Instead of acknowledging that teaching is a demanding profession, critics often focus on the supposedly shortened workday of teachers. Still others claim, “Yes, teachers are busy, but at least they get a planning period each day to help get things done.”
A typical teacher is so involved with the day’s activities that usually there is no time to stop and plan. Those minutes that are supposed to be devoted to planning are often filled with endless amounts of paperwork, meetings, interruptions, schedule changes, extra assigned duties, phone calls, conferences, gathering missed work for absent students, completing forms, submitting required data and on and on.
Maybe they call it a planning period, because there’s no time left for planning — period! Most teachers leave the building long after students’ dismissal time and usually with plenty of paperwork and tests to correct.
Some parents have a notion they can drop off their child at the schoolhouse door and behold, 12 years later, they will pick up a perfect specimen of a human being — well-rounded, academically proficient, emotionally sound, physically fit and ready to meet the next phase of life.
But teachers cannot do it alone. A sound, safe and secure home life is essential. An effort on a parent’s part to prepare a child for school is vital. And parental involvement that results in a partnership in the child’s development is necessary. When that doesn’t occur, it’s easy to scapegoat the classroom teacher.
Instead of bashing our teachers, we should be conveying recognition, accolades, tributes and positive acknowledgments. Teachers deserve a sincere thank-you for the tremendous benefits they provide. And that’s why my all-time favorite bumper sticker offers a profound and important declaration: “If you can read this … thank a teacher!”
There are thousands of success stories waiting to be told in our schools, and there’s a need to proclaim those successes proudly and boldly. Teachers should stand tall and be proud of their chosen profession. Critics should not judge them unfairly. Together, let’s become teacher advocates and show admiration for the inspiring and important life-changing work they do.
After all, teachers make all other professions possible.