I can’t count the number of times I have been told that someone could never imagine being a teachers these days. They say if they were just starting teaching today they’d never last 30 years. They say that teaching these days isn’t what it used to be.
People who say this do it with good intentions. They are teachers, parents, and friends alike. They see it as a way of showing empathy. They use it as a cautionary tale. They say it because they don’t know what else to say.
Some days their words ring true.
And yet, other days I know I am teaching during a special point in history. If we’re lucky, it’s a turning point in history. This past year we have seen activists fight for what they believe in. The very students who were shot at in hallways are marching in Washington. The teachers with bursting classrooms and hardly livable wages are marching in Oklahoma City. The worst districts in the country are saying being 50th is no longer acceptable and walking out.
We are demanding change.
I am on the edge of history just trying to do my part. I marched at the capital demanding sensible gun laws and that arming teachers like me with anything less than time, respect, and resources is foolish. I’ve written to my representatives relaying my beliefs about teaching in a school shooting world. I go to work each and every day doing my best to better students’ lives and prepare them to enter this sometimes scary but inevitable world.
The next time you see a teacher, you don’t need to tell her how hard her job is. Instead, tell her, thank you. Instead, ask her, to share a favorite success story (we have plenty). Instead, ask, what we wish the public knew.
Teachers and students of today, you inspire me. Keep fighting the good fight.