Is the school year long enough? The very question implies that it is not, and I strongly resent that implication.

As a teacher in Prince George's County, I'm acutely aware of the vast body of human knowledge. I'm also aware of how much my students don't know. It would be easy to get caught up in trying to teach more and more and more . . .

But that way lies only my frustration and my students'.

It's not the number of days that school is in session, but the quality of the days that are used in teaching. The more control the teacher has over the classroom, the less likely bureaucratic mazes will impede the educational process.

As a teacher, the most important thing I foster is a love affair with learning. Nothstudent who pursues something just for the sake of finding out more. Nothing shrivels a teacher's soul more than a student who won't "perform" unless "credit" is given.

It's curiosity -- and knowing how to keep on learning -- that will take students on in life. Learning doesn't stop with the end of formal education. Nor is learning bound by walls of academia. So it's foolish to think that time not spent in school per se is "wasted." On the contrary, it is a chance to apply what is learned to life experiences, and maybe bring the lessons of those experiences to class discussions. Learning in school enhances learning outside of school, and vice versa.