September 12, 2013
Posted by Steph
As I type this, you are most likely mid-way through your work day. You may be speaking in front of a class of students or grading papers. You may be feverishly eating your lunch while multi-tasking or overseeing study hall, recess or the cafeteria. You may be mentally planning ahead for tomorrow, next week or next month while trying to remember that you have to coach a practice this afternoon. You may even squeeze in a few moments to wonder what your family is doing today.
I know you've been battling a lot of backlash recently. Your funds are getting cut, your resources becoming scarce, and your contracts increasingly bleak. The media portrays you as money-hungry, greedy, lazy and expendable. Parents blame you for all the reasons their children aren't succeeding. Communities question everything you do, scrutinizing exactly how every penny of their tax dollars are being used. Some of you are dealing with the threat of your schools closing. Some of you are teaching without books. Some of you are trying to negotiate liveable contracts.
I can imagine you are tired: physically, mentally, emotionally. It's difficult to stand up for yourself, for your profession, and to go back to the same job every day under fire. I bet you struggle to come up with answers to all the questions posed to you, to truly know your value in a society who uses dollars to determine the worth of it's people. You may not even remember why you decided to become a teacher in the first place.
But I remember.
You see, for every person attacking your profession, there is another who knows just how important you are. We know you didn't start teaching to make a 6-figure paycheck and have a corner office with a view. We know you have a heart to instill knowledge, to inspire, to empower, to build up. We know the quiet hours you keep before school, after school, into the wee hours of the night going above and beyond. We know how humbling it is that your earnings and your performance are on parade for your entire community to see and discuss.
So, dear teachers, know that sometimes the best thing you can do is say NO. That the word NO, to your school conditions, to your scarce resources, to your insulting contracts, is not weak. It is not stubborn or passive-aggressive or greedy. The word NO is actually quite brave. It is just, standing up for what you believe in about your profession. About yourself. About the students you teach. That you are valuable and necessary to our society. That you are of worth. That what you do is important, and that future generations depend on the education they receive at your hands.
It's okay to be heard.
So teachers, please don't give up. In the face of all the frustrating things you encounter day in and day out, keep trying. Keep fighting for the kids you teach, for the classrooms you tend, for the communities you serve.
We need you.
We believe in what you do.
Filed Under: Teachers