Teachers educate our children and help equip them to have healthy, productive lives. Providing effective, professional instruction to students is challenging, and this year it is proving to be uniquely difficult because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the virus has been profound: classrooms have been changed or moved online; school schedules have been scrambled; curriculum has been retooled and/or completely replaced; new protocols have been implemented; decisions have been made, then changed, and then changed again; and on and on. All this, amid the actual physical risks associated with contracting and/or transmitting the disease, and the mental and emotional toll on everyone involved. Students need their education and their teachers want to help them learn, but many of those teachers are overwhelmed, discouraged, and exhausted because COVID-19 is making it very hard to do their jobs.
Each of us, most likely, has at least one teacher who uniquely impacted us; a teacher helped us become a better person. Take a moment to reflect on that individual. Who were they? How did they help shape your life? Now imagine the teachers in your community today. All of them have the potential to be that person in the life of one of their current students. But COVID-19 is challenging them physically, mentally and emotionally.
Can anything be done to support those teachers? Is there anyone who can help them? I believe the answer to both questions is yes – and that the answer is us. You and me. Our society. We can step in and serve those who serve our students. How can we do it? I am sure that we have the resources to do something that would make a difference. We could send an encouraging note. Drop off a meal. Volunteer at the school. Provide technical support. Maybe just sit quietly with them and be present. There are all sorts of ways we can help, and we should. Discouraged, worn out teachers deserve to know that we care and that we are cheering them on, just as they care for and cheer on our students.
A lost school year would be very difficult for students to overcome, and teachers are working hard to make sure that does not happen. No matter what the circumstance, or where the classroom may be, now is the time for us to find a way to help our teachers. Our children are counting on their teachers. Let’s show their teachers that they can count on us.