It was just before 7:00 A.M. Monday morning. BF and I were perched on our stools at the kitchen counter. He, enjoying his mega bowl of cereal and green tea, I, half-way through my Dave’s Killer Bread English muffin and a second cup of Nespresso.
Per usual, my laptop was streaming the news. “In our next hour, we’ll have Dr. so and so, Superintendent of Schools, Somewhere USA, who is here to talk about the nationwide shortage of teachers and what we can do about it.”
The Hissy Fit
This just set me off. “Oh, teachers don’t want to teach right now?” I yelled, “No shit, Sherlock!”
I continued, “They have people telling them what they can and can’t teach. People less trained and less well-read telling them what books they’re allowed to read with their students. God forbid they have to show up at a School Board meeting and face screaming matches.” I was really wound up at this point. “And there’s the constant danger of someone storming in to shoot up the place. And they’re expected to do all this for pennies on the hour. Yeah, Dr. Superintendent, tell us what we can do about it,” I shouted.
I didn’t hear most of what he said. I was busy throwing my dishes in the dishwasher and winding up my hissy. I do remember hearing something about how there were just not enough young people interested in education degrees to offset the teachers who retired post-covid.
When I think of all that fell upon the shoulders of our teachers during Covid, they deserve a bonus–like a new car or a paid sabbatical. But instead, it seems as if things like mask requirements and virtual learning resulted in permission for open season on teachers.
Some of the happiest moments of my life were spent in a classroom full of students. Forming relationships with my students and fellow teachers. I often think about my friends who remain in the trenches. The dedicated ones who love what they do, love our kids, and are a gift to our community.
Although some still do it, there is no mystery to why many teachers are not working past their earliest possible date of retirement. Our teachers deserve respect and a wide berth in which to practice–to be treated like professionals.
Unseen and Unheard
Much is being written today about the great price our country is paying for citizens who feel disenfranchised, alone, unseen and unheard. Our schools and teachers have played, and can continue to play, a huge role in healing this crisis, but they cannot do it without our support. Without freedom to do what they do.
I’m grateful for the smart, caring teachers in my community. And I’m grateful for the parents and administrators, who appreciate them. And I’m grateful I still have the passion and energy to work up a good hissy.
To my teacher friends, please know there are many of us out here who see and appreciate you.
I ask, what can we do? How can we best support you? What do you need from us?