It is that time of year when kids are supposed to be in school with backpacks full of supplies, and excitement to see their friends after a long summer break, but unfortunately, because of this pandemic, things look completely different this year. With in-person learning happening in some places and online in others, sometimes both taking place simultaneously. As hard as it is on the parents (and I imagine it is pretty hard), imagine what it is like for teachers.
I don’t have to imagine because my Dad is a construction trade teacher at Boces and with that type of class, you work with different tools, building things, etc. So right now, my dad is having to come up with unique ways to teach that gets his students engaged in the learning process while making sure everyone is safe and learning what they need to. He does this both in-person and online. It is a whole new year and a whole new environment for my dad and a bunch of teachers right now. It is stressful, scary and a handful of other emotions right now for a lot of teachers and administrative people around the country.
For a lot of teachers, even the ones that have been teaching for years, this feels like their first year of teaching. That makes perfect sense because well honestly it is! This is a new experience for everyone involved and I give teachers all the credit. Not just because they so deserve that and my respect, but because they are still willing to teach students and adapt to this new way of teaching for as long as it takes. Not for you, not for me, not even for the pay they so deserve but do not get, they do it because they truly love their students.
Yes, there is a chance they could very well get sick or even worse, die, but they know how risky it can be and yet, they still show up. They do what they need to do for the sake of educating generations to come and that is a remarkably selfless thing to do.
I understand that parents are frustrated and do not want to do this online-at-home teaching thing at all. They just want their kid to be back in school etc. But to all those frustrated parents: I want you to think about the teachers and the administrative staff that have been working constantly and tirelessly over the summer to figure out a new way to be safe and educate effectively. Working to teach and run schools so that kids can get the best education possible with what we are all going through right now.
My hope is that when this is all over, we will not only appreciate teachers more for what they do but pay them enough for this job. That we give them enough support and supplies so that they can be the best teachers they are capable of being. I have always loved and respected teachers for what they have done, and I always will. My hope is that more people, especially parents, will do the same to understand what a big role teachers play in our society.
To all the teachers out there: I see you, I hear you and I am in awe of you. I know things are difficult right now, but if anyone can do this job, it is you. Thank you.