Attend any dinner party, read local listservs, follow parents on Facebook, or just sit at the dinner table and education is often a topic of discussion. I imagine it is simply because everyone is connected to education in one way or another…they attended school, they know a teacher, they currently have kids, etc. However it’s one of the only professions where everyone has an opinion on what should or could be done better, why teachers aren’t working hard enough, and how a principal should be running a school. As a lifetime educator and a parent of two school-aged children, I have not only accepted this but also understand that it comes from a genuine love for one’s children. Nonetheless, no other profession faces such widespread scrutiny and second-guessing. However, day in and day out, our teachers are showing up to work, working incredibly hard, often without enough resources, or entering and surviving in buildings that haven’t been updated in 50 years.
Regardless of the opinions people possess, in this uncertain and scary moment with COVID-19, teachers deserve all of the credit in the world. In New York, Governor Cuomo has put a limit on gatherings of 500 people and the rest of the country has shutdown every single large event we have become accustomed to. However, teachers are heading to work each and every day, often times with many more than 500 people in the building. Eight hours a day (often more with athletics, extra academic supports, and after school activities), they give their heart and souls to their students, making sure they have a safe, comfortable, enjoyable, and educational place to be. Over the last few weeks, with each new morsel of unsettling news, my outstanding staff has continually asked if they can continue to provide the extra after school clubs and supports for our students; providing a sense of calm and normalcy during a time of great uncertainty. Our government has been severely delayed in adequately providing support and testing for communities affected by the ongoing crisis, yet our teachers soldier on, unsure of whether they are opening themselves or their families up to a virus with potentially serious consequences.
Our teachers in New York State and around the country deserve a huge “Shout Out” and “Thank You” for everything they do for our nation’s children on a daily basis but especially during these difficult times. Once again, they are doing incredible work when others will not or are not required to. Many others can work from home, but they walk through our school doors every single day to make sure our children have what they deserve and need. I hope one day our nation will realize that we must truly invest in our schools, medical care, and communities in a way that does not place a great deal of burden and/or blame on our outstanding educators. Until that day, thank you for the everyday heroes you are and for your unrelenting selflessness to inspire and build a better world for our children.
So, now I am asking for your help. Please go out and pay this message forward to a teacher you know who is putting their own self interest behind to make sure your child or other children continue to feel safe and grow into the outstanding young people we know they can be. Any format would mean a great deal; a quick text, email, phone call, or maybe a simple elbow bump. #elbowbumpateacher