Letter to the editor: Teachers work hard

Posted 8/6/20

 

Say what you will about the decision to open schools or not — I know it’s a choice that’s fraught on either side with unfortunate compromises - but I find it laughable to …

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Letter to the editor: Teachers work hard

Posted
 
Say what you will about the decision to open schools or not — I know it’s a choice that’s fraught on either side with unfortunate compromises - but I find it laughable to characterize teachers as lazy. In a letter published here on July 30 under the title “Teachers union shows it true colors,” a reader implied that the reason teachers unions are pushing back against reopening schools is that teachers just don’t want to work: “…they’d like teachers to be able to sit at home and draw full pay this fall. No surprise”, wrote the letter writer, as if it’s a well known fact that teachers want to do as little work as possible. 
Having left teaching in pursuit of greater work-life balance, I can confidently say that teachers work hard. Too hard. Calling parents during lunch, grading before bed, buying supplies at 6 a.m. on the way in to work, frequent meetings with administrators, coaches, special ed teachers and students, setting up labs, cleaning up messes, extracurriculars, professional development, performance reviews, and on, and on, and on. “But you get three months off!” goes the refrain from those who have never taught. That’s true, and while it’s nice, it doesn’t make up for 60 hour work weeks and enough stress to kill a horse. 
A single teacher has the power to impact more people more profoundly than any other profession you can qualify for with just a Bachelor’s degree (although most of us have a Master’s). Teachers see hundreds of kids every day, and, for the most part, they work an unhealthy amount because they believe in their mission. But that doesn’t mean they should have to risk ending up on a ventilator, and perhaps never getting off it. 
Those same hundreds of kids on behalf of whom my teacher friends will lose sleep and weekends, those kids will forget masks, never bring one, refuse to put one on, or wear it incorrectly, and, sitting in closed classrooms for 90-minute blocks, they will infect each other and their teachers. There’s no way around it. If schools open in the fall, kids will get sick, and their older, overworked teachers will too.
Bill Weisberger,
Arvada

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