Teacher Appreciation Is A Must During The Time of Covid-19
Teacher Appreciation Week 2020 arrives as schools are closed for more than 55 million children, and Governors in more than 40 states have ordered schools shuttered for the remainder of the academic year. Given that nearly a third of all public school teachers are 50 or older, and 37% of private school teachers, 29% of traditional public school teachers and 21% of public charter school teachers are 50 or older, this puts teachers at increased risk of severe COVID-19 and complicates timelines for reopening schools even next year.
Teachers Are In Trouble
Thankfully, as long as teachers are still working, teaching via distance learning over digital devices, and therefore they’re still being paid. That will change though. Layoffs due to budget cuts during the pandemic are inevitable. There will be massive turnover as many teachers who leave or retire will not have their positions refilled.
In fact, The Council of Great City Schools has alerted Congress that without trillions more in a new stimulus package targeting schools at the district level, 270,000 teachers nationwide could lose their jobs. It doesn’t have to be that way though if we listen to teachers and are innovative. The pandemic has forced consideration of no longer realistically orienting teachers’ duties and expectations in terms of a seven-and-a half hour day-or six periods and one prep.
Teacher Appreciation Personnified
So how can parents, administrators, and the community at large show teachers appreciation in our new pandemic reality? We can begin by making sure students are accounted for and have Internet access at home. That would alleviate the overwhelming majority of the problem and requires involvement of all stakeholders (parents, school, community) in the student’s success.
Finally, when we reemerge stronger in a post pandemic world, remember how teachers went above what they were trained to do, throwing themselves not only into online teaching with virtually no preparation but also into other impromptu roles like tech support and social worker. Let’s compensate them like the capable professionals with an important responsibility that they are.