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[Susan notes: Now this is an unusual letter, with an unusual invitation to his peers in the corporate world.]

Published in Ipswich Chronicle

To the editor

As a strategic marketing consultant to large and small companies over the years, I have often been asked to define the most important element within a successful organization. At seminars and conferences, I have consistently claimed that the attitude of the employees toward the customer is the key to long term success in any business.

For the past few months, I’ve had a lighter-than-normal client load and my wife convinced me to take some of that time to “give back” some of the care teachers have shown our four children over the years, by serving as a substitute teacher. At first, the thought of “babysitting” a bunch of kids – watching the clock, hoping they didn’t kill each other or me before the end of the day – didn’t sound like fun, but I signed up anyway.

My own experience in elementary and middle school from around the time sand was invented turned out to be entirely different from the schools young parents are blessed to have in this community today. I can’t express too strongly my appreciation for the love, respect and patience expressed by the tireless and woefully underpaid teachers. The students who lack skills in spelling and math (together with any other subjects) are given patient assistance from consecrated and well-trained staff. There is a palpable environment of expectancy throughout the schools. Teachers project a charitable anticipation of goodness and success from every child; and, as one would expect, the children of the community respond. These teachers are models for corporate employees – spirited, innovative and entirely focused on the “customer,” the children within our community.

In our local schools, there is a clear understanding of “No Child Left Behind;” but their engagement with the concept is so much more beneficial than standardized testing and bureaucratic programs. It is the genuine love and devotion by each of these consummate professionals toward their craft – the aggregate of every detail, every lesson plan, every classroom challenge that will contribute in a positive manner the determination if the next generation is ready to optimistically impact our global society.

I’m not sure how long I will be afforded the honor of serving as a substitute in our local schools before the client load whisks me back to the world of commerce and marketing. In the meantime, however, it will be a privilege participating in this selfless work. The corporate community could learn valuable lessons from our local educators. Those of you who still have children in the elementary and middle schools, please take every opportunity to thank your children’s teachers. They do so much more than you will ever know.

Casey Wright, parent

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