Yesterday I came across a post on FaceBook from one of my friends who happens to be a teacher here in the same school district that my daughter attends. She is a preschool teacher and is one of the rare few that I have met that can take this precious age group and not only teach them but bring them the WANT to learn. I have seen posts from other friends who happen to be lucky enough to have a child in her classroom (virtual or in person). I have seen the excitement on their faces and she dances on camera, sings, brings puppets to keep a lesson engaging and will stop at nothing to make learning fun. No child is left feeling unloved in her world.
So now you ask why am I telling you this. Well it goes back to me coming across a FaceBook post from yesterday. Our teachers and students here in our school district have been out of school all week due to the mess of weather that Mother Nature brought our way. And because of the mess many of our schools have been damaged due to broken water pipes. Our school district made the decision to keep our schools closed through Tuesday next week both for in person learning and virtual learning. Of course my friend and other teachers are excited about this and she expressed her happiness of getting an extra two days out of the classroom. So somewhere along the way someone out there decided to chastise her for her excitement. Not only did they criticize her excitement but also decided to let the school district know that their decision to not hold classes was “a joke”.
Ok, so here is where my opinion comes in. Our teachers have been faced with some of the toughest teaching conditions over the past year. They have had to learn a whole different way of teaching. Turning their homes into virtual classrooms. Having to make due (in the beginning with what they had at home since they couldn’t get into their classrooms) with little of their own supplies and teaching materials. Learn new systems, learn to upload lesson plans and videos and learn to zoom. They had to learn how to balance family and teaching. Remember many of our teachers have children of their own who also had to learn a new way of learning or have children who would traditionally go to child care. How do you balance, a toddler for example, who just wants to play or has decided that your zoom time is the perfect time for that tantrum they have been holding in for the last couple of days. They weren’t taught this when they went to school themselves. They had to learn by trial and error. They don’t work a “normal” 9-5 job like many of us do. Their day does not start when they walk through the doors of the school and it does not end when they walk out of those same doors.
So to the person that decided to call our schools a joke and belittle a teacher because she was happy for a couple more days of not being at school. Our schools are closed for the next few days because they are damaged. It may not be safe for children and staff to come back to the classroom until broken water pipes can be fixed. Did you stop and ask yourself if your teachers and school district need help? Did you stop and ask yourself how many teachers may have lost precious supplies and teaching materials due to damage at their schools? Did you stop and ask yourself if your teachers and faculty members had damage to their own homes that needs their attention right now? Did you stop and ask yourself if it is safe for your own children to return to the classroom due to damage caused by the storm?
Give our teachers some GRACE. I know our schools are closed for the next few days. I know our children are at home. I know that many parents out there are having to make arrangements to ensure that we ourselves can go back to work now that our world has begun to thaw. I know that our children need to learn and grow. I know that this has been a year of making sacrifice after sacrifice because we are stuck in the middle of a pandemic. But we need to give each other the time and space to recover from these times.
Now, I know my friend well enough to know that even though she is excited about having an extra couple of days off from the classroom she is sitting at her kitchen table working for YOUR kids. She is making lesson plans, recording videos, creating fun and exciting games to keep the interest of the young minds she teaches in our school district. And yes she is taking time for HERSELF! She may stop and read a book, relax with her family, do a couple of loads of laundry or even just take a nap. And you know what? It’s ok! Our children will be ok. Our schools will be ok. AND our teachers will come back to the classrooms ready to teach our children as they do day after day. It will all be fine. It may still look different but it will be ok.
As we all thaw out over the next few days, stop and ask your teacher friends how they are doing. Did their school suffer damage? Did their classroom suffer damage? Did their homes suffer damage? Instead of complaining about our kids not going to school ask your teachers and your school district what help they may need to get our kids back to school.
Ok, as my friends would say…Rant over!