When I began writing my book, I saw a repetitive thought in my backstory; the importance of my teachers. Through my reflection, and the Coronavirus events of 2020, I realize that teachers are more than national treasures, they’re an irreplaceable part of our world.
In my sixth grade poetry unit, I wrote a poem (no idea what kind?), and it simply said: “Knowledge is power and teachers give it.” By Dr. Jae (what a great pen name). The teacher hung it on top of her door, and it made me so proud. My twelve year old words still ring true.
Teachers do give knowledge, and power, and thoughts, and courage, and hope, and compassion, and empathy, and time, and hugs, and lectures, and discipline, and rewards, and so much more. And they give us dreams. They even give out pencils and warm gloves to those who need them, and snacks to those who forgot.
We often speak of teacher appreciation, but in March, 2020, our appreciation soared as we were confined to our homes and tasked with teaching phonics to first graders and fractions to fourth graders. And many of us realized that schools and teachers were even more than we knew.
In our schools, teachers provide safe spaces, not only to learn, but to live and grow. They look out for the mental health and wellbeing of our children. They give gentle guidance when they see someone go astray. Teachers and all those great people in the cafeteria, provide kids meals during school and after. They encourage social and emotional learning. They keep our children safe, active, and nurtured, from the early morning hours to the evening hours. And during their off hours, many of them worry about a few in their flock, who are in homes that feel distant from the classroom.
We have always asked a lot of our teachers. In today’s Covid world, we are asking even more of them. And what do they do – they continue to give, they continue to care, and they continue to rise to the challenge.
Life is far from perfect right now, but we all must continue on. Figuring out how to educate our children and keep them safe, is a big part of our new daily routine. To forge on, we must show strength and unity, and we must stay positive. The people who deserve our strength, unity, and positivity, now more than ever, are our teachers.
They don’t need our critique, our frustration, or our wants. What they need in these most trying of times is our support and patience. And they need our unending thanks.
To all the teachers in my life: Thank you for what you do for the greater good. Thank you for accepting all that we ask of you, and for your continued gifts to students. Thank you for staying the course in today’s uncharted waters. Thanks for being such an instrumental part of all of our worlds.
(Virtual) Hugs to you from me,
“I was sitting in the classroom Trying to look intelligent In case the teacher looked at me …
“She's an inspiration For my graduation And she helps to keep the classroom sane …
“Teacher I, teacher I, teacher I, teacher I need you” ~ Teacher I Need You by Elton John