Lately, there has been talk of education in a place where few teachers exist: politics. This post isn’t about Mrs. Betsy DeVos (don’t worry, she repulses me as well). Instead, my message comes from the heart.
This is what it means to pour yourself into a profession that is only valued by those on the inside.
Afternoons are a bit of a blitz in my home. Preschool pick-up is followed by a hurried lunch, which means naptime is on the horizon. When I finally settle my son into the top bunk with a song and story, I tiptoe across our living room to a quiet corner.
And, for the first and only time all day, I sit by myself and think.
I would love to tell you that I plan my family’s meals – that I organize adorable scrapbooks for my children. But that would be a lie.
My mind considers the student who recently confessed her devastating family secrets in my office, the young man who continues to grieve for the father time stole, and the reclusive student on the verge of dropping out.
And this very moment is what the public and politicians get all wrong: We teachers invest ourselves into our students.
Sometimes this means baking cookies late into the night to celebrate a class accomplishment (or, even more simply, a student’s birthday).
Sometimes this means spending the last dollars in our bank account because the amazing lesson plan we designed must go on.
I no longer teach in the K-12 system, but I do have high school students in my courses. They are so tired of being pawns. So we focus on creativity and channeling our strong emotions into writing.
But is it enough? Is it fair what we’ve done to the next generation? And will it continue?
I may be a teacher, but I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t have the solution to the great DeVos tragedy. The nation has now become our classroom. We must collaborate. We must persevere.
And, for the love of God, we must take care of the ones who teach us all.