Being a teacher is stressful at the best of times. Right now, it’s terrifying. One teacher has revealed just how important it is for everyone to treat educators with the respect they deserve during the madness of 2020.
Society has smirked at teachers for years.
Pop culture is filled with jokes about how incompetent the average teacher is. For instance, we all know the phrase, “Those who can’t do, teach.”
But could coronavirus change that perception for good?
Just think, millions of parents across America have had to take on some or all of the responsibilities of teachers in 2020. Did those parents discover that teaching their kid was actually surprisingly easy? Of course not! They found it super hard. Teachers have to take on this role for their entire careers but with many, many more kids to coordinate.
Of course, since coronavirus brought America to a standstill in March, people have been looking for a time when things can get back to normal. A key part of normalcy is sending kids to school.
Sadly, we all know that coronavirus is still out of control across much of America. But we also know that kids need school and parents need to work. So we’re all living with a huge Catch 22. And teachers are really suffering in this situation.
One teacher, Sarah Bryant, recently gained attention online for a letter she wrote in Love What Matters. It perfectly explains why we should all be supporting teachers right now.
Bryant has been a teacher for almost her entire professional life. She landed a teaching job straight from college. In that time, she’s taught every grade and all sorts of kids. And she describes herself as being completely frozen right now.
“When I sit down to plan lessons, my brain freezes. I have absolutely no idea what to do. The restrictions being placed upon us are incomprehensible.” – Sarah Bryant.
Yes, we’re all stressed at the moment. But the confusion that’s been thrust upon Sarah is insane. She is expected to teach kids in person and online simultaneously, somehow. She has to teach choir without singing, somehow. She has to create a safe environment without any resources or clear instruction, somehow. She has to create a strong relationship with children that she sees once a week, somehow.
“I am a teacher and my job has been turned upside down, inside out, shredded, and then handed back to me with the instruction to ‘make it work.'” – Sarah Bryant.
Imagine if your boss told you to do something pronto, but then he told you to simultaneously do something else that completely contradicted the first thing. Oh, and then he said to implement a bunch of safety measures without any solid guidelines, and if they turned out wrong, you’d be in serious trouble. And no, you couldn’t have any further clarification.
That’s what teachers all over America have been told to do.
“I am not blaming my school district. I am not blaming anxious or angry parents. I am not in a blaming place. I am asking anyone reading this to lead with compassion.” – Sarah Bryant.
Sarah, like so many teachers across America and the world, is trying to do her best. She’s a highly trained, competent professional. But right now, she’s been given impossible instructions and responsibilities. And she’s going to rise to the challenge.
Naturally, teachers are very concerned about getting coronavirus as schools reopen.
Especially worried are the one-quarter of American teachers who are at risk of severe illness if they contract the disease. They’re being told to put themselves at risk right now.
Yes, at the moment, we’re all angry. We all hate the changes we’ve had to make. But don’t take your anger out on teachers. They’re going through hell just like the rest of us. They deserve our support.
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