For the Love of Teaching

Posted by Diane Hale on 3/22/2018 2:00:00 PM

It’s a tough time to be in education. As the expression goes, if the country has the sniffles, America’s schools get the flu. Those of us who work in public schools today feel the ills of the entire country.  


The burdens and pressures teachers face continue to mount. Our teachers worry about kids who don’t have enough to eat, who struggle with learning, and they worry most about those students who act out for reasons none of us know. They teach children to be kind to each other, to tie their own shoes, to say please and thank you. They teach about the importance of accepting one another and how to behave in a drill so that we are all safe. They teach how to be a good audience member, how to accept praise, and how to show pride in a respectful way.  Oh, and they teach math, reading, science, social studies and all at more rigorous standards than we’ve seen ever before in this country. Meanwhile, the accountability for student learning on schools is greater, and the pay is less. Teachers have to think about protecting their students from anything that might harm them physically, and emotionally, every day. They work long hours, take work home, and often spend time with their own kids last.


As a principal, I think about the weight on my teachers’ shoulders. I worry not only about the safety and well-being of our staff and students during the day, but the well-being of the people who do the heavy lifting when they go home exhausted to their families at night. So, with this grim picture, one might wonder, why? Why do it at all? While I can only speak for myself, I have a hunch I know why most educators do it. The answer is simple – BECAUSE IT MATTERS.  


The greatest thing we can do for our country is to support our public schools. There are a million clichés about making a difference that would be very apropos here, but my seventh grade English teacher taught me not to use clichés to make a point, so I won’t. Instead I will make a plea.  


To Parents: 


Don’t feel sorry for teachers, instead thank them, empower them, and most importantly listen to them. They want what is best for your child. Vote for candidates that support public schools when you go to the polls and champion the hard work you see ALL school employees do. Your donations mean a lot; your volunteer hours mean even more. Stand by us. We need you.  


To Teachers: 


Stay focused on what matters. Remember your “why” every day. Help each other find the humor in the funny stuff, the joy in the happy stuff, and the successes along the way. Compliment your colleagues publicly and share the good news of education. Good things happen every day in schools, we need to champion our own cause. 


To Everyone Else: 


Visit a public school if you haven’t been to one in a while. Invite an educator to your next dinner party (we only get invited as spouses) and listen to them. Ask questions, learn about the work of a public school educator today. Vote for candidates who support public schools. Give your tax credit to a local school. The next time someone says, “I’m a teacher” don’t say, ‘how fun!’ instead say, “thank you for your service to our country.”