I was one of those kids who always loved school. I enjoyed my classes, and my teachers expanded my world. I was lucky to have great teachers (and librarians, too!) for most of my education. But it wasn’t until I became a teacher that I truly understood all that they do. Some parents and caregivers may have had a glimpse while trying to help their students in online class during the pandemic. Teaching is an art.
Teaching is a complex set of skills and abilities. A good teacher will make every student feel safe and welcome. A good teacher knows all her (or his) students, their strengths and weaknesses, their interests, and how to best reach them emotionally so they will be ready to learn. A good teacher knows the subject and how to present it in a way that will help students learn. Now imagine doing that when you have 30 (or more) students in your classroom all day for every academic subject. Or doing that when you have five or six classes of 30 students each, with a few subjects to prepare each day.
That said, teaching is also a profession. Many teachers have a master’s degree and have spent years learning how to best teach their subject(s) and how to help students grow into healthy adults. They are a vital part of our society. Let’s treat teachers with respect.
If you have kids in school, help them write a note thanking their teachers. I can tell you from experience that note will be cherished for years.
If you want to help teachers, encourage your school district and your state or province to pay teachers appropriately and make sure that they receive decent pensions and retirement benefits. If we do these things, we will show we truly appreciate them, and we’ll be able to recruit and retain quality teachers. That’s the best way to ensure a bright future for all of us.