/2010)
That’s the question Harvard Economist Raj Chetty sought to answer in his research that scrutinized the “life paths” of about 12,000 adults, who were subjects of a famous education experiment in Tennessee when they were just kids 30 years ago. Chetty presented his “fairly explosive” findings in an academic conference in Cambridge, Mass. (USA). According to the Chetty research, “Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more.” (Ibid) In short, due to early education, these people became successful later in life. According to the New York Times, “Good early education can impart skills that last a lifetime — patience, discipline, manners, perseverance.”
This is not just a classic case of “What I Need To Know in Life I Learned in Kindergarten” but this is another feather in the cap of Proverbs 22:6. “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (ESV) Thus, Chetty and his research team “estimate that a standout kindergarten teacher is worth about $320,000 a year. That’s the present value of the additional money that a full class of students can expect to earn over their careers. This estimate doesn’t take into account social gains, like better health and less crime.” That’s how valuable and strategic teachers are. I think that applies not only to kindergarten teachers but also teachers in all levels. I believe that only eternity will fully reveal their impact on our lives. Yes, the Bible warns that “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.” (James 3:1) But teachers will also be rewarded with a greater reward. This is also why we should encourage our children to attend our Sunday school for children. If you feel God is calling you to teach as one of our teachers, step out in faith, sign up and become a channel of blessing that will overflow not just here in this life but even beyond in the life after.
Brethren, let us offer a toast to our teachers.