Letter: Show our teachers we support and appreciate them

Posted 10/1/20

As our schools are reopening and teachers are welcoming students into their classrooms, virtually and in-person, let’s all take a minute and reflect. Is everything pleasing to us? Probably not, …

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Letter: Show our teachers we support and appreciate them

Posted

As our schools are reopening and teachers are welcoming students into their classrooms, virtually and in-person, let’s all take a minute and reflect. Is everything pleasing to us? Probably not, but there is no pleasing everyone during this unprecedented time.

Everyone will face some level of inconvenience; everyone will have to compromise. Our children’s school day will never look like it did prior to this historic pandemic. This year’s back-to-school transition, and the whole school year, will go much more smoothly if we can remember that we are allies, not enemies. 

This pandemic has revealed to the general public that schools today are so much more than places for learning. Schools must be safe places where students can have their physical, social-emotional and educational needs met. When and why this became the accepted order, and whether this is fair or sustainable, is an important conversation we will have to have in the not-too-distant future.

Right now, we can recognize that the district is doing an amazing job within circumstances they have no control over. They cannot make the physical classrooms bigger to fit every child under the current guidance for health and safety. They cannot pull teachers out of thin air to fill all the open positions. They cannot provide the same level of social-emotional support to our children through a computer screen. They cannot guarantee our children attending school in-person will not contract COVID-19.

As parents, this can be hard to process, but in order for our children to have a successful school year we have to get to a place in our heads where we are working together to make it happen. To start, we can try to put ourselves in the teacher’s shoes and be a little more understanding. Then maybe we can try to contribute to the impossible solution, instead of acting as judge and jury. 

Too much vitriol has been spreading throughout our community in recent weeks. Parents are complaining, criticizing and ranting at School Committee meetings and on social media. Constructive criticism is an effective tool we can all use to refine our school reopening plans, but rudeness and hostility are not helping anyone.

We all need to recognize that teachers, nurses, school administrators and staff have undertaken a monumental task. Before we cast stones, remember this — many teachers are parents, too. They are facing many of the same struggles we are facing. Be kind. Be flexible. Be appreciative. No one understands teaching better than teachers, and they know that the current conditions aren’t ideal for any student, from Kindergarten through 12th grade.

Yet, teachers will do everything they possibly can to make our children’s school day great! Let’s remember that teachers are not front-line medical workers. Let’s listen when they tell us they’re not actually getting all the support the governor says they are. Let’s quit complaining and instead, show our teachers we support and appreciate them. Thank you for doing all you do, BWRSD teachers!

Keri Larson 
Bristol

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