Over the past several weeks, I've heard a lot of teacher bashing. I've heard teachers compared to grocery store clerks, liquor store clerks, and others. In the Spring of 2020 when schools shut down, parents and community members could not thank teachers enough for jumping in, taking charge, and fulfilling their responsibilities within their best abilities (and resources) to assist in the learning of their students.
Fast-forward a year, and teachers are portrayed as whining, sniveling, pseudo-professionals who not only do not "want" to go to work, but who also do not seem to care about the progress of their students.
I have always told my students that the relationships we establish in the classroom will be long-held, that the connection that is made there will be a life-long one that will continue to shape and mold their futures long after we have said our end-of-the-year goodbyes. I never make an effort to go back and see my banker to let him/her know what an impact that interest percentage made in my life. Nor do I go to see the mechanic to tell him/her that the new muffler installed has enriched me. Likewise, I never return to a grocery store or liquor store to rave about my purchase or the transaction that took place. I DO, however, remember all of my teachers and the impact, good or bad, they made on my life. I do not in any way want to discredit any of these professions; respectfully, however, they are not anything like teaching.
The people who are spouting these reflections, I am quite certain, have never had the joy of seeing 30 faces before them, eager for what you might provide in their lives. They have also never had to deal with such collective criticism when striving to just uphold their place in the professional realm while still going the extra mile to provide resources and ENGAGING activities in the classroom to make it a second home for "their kids."
I am aware of the hypocrisy when I again and again see individuals carefully gathered together with 2 tables between them and spread across their meeting space, making decisions for teachers who work in often overcrowded classrooms. Teachers do not have that option and neither do their students.
I believe that anyone who makes a decision about teachers in classrooms and how classrooms should be managed, (during a Pandemic or otherwise), should commit to spending one hour a day (minuscule in comparison to a teacher's time) in a crowded classroom, INTERACTING with students and keeping the students engaged. Then, and only then, will teachers respect the decisions being made and believe that they are truly being kept in the highest considerations of safety and practice.
I currently teach graduate courses in education at a local university, and I am constantly seeking resources to enrich not only the preparation of future teachers but also the souls and mindsets of our future educators. I came across this video and nearly cried while watching it, thinking of the thousands of teachers on computers at home or in buildings, trying desperately to keep the flow of learning going, all the while being told that they are not doing enough. I, and many others I'm sure, can relate to the teachers in front of their screens, trying to be funny, active, and purposeful for the students watching through the screens. Let's give teachers a break and begin to appreciate the amazing and caring individuals they truly are!