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Teachers have a moral and legal obligation to be there for students

This column ran in Northwest Arkansas newspapers on April 18, 2018
You will rarely see me criticize teachers.
I worked as an educator for 27 years and needless to say, I am extremely sympathetic.
It’s not an easy job.
But I must confess, when the news broke on April 3 about teachers walking out of their schools in at least three states, I was furious.
I immediately concluded that they had no right to leave their classrooms.
No legal right. No moral right.
Each one had a contract with the school district for the school year. They agreed to be there and do their job.
Furthermore, I cannot respect a decision that neglects the education of children.
The students needed to be in school and they needed the guidance of their teachers.
And they needed to be learning.
Every day.
But someone might say, “You don’t understand what the teachers are dealing with—“
Wrong.
I understand better than most what the teachers are dealing with. I’ve been through it myself. And I’ve seen others try their best to teach thr…
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Insights from school leaders

The following column ran in Northwest Arkansas newspapers on April 25, 2018
My time as an educator was extremely rewarding, enriching, and eye-opening.
At every stop along the way, I had the privilege of working under a supervisor or supervisors who taught me a lot about life in general and about education in particular.
The following paragraphs have some good nuggets of wisdom that I learned from each. It is good stuff to consider, whether you are an educator or whether you just want to be a big help wherever you work.
During my first position as an administrator, my immediate supervisor was a lady just a couple of years older than me, and she made a great impact upon my life and on my career because of her encouragement.
“I rely on you more than you know,” she told me more than once. And she would often add, “I don’t know what we would do without you.”
It wasn’t hard at all for me to be loyal to a boss like that.
Another supervisor once said, “Some students learn in spite of their teacher;…

Writing about all kinds of things

A column that ran in Northwest Arkansas newspapers on October 18, 2017
by David Wilson
Dear Readers,

Thank you so much for reading in this space each week. I enjoy writing and I want to write well, but it means so much more if I know someone is getting something out of it on the other end.
Some of you occasionally e-mail me, and I appreciate the feedback. If you ever have an idea that should be explored or commented on, please let me know and I will consider it. 
In addition, if there is an issue or an event that is specific to Northwest Arkansas that you think someone should be writing about, I would welcome your suggestions on that as well.
My writing experience began when I was in grade school, when my teacher assigned it.
Call me a nerd if you want, but I usually enjoyed English class and I welcomed the opportunity to produce a paragraph or an essay when it was assigned.
I understand that many people did not relish the idea of writing anything in school and they still don’t want to write …

Remembering Dietrich Bonhoeffer

FAITH
Column about Bonhoeffer that appeared in NW Arkansas newspapers on April 11, 2018

About 75 years ago—on April 5, 1943—Dietrich Bonhoeffer was arrested and imprisoned in Germany.
He was—in essence—jailed for following what he felt were his Christian convictions.
It was a troubling time in Germany.
Many of us have genuine, heartfelt religious beliefs but few of us, if any, have had to hold to those beliefs knowing that death as a very real possibility.
But Dr. Bonhoeffer did.
He was a German pastor and a theologian who believed strongly in a practical application of Christianity in life and he practiced what he preached, even during dangerous circumstances.
Bonhoeffer had grown up in Germany and was a young pastor and teacher when Adolf Hitler and the National Socialist (Nazi) Party took control.
He could have gone along quietly with everything, just as many German church members did at the time.
But instead, Bonhoeffer made it clear that what was happening in his country in the 1930s was …

Wisdom from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

FAITH

Originally printed in the April 4, 2018 issue of the Washington County Enterprise Courier:


On April 4, 1968 in Memphis, an assassin’s bullet brought an abrupt end to the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
That was 50 years ago, and since that time, we have continued to grapple with how our society will exhibit Christian virtues in our dealings with one another.

If we studied the speeches and the sermons delivered by Dr. King, and if we sought to apply what he taught in the spirit in which those messages were delivered, it would go a long way towards bringing about peaceful living during today’s tumultuous times.
Often after a prominent person is gone, people will seek to use him or her for their own purposes.
In the example of King, over the years there have always been people who have said what he would approve of or what he would not.
And in the process, they sometimes put words in the mouth of a person who can no longer communicate with us for himself.
It is far better to study what a …

Baseball observations: Inspired at an SEC double-header

BASEBALL Column in Northwest Arkansas newspapers - March 28, 2018 by David Wilson Arkansas junior catcher Zack Plunkett was not in the starting lineup for the Arkansas Razorbacks in the first game of a double-header at home against Kentucky on March 17. But he did make some noise as a pinch-hitter. Plunkett is a product of Texas and played for two years at TCU before transferring to Arkansas in 2017. He has seen a baseball crowd with plenty of TCU purple in it, but there was none of that at Baum Stadium in Fayetteville on March 17. The crowd was mostly Razorback red, dotted in a few places with folks wearing Kentucky Wildcat blue. And because it was St. Patrick's Day, there were several fans wearing green. The Hogs dominated the first game, belting their way to a five-homer, 14-2 win. One of those home runs came at the hands of Plunkett. He led off in the bottom of the eighth inning with Arkansas leading 13-1 and when he connected with the ball he sent it soaring over the left fi…

Hard classes can pay off

EDUCATION
Several years ago when I was growing up in Corning, in Northeast Arkansas, my parents encouraged me to take the most challenging high school classes, particularly in math.
Like any teenager I preferred the easiest courses, but as a junior and senior I took chemistry, advanced math, and advanced composition.
I sometimes struggled with the trigonometry and calculous, falling a few lessons behind those at the top of the class. I was mastering the content, but only after classmates had moved on to something else.
In the long run, however, I learned much more than if I had taken less-demanding math classes. And it paid off.
I tested out of taking some math and English in college, and a stronger ACT score brought in some scholarship money. In addition, in the fall of 1980 when my physical science professor at Ouachita Baptist University began going over chemical computations, I understood the math with no trouble at all.
In short, going through the difficult classes in high school was w…