Dear Future Teachers,
The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged the world and everyone has felt its impact. This is a topic that I have avoided on this blog because schools themselves are still trying to figure out how to operate in such unprecedented times. I've also wanted to create a space that I could write in to escape the daily news and updates about the virus. However, I felt that I needed to make a post addressing the impact of the pandemic on our schools while simultaneously maintaining an uplifting feeling in my writing. After a lot of thinking, I decided that the best way to accomplish this is to thank our educators! Educators already had my respect before the virus developed, and now more than ever, they need our support!
Adapting to online learning, figuring out lesson plans for students who don't have access to WiFi, and having to re-image their entire classroom, teachers have put in a lot of hard work! I've scrolled through countless comments online where people are blatantly ignoring how difficult of a task it is to adjust classrooms and teaching to accommodate all students in a pandemic. It's not that easy to just "get back in the classroom", especially when teachers have to take into account any guidelines set by their respective state and local districts. Educators are not mindless vessels that babysit kids all day; they are brilliant and dedicated humans who are doing everything they can to help their students succeed! Yes, students are important, and getting them back into the classroom is a goal of many, however we have to acknowledge the toll it is taking on our teachers as well.
With the new school year right around the corner, I would like to do something special for educators everywhere! What I suggest today is for you all to thank teachers and school staff! Here is how you can support teachers as they go back to teaching this Fall (in-person or online!)
Send 'thank you' messages!
Whether it's over social media, email, or a handwritten letter, let teachers know you see them and you appreciate them! If you have kids in school currently, sit down with them and help them write a letter to their teachers. Even if you've already graduated, your former teachers will enjoy hearing from you! Kind words can mean so much, so please, if you know an educator, send them some love as they enter this school year!
Raise funds and supplies for classrooms!
It's no secret that the funds for schools are abysmal. Many teachers use their personal money to stock their classrooms. Let's help our teachers out by raising money for their classrooms! If you can't donate, try starting a drive in your community to help teachers collect classroom supplies. Some items to focus on are: tissues, disinfectant wipes, hand sanitizer, soap, paper towels, face masks, and other cleaning supplies.
Email your state representatives!
Advocate for better pay and benefits for teachers in your state or local district! Let your representatives know that you care about the educators in your state. Utilize your voice and put pressure on state reps to increase school funding, focus on benefits for educators, and raise teacher salaries. Teachers who are taken care of are better equipped to provide a quality education for students.
The following link takes you to a map of the U.S. states and territories. Click on your state to be redirected to your states' legislature websites. On those websites, you can find out who your representatives are, who is involved in the education committee, and have access to contact information to send in your support for teachers!
Remember that teachers are people, too. While guidelines may be frustrating, or schools aren't following a plan to reopen that you're comfortable with, please don't take it out on teachers. They aren't the ones making the decisions in regards to reopening schools, but they are the ones who are doing their best to provide an education for your child. They are most likely going to be fatigued, and your patience will be much appreciated as we all figure out how to proceed in a manner that's best for our students and teachers alike!
To my readers who are current educators, I personally want to thank each of you for the work you've put in during such a stressful time. Remember to practice self-care as you take on the challenge of what schools will look like this year. If you have any suggestions of other ways we can support you, please let me know via my contact form on my home page, or email me at email@example.com!