Our Schools, Our Future
To say this year has been a difficult one is an understatement. We have been on a roller coaster ride and cannot seem to get off. People lost loved ones, some became gravely ill, businesses closed, suicide and abuse rates went up. All around devastation. Each and every one of us has tried to make the best of different situations. New hobbies, art creation, trades, new business, sourdough bread 🙂 We are all restoring to using our survival skills as humans and are conditioned to do so.
This time has shown us that we can be there for each other. We saw people helping elderly neighbors with groceries and errands, communities feeding the needy, and then we have the issue of schools.
Public schools who don’t get a lot of funding, still continue to feed kids every day. Social workers are still visiting kids and following up on their wellbeing. Teachers do everything they can to ensure kids are still learning, checked on, and seen.
When you choose to become a teacher, you know it is a calling, not a job. Because let’s be honest, jobs pay bills. Teacher salaries sometimes do not even cover all that.
Schools have been faced with so many different issues over the years. The biggest issue has always been safety. We have witnessed schools being a target for terror and murders. School shootings became such a normal thing that this country got desensitized to it. Teachers and staff walk into school buildings daily and never think of that possibility. We go in, put on a big smile, and start creating, loving, and inspiring.
Until now, we have become accustomed to getting sick every season. School buildings are not the cleanest. Kids start getting sick, and viruses spread like wildfires. Yet we continue to spray, wipe, disinfect, and buy air purifiers, in addition to all the other school supplies that are not included in our school budgets. And yet teachers make it happen because they are trying their best to create a safe and engaging environment for our kids.
This year when quarantine started, many people realized how big of an impact schools and teachers had on our society. Kids were home, bored, acting up, parents were going crazy. We have seen funny videos of parents thanking the teachers, apologetic video’s or even video’s blaming teachers for their kids’ shortcomings.
It was hard to keep kids from giving up. It was so hard to transition from seeing them every day in person to emails and video calls. Still, we showed up every day, armed with online tools, trying to keep life as normal as possible, and focusing on what they are learning, despite the consequences. I understand this being an adjustment for all. I also understand the need to respect us as professionals, caretakers, and messengers to future generations.
Something different happened this year. The nation is stressed, kids are not ok, parents are losing it. Suddenly, we are told it is safe to go back to school and be around people we don’t live with, not necessarily after everyone is vaccinated with both doses of the vaccine.
As per usual, schools are the solution, yet this important part of the solution is not given priority when it comes to safety. We love our kids and miss them so much. We want to be back with them every day, but it needs to be safe for all of us. The need for normalcy is understandable, but we cannot forget the huge risks that this brings on all of us.
Let’s vaccinate our teachers. Put more money into making our campuses safe, not just from viruses, but from dangerous people trying to harm our children. Let’s invest more in mental health programs and staff in schools and everywhere in this country. If we want the country to get back on its feet, it all starts in schools.