DEAR ABBY: I join the many who have valued your sage wisdom through the years. This letter is in response to "Brian Chiedo of Dallas," who wrote that the English teacher should not teach sex education but stick to what she is employed to teach.
Abby, my wife is a ninth- and 10th-grade science teacher at our local high school, Travelers Rest High. Three years ago, our school developed a new class called Community Service. Its purpose is to actively involve students, primarily juniors and seniors, in various civic activities.
Each day, these kids leave their school for an hour and a half to learn lessons about life by volunteering in nursing homes, feeding the homeless at the local soup kitchen, helping to distribute food to the needy at the local food pantry, mentoring preschool children at a day care center or working at city hall. The education these students receive is invaluable, and at the same time, they are giving back to their community.
None of these benefits would have been possible if my wife -- and other teachers -- had "stuck to the subjects they were hired to teach." How proud I am of my wife, the science teacher who volunteered to develop the curriculum and "teach" this pilot class.
Our community is very fortunate to have teachers who are willing to look for subjects that need to be taught and who never stop looking for ways to communicate with and reach our young people -- even when the subjects fall outside the realm of traditional instruction. -- RICK BLACKWELL, MARIETTA, S.C.
DEAR MR. BLACKWELL: Thank you for your thought-provoking letter. You should indeed be proud of your wife and her colleagues who have improvised an original and creative way to stimulate your community's most precious resources -- its youth and its educators. Bravo!