America hates teachers. There’s no other way to put it. I’m not interested in massaging language to say what is quite obvious to me and so many of my fellow teachers — especially when nobody cares to massage their language when they’re out there bashing us! America has a very toxic relationship with teachers and I’m tired of defending myself, my credentials, my work – and it’s not just me.
I know too many amazing educators to buy into the false narrative that we all are just losers trying to get over on the system and stay home because we don’t want to work! What we don’t want is to die because of being essentially forced to work in an unsafe environment. I am not an RN or an MD! THEY signed up to potentially expose themselves to infectious diseases and possibly die as a part of their career choice. Teachers did not! We have a different set of standards to which we are held. We are being scapegoated as sacrificial lambs so that the economy can open back up and people can have baby sitters for their children! A baby sitter with a Masters degree plus 30 credits above that and a Ph.D on the way! Ain’t that something?! It’s infuriating!
No other profession deals with this blatant national disrespect — not for the pennies on the dollar that we make! I’ve been holding so much of this in and just listening and reading the back and forth about how terrible teachers are! How dare you, America?!?! We spend more time with our students than their own parents do in most cases! Often, we have more influence over your children than you do which, as a parent myself, baffles me to no end! I have parents calling me asking me how to get their child to do their work because they just can’t do it. I’m not bashing or shaming anybody because I’m compassionate and even when I don’t get it, I strive to get it and be of help. That is the heart of so many teachers that I know.
I’m a parent too and I have so much respect for my children’s teachers who took the time to vibe with them and who helped me raise them as a single mother so I’m not here standing on some high horse as if I’ve arrived and don’t understand the plight of parents. I do. I am one. Being a single parent is like living in a pandemic of a different kind, while raising kids on a daily basis for years on end. I am also a teacher and that intersection of those two very real parts of my existence are what’s driving me to write this post. But does America get it?
I’m somebody’s mother, too! Three somebodies, for that matter! There is no safe plan for reopening schools in person but I should just go anyway because America needs me to and if I don’t, I’m some kind of horrible teacher?
I don’t receive that because it’s not true! If nothing else, this pandemic has reinforced what I already knew to be true about how America feels about me: my life doesn’t matter because I’m Black. My life doesn’t matter because I’m a woman. My life doesn’t matter because I’m a teacher. But let me tell ya’ll something — I, too, sing America! I, too, am America! Some of ya’ll can’t manage one day at home with your own kids that you created, but you have the unmitigated galll to try and bash me when on any given day I teach, manage, love on, talk to, coach, mentor, feed, clothe, listen to, and so much more up to 30 different groups of your actual kids at a time for 6 hours each day for 10 months out of the year with finesse, grace, style, and exceptionality whether it be in person or online — AND call home to talk to you, too, parents to make sure you’re vitally included and have what you need in order to be good? It’s so ungrateful and so out of touch with the reality of what it means and what it takes to be a teacher. Everyone thinks they can do it with their eyes closed. WRONG! Teaching is hard work that requires a measure of smarts and creativity that is mind-boggling. It’s both a science and an art.
And trust me, the ones complaining the most would not last a day in my shoes! You can’t walk in my shoes! Half the time I’m telling you about your kid because I see a side of your kid that you don’t and probably never will see! You’d think America would value our input as teachers so much more and in such higher esteem. And don’t tell me about how you’re not a teacher! As a parent, YOU ARE your child’s first and forever teacher! You didn’t know? Well I’m here to remind you! Never let a stranger have more influence over your child than you! You might not be able to teach them everything but c’mon — stop acting like teaching isn’t hardcore work when the truth is even with your own children you’re struggling and it’s not because you can’t teach them it’s often because you don’t know your own child well enough to be able to tap into what interests them, to know how they learn, etc.
There’s a disconnection in our households across America but we don’t want to talk about that, right? Of course not. America’s style has always been to cover up and act like the elephant in the room doesn’t exist because it’s easier to table that conversation and the root problem of the destruction of our families and instead focus on how evil teachers are. It’s completely and utterly ludicrous.
Let me take a minute right here to pause and shout-out all of the parents who homeschool! You get it. At the end of the day, America, respect me and respect my profession. I am a teacher, a strong and a talented and gifted one, at that! I flex that teacher muscle every day and my teacher physique is right! Stellar! Get ya weight up before you come over here with your teacher bashing foolishness cause that’s exactly what it is — foolishness and lies! Only in America…SMH