The teaching profession doesn’t seem to be getting any easier.
In fact, on top of all of the other things asked of teachers, the stress of this job is getting heavier and heavier and the work is becoming harder and harder. Not only are standardized tests gaining more power, parents hovering more, distractions worse than ever, and constant cuts in education funding, but teachers unfortunately work in a place that is becoming more and more violent. When I’m with my students, I want to think about making learning epic, and growing kids into kind, intelligent, critical thinking, extraordinary citizens.
And I’m still trying to do that, but I’m also thinking about keeping my doors locked at all times, and the fact that my classroom has huge windows facing the hallway, and that one student who keeps to himself a lot and is always angry, and about what I would do to protect my students if there is a shooter about to come into my room.
All 3 million of us teachers are thinking about these things right now.
And it is stressful carrying this weight and responsibility.
And it’s not supposed to be this way.
But it is.
What I think is interesting is the fact that we’re not seeing a mass exodus of teachers right now in American schools. The voices of teachers that are rising up following the Parkland shooting is not that of complaining or even ultimatums threatening to leave the profession.
You’re seeing teachers speak out in the name of students, supporting their voices, standing up for causes that are close to them. We’re seeing teachers fight to make our schools, and ultimately society better.
Teachers are heroes. They’ve always been. And the fact that they are showing up to schools every day despite the threats as well all the other pressures of this job only amplifies that fact, And I think it’s time society recognizes them for that. Teachers are the ones on the ground, in these schools every day. Politicians and the media should be discussing how to make school safer for our kids, but I think teachers need to lead these discussions, and politicians and the media need to listen.
If you’re a teacher, use your voice. Demand to be heard. You’ve accepted the amazing, but heavy task of caring for the young people in our society, and giving them the skills, knowledge, and example of how to make our society better. And for that you’re a hero.
And people listen when heroes speak.
And if you’re not a teacher, do me a favor and thank one.
Then take a second to listen to them.