Teachers are our national heroes.
Until they ask for something.
When they do they are immediately responded to with rebuke.
I've seen this, not just during COVID, for years. Decades.
We all know a teacher. Teachers do not "clock out" at 3 PM. Sometimes they get a break, but usually they work well beyond dinner. There is rarely a 40-hour week.
How many of you would work 60 hours for 40 hours of pay? The answer is; some of you do. I do. It's called passion for your career. But truly, how many Americans have a career where we spend that much of our time out of passion?
I know many teachers. And I've also taught. I spent evenings upon evenings writing lesson plans, or grading papers in a way that helped my kids learn. Then I would set my alarm extra early to get a little bit more done before class.
When teachers ask for better pay. Rebuke. Immediate. This year, when teachers ask for better protection from COVID. Rebuke. Immediate.
These rebukes are not solely via superficial memes. Sure, there are those. Yet I've read well-thought out posts and articles this year, and previous years, which counter any request by teachers.
Ask a teacher how much they spend out of their income to further their own career. Ask a teacher how much they spend on basic supplies for their children. Then ask him or her how much they are paid.
Then find a teacher in the inner city and ask the same questions.
I'm sure there are examples of school districts, scattered across this country, where teachers are truly treated well. I hope such a place exists. That would be great if there are places we can learn from in order to actually do more.
As a collective nation, I would argue we hold teachers in high esteem with slogans only. Bumper stickers. A comfy post on social media which garners lots of positive reactions.
We do not, however, support them in meaningful ways. Not as a nation. Let's simply be honest about this.
I was in the military for twenty years. I have a pension, and guaranteed medical coverage for the rest of my life. Many of you would state that I deserve this.
What do we, as a nation, do for these teachers who mentor our children? What do we do for the teachers who mentor the kids who will join our military?
Our national priorities could use a reassessment.
About The Author
My name is Jerry. One of my passions is hiking in the mountains, especially on the Appalachian Trail. My trail name is Monsoon. I taught at the Naval Academy during the twilight of my Marine Corps career. I currently own and operate a coffee shop & bookstore. Check it out here.