To the Editor:
I recently read that Florida has become yet another state to allow armed teachers (“Florida Governor Signs Divisive Bill Allowing for Armed Teachers,” May 8, 2019). I’m thankful that my mother, now retired, taught elementary school in a much different world.
I remember playing in my mom’s classroom until it got dark, while she graded papers. I remember helping her pack and unpack boxes when she moved classrooms during the summer. I remember spending the day setting up the classroom, laying out name plates, creating reading corners, and designing bulletin boards. I remember her using her own money to buy many of these items, including a “reward” chest filled with tiny treasures that would make any child feel recognized, celebrated, and loved.
Yet, somehow, I have more appreciation for teachers now than ever. Teachers today share many of the same worries that my mom did: earning salaries that don’t reflect the work they put in, funding their own school supplies, and equipping children for the world and standardized tests—the new metric for how “smart” children are and where they can attend college.
Teachers now have a new set of standards to live up to: protecting our children’s lives, sometimes at the expense of their own.
The words “thank you” don’t cover it. In fact, they fall really short. What I would really like to say is, “I’m so sorry; we need to do better. You deserve more. Our kids deserve more. I will play an active role in trying to make this right.”
But for now, I will just say “thank you” and quietly hope you realize how much I appreciate the sacrifices you make so that our children can be good people and the world can be a brighter place to live.
A version of this article appeared in the June 12, 2019 edition of Education Week as Teachers Deserve More