Dear Parent/Guardian of a K-12 student,
I usually only write to teachers to encourage them, challenge them, and give a little hope in impossible situations. However, today I have something on my mind. You and I need to have a little talk.
Every day, some teacher wakes up thinking about your child. That same teacher, and other teachers, spend the week days working with your child trying to get him or her to see the best in themselves and get that best out of them. Every night, those teachers think about what went well, what didn’t, and how to be the best teachers they can be for the sake of your child.
Even on the weekends, holidays, and over the summer, chances are that there is a teacher, and probably more than one, with thoughts about your child and how much the hope for your child’s future.
Whether you think this is happening or not, I guarantee you that it is. You may not always agree with every teacher every year, but they do have the best interest in mind for your child…and most of the time they sincerely care about your child and their past, present, and future. The ones that care the most are probably wearing themselves out for the sake of your child.
And they do this willingly.
Teachers get into to teaching because they care about kids and want to help them grow in the potential they have. They love watching students become learners and critical thinkers. They love the process of learning and growth of the mind and watching students become the people they can be. This is their heart. They truly care.
This care shows up differently from teacher to teacher. Some teachers are experts at directly connecting to your child. They nurture the emotional as well as the educational side of their students. Other teachers are content magicians. They make subjects come alive to children and inspire them to pursue careers later in life out of pure joy and wonder that was instilled by a passionate teacher. Some teachers make everything about learning fun. Some share their lives and make the students invest in them as a person because they make students care. And I could go on and on…but the care that teachers have for students is real even if it looks different from class to class.
And it is the teachers that work the hardest from the point of their care for students that make the biggest difference.
I mean think back to when you were in school. Which teachers do you remember? I remember a fifth grade math teacher that made everything about math seem like the best thing in the world. I remember a middle school French teacher that made us care about French because she made learning it fun. I remember an English teacher in high school that made me care about Shakespeare because he cared so much about Shakespeare. And I had a math teacher in high school that I am friends with to this day because she cared for me as a person and invested time and energy into all of her students. I am the teacher I am today because of her.
This is what education is meant to be! Yes, content and learning is important and the common thread. But we don’t become learners because of test scores, school ratings, and comparisons to other states and countries. We become learners because of the people that inspire us to learn.
And this is why teachers want to teach.
This is why I want to talk to you. The system is broken. Teachers are the scapegoats. Everything is focused on results. Teachers are constantly having more and more results-oriented work put upon them. They are forced to teach in specific ways and very little wiggle-room is allowed for decisions based on what they know about their own students.
Schools are thought of like businesses…and every minute of the day is about the end product. And time is money…so teachers have students with them at all times and the paperwork and other responsibilities are put on teachers to do on their own time (remember, the time the teachers use to think about your child and what is best for him or her). A lot of teachers do not even have the luxury of using the restroom during the school day (and this is not an exaggeration).
Teachers are tired. Teachers are exhausted. Teachers are beat up, beat down, emotionally caved in, and about to all burn-out.
Not overplaying this, in a lot of states teachers are already leaving the profession in droves and it it getting worse and worse. The best teachers are leaving. This is the canary in the coal mine. When the best, most veteran, highly thought of teachers are leaving the profession, there is a problem that looks like will not be fixed.
I get to interact with many teachers every day, and I am seeing a trend that is not going to end well for public education, and it is not going to end well for your child getting that education.
Teachers still care, but they just can’t keep going. Something has to give. Something has to change. Something has to happen or we will be soon asking where all the teachers have gone.
This is why I am writing to you, parents and guardians. You see the news. You see how teachers all over the country are fighting. They are not fighting for more money…they are fighting for the respect they deserve and to draw attention to the system that is failing your child. They are fighting for your child!
This is about more than raises, smaller class sizes, and less testing. This is about the ability and freedom to teach your child, connect with them, and help them to become real learners and adults who can make this world a better place.
Teachers want to be able to give your students the same opportunities we all had to grow and learn and explore the world and be connected to educators that make them care about what they are learning. That world barely exists anymore, and it is slowly dying. Teachers are trying to save it! But they need your help.
Please talk to teachers and learn about what is going on and their concerns about the system. Get involved and find out what is going on at the local and state level in schools and how the system is changing to help teacher or changing to hinder them. Talk to leaders and share your concerns. Join the fight with teachers at the state level and demand a system that is best for your children…and one that will inspire them to become the people you know that they can be.
Fight with us…not against us. Learn what we are fighting for…it really is all about your child!
Thank you for reading! Please share and spread the word. Teachers need your help more than ever!
You rock because you care about your child’s future! Thanks for joining the fight!