COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc for over two years. Not quite two years in the United States but it has certainly felt like a decade. One of the biggest areas affected by this horrible pandemic has been education. At the onset, educators were praised and deemed as heroes. I mean we could go anywhere and be thanked over and over again for serving in that capacity.
We jumped into action, most inadequately prepared, to ensure that our students' and parents' educational needs did not go lacking. But our heroinism was short-lived. As the pandemic progressed, teachers were expected to become a form of a martyr in the religious world of education. Why do I say religious? More of a play on words than anything to give you a visual of how teachers are expected to respond to an antiquated operating system. To do something religiously means to act with consistent and conscientious regularity. There is nothing regular about teaching in a world pandemic. Teachers have been expected to use the same tools (for the most part) to teach students who have been affected socially, emotionally, physically, mentally, and yes, educationally. It has been an arduous journey, to say the least, and frankly, we are tired.
But what keeps us going? What is the fuel in this gas guzzler of teaching? The students. At the end of the day and after all of our fussing, it's the students that keep us motivated. A teacher worth their salt wants to see students succeed. Often times we sacrifice ourselves in order to see the kids shine. It's a charge that we don't take for granted and one that we esteem high. So when legislators and careless people make statements like "...public education is about employing unemployable adults not educating kids." or "it's a job get over it", or "teachers don't deserve raises, they don't do anything extra", it really pisses us off. We are expected to take abuse from students, parents, administrators, districts, congress, and more and still keep ticking. It's not right and it's not fair and it's disgusting.
But what can we do? Teachers who love teaching are caught between a rock and a hard place. Walk away or stay and endure? Those are the questions. We don't really have the answers, so we just push on hoping for a change. Teachers are human with families, personal problems, children of our own, are in school ourselves, and more. Compassion and trust that the education and credentials we have acquired have equipped us to do a job will go a long way. Pray for the mental health of teachers, the financial stability, the heart-wrenching decisions some are making to leave the classroom and profession altogether, the strength to keep pushing despite feeling overwhelmed and unappreciated.
This wasn't designed to be a feel-good blog. But one to share a piece of our truth. We love our jobs but it is definitely a tiresome charge.