During this troubling time when we should be helping each other through one of the roughest patches we’ve faced as a nation, teachers have become scapegoats, blamed for everything involving social change and Covid-19.
Teachers tried to protect themselves and their families during the pandemic and worried about protecting their students and now they’re blamed for school closures, and they have always seen it as their responsibility to help all children feel accepted in school and life. Now, they’re criticized for instituting social justice activities.
Despite this negativity against teachers, many paused last week when singer, songwriter Adele joyfully reconnected with a former teacher.
“I had a teacher at (south London high school) Chestnut Grove, who taught me English. That was Miss McDonald… She got me really into English literature. Like, I’ve always been obsessed with English and obviously now I write lyrics.”
“She was so bloody cool. So engaging,” Adele added, recalling that McDonald often wore sequins and gold bracelets. “She really made us care, and we knew that she cared about us.”
Most of us can think of one if not several or many teachers who we liked, or who our children like, good teachers who are committed and work hard at what they do.
Teachers have different personalities and beliefs, and some are better at teaching than others. Sometimes they have off years where nothing goes right. And one child might like a teacher that another despises. That happens too.
Teaching is one of the greatest professions. One never knows how a teacher will inspire a student.
Here’s an updated list of a few things that make teachers great and an additional list of what teachers need. Feel free to add to the lists. And recognize that teachers are having a tough time right now, and schools are finding it hard to find teachers and substitute teachers.
Public school teachers:
- Teach all children—they reject no one.
- Celebrate children for their uniqueness.
- Quickly adapted to change during Covid-19.
- Enter the classroom well-prepared with years of university study.
- Eagerly learn new concepts to help students.
- Taught online and in-class during Covid-19.
- Are at the forefront of social change.
- Respect children and showcase their cultural backgrounds.
- Help students of many religions feel accepted.
- Choose to teach because they love their subject and their students.
- Accept, and unfortunately, at times, internalize outside criticism.
- Don’t choose their careers to get rich.
- Pay out-of-pocket for materials.
- Are fiercely protective of students and student rights.
- Listen, support, and assist parents when given a chance.
- Encourage students to do their best.
- Take students on exciting field trips.
- Create interesting lessons.
- Decorate their classrooms even in the poorest schools.
- Show up to teach in inadequate school buildings.
- Have different and interesting personalities.
- Listen to students and help solve problems.
- March in rallies to support better schools for students.
- Team with other teachers to lift students.
- Correct student mistakes.
- Help students laugh.
- Evaluate student work.
- Assist students to plan for the future.
- Give students paper and writing tools and supplies when they forget to bring their own.
- Connect families to outside resources.
- Keep teaching even when they feel bad.
- Teach students how to read and do the math.
- Love diversity and student differences.
- Teach students art, music, acting, and even dance.
- Teach chemistry, physics, biology, and other sciences.
- Work to get history right.
- Teach social studies and civics.
- Teach health and wellness.
- Believe in their students and advocate for them.
- Help students make good choices.
- Fight for student rights inside and outside of school.
- Don’t care if students aren’t perfect.
- Challenge students to accept or overcome difficulties.
- Help students with mental health problems get the help they need.
- Show off their students’ accomplishments.
- Help students work out their problems.
- Take pride in their students.
- Cheer for students at their sporting events.
- Help students get organized.
- Bring in cookies and cupcakes, and treats.
- A Teacher’s Motto is “Once a teacher, always a teacher.”
- Never forget their students.
What teachers need:
- Time to plan.
- Smaller classes.
- Decent school facilities.
- Resources and materials.
- To be included.
- Support staff.
- Decent salaries.
Twyala Carner says
I loved your article. I have one concern. Why only Public School Teachers? I teach at a parochial school. I make significantly less than public school teachers. Our per cent IEP/504 is equal to or higher than our neighboring public schools. We don’t qualify for a lot of state PD’s which state “public”: school teachers so we do without or pay out of our own pockets.
Nancy Bailey says
Great point! Thank you, Twyala, for your hard work as a teacher.
I’m afraid I get too focused on public schools and the teachers working there because I see them in trouble.
But I’m sorry I excluded the hard-working teachers like yourself. I will remember your point in the future and be more inclusive.
Nancy Bailey says
I started to change the subtitle, but public schools are different from private and parochial schools in that public schools accept everyone. Private schools can be selective. So that is a big difference. That doesn’t mean that private or parochial school teachers aren’t good teachers.
Teachers need affordable health care and housing. They cannot do their jobs without these.