“It’s the teacher that makes the difference, not the classroom.”Michael Morpurgo
COVID has impacted almost every person in some way. Whether it’s been through the fear of losing a loved one, financial hardship, or the pressures of balancing life during quarantine, this is likely to go down as one of the most stressful times in history.
While things are constantly changing, as a country we are attempting to determine what normalcy is both now and in the future.
One thing is for sure, people are frustrated, confused, and afraid of the unknown. A main concern that many have as the summer comes to an end, is what will the 2020-2021 school year look like? We have heard the opinions of politicians, scientists, and doctors about how to best navigate this idea, as concern for the overall health and safety of students is a looming priority.
One voice that seems to be overlooked, however, is that of the teacher.
I was watching a Ted Talk that discussed the emotional well-being of teachers. As a former teacher, I can attest to the lack of emotional support many teachers feel as they juggle the emotions of their students, their own families, and themselves. While many are concerned about the convenience and safety of students, I also wonder about the concern for that of the teachers.
While many schools are leaving the option for students to participate virtually, the inevitable result of having that option is leaving teachers without one. As long as students are in the classroom, there must also be a teacher. This clearly leaves mixed emotions, as teachers are left dealing with the internal dilemma of doing what they love while potentially risking the lives of their own families. I would argue that teachers are the unidentified essential workers.
As the school year begins, I would encourage parents to put themselves in the shoes of their child’s teacher.
As you consider how the pandemic will impact your child’s school year, also think about how it’s impacting their teacher’s. Be intentional in your interactions and recognize that this is a challenge for them as well. Simple acknowledgement and encouragement can go a long way and can help your child’s teacher understand that you empathize with and appreciate their role.
It’s not an easy job, and it can often be overlooked, but let’s not forget that those that support us need support as well.
Written by: Salima Hart