I spent 20+ years in public education, 10+ years in higher education teaching the new generation of educators, and 8+ years training teachers across Indiana. As we start another new school year, 2 ½ years after pandemic conditions began, here are a few things I firmly believe:
- Education is one of the most noble professions.
- Educators are willing to not only teach, but console, encourage, re-teach, and meet the academic, social and behavioral needs that greet them at the door.
- Teachers work countless hours preparing, teaching, assessing, and communicating; it is an exhausting job year-round.
- Teachers are underpaid and undervalued.
- Educators are human; we make mistakes, break down, pick ourselves up, and keep going. Be forgiving of the minor things.
- Almost every school I know is starting understaffed this year, yet most teachers have returned to their posts to take on that challenge.
There are SO many ways that a family, community, or organization can support our teachers (it doesn’t matter if we have kids in school or not).
- Sending a note to a teacher you know, a past teacher of your children or grandchildren, a friend’s family member who is in education…I still have many of those notes and they got me through many rough days.
- Contributing books to the classroom of a new teacher…they buy a lot of them with their own money and are carrying the weight of student loans.
- Standing up for educators when you hear them being disparaged…we need to counter-balance the negativity we hear.
- Volunteering in a classroom/school building (point 7 above – everyone is understaffed).
- Dropping off donuts, pizza, candy for the staff…everyone needs a pick me up that is unexpected.
- Calling the principal, find out who the new teachers are in the building, and adopt one…ongoing support outside the building for a school year is a priceless gift.
Students remember their teachers, and teachers remember their students and those who support them. Let’s be the ones who support them.