Teachers are not babysitters. We hear you now more than ever. The past seven months taught us how essential teachers are. We want you to know you are so much more than babysitters. We want you to know we aren’t educators, either.
We are sorry you feel as if we do not support you during this time. We are writing you today to tell you we support you, we value you, and we will work with you to do what’s best for our children. We choose safety, science, and sensible risk calculations. We know the risks of keeping our children online only far exceed the risks of COVID 19, especially for our youngest and most vulnerable students. We know teaching online is difficult, especially when many of you are teaching your own children, creating new content, learning new technology, and adapting to a major change in your profession. We know in-person learning not only benefits our children but teachers as well.
We are not just parents either. We are nurses, doctors, grocery store workers, small business owners, professors, researchers, and scientists. We are the frontline workers who worked extra hours, outside of the comfort of our homes during the peak of the pandemic. We saved lives while risking our own, we fed our community, we shifted our focus to finding a cure, all while adapting to our new role as teachers with our children home. Please help us. We are not teachers.
We know you do not feel valued. We know you need more funding. We hear you say the 1 Billion Dollar Bond we approved last year is not enough. We wish the money reflected our appreciation of all you do. We wish we could take a portion of the 1 billion dollars from our brick and mortar buildings to build your trust, your value, your security. We know it still wouldn’t be enough.
We know there is no price we could put on your job. Our children are priceless too. They are more than per-pupil amounts, numbers on a count day list. They are individuals. They are our future. They need an accessible and appropriate education. They need to be educated by caring professionals; not their parents. Our children are not negotiable, to be exchanged for votes or political movements, legislation, or our personal comfort and ability to do our jobs.
We ask you to reflect on the reasons you chose this profession. We know in your hearts it was for our children. We know their hearts are breaking. We know we share the goal of doing what is best for our children. We ask you to work with us in achieving that goal. Our children are suffering. They miss their friends, your presence has been replaced by the blue light of a screen, your voices breaking up, muting, un-muting, in the quiet isolation of bedrooms, home offices, and kitchen tables across the city, in daycares, childcare centers, and in other local schools. You haven’t been forgotten. They miss you. We do too.
We ask you how we can help you return to school safely? We ask you to slowly “turn the dial” Dr. Swift has referenced. We ask you to tell us what you need to feel safe, valued, and appreciated. Because we get it, you are not babysitters; you are so much more.
We are not teachers either. We are not just parents. And we need your help to get through this pandemic A2together.