The quiet work...
Two things happened in the past week or so that have led me to today's post. Last week, our office (and the nation) found out that my Congressman had quietly introduced a bill in January that has the potential to work around the Republican threat to allow our country to hit the debt ceiling. As a former member of the Rules Committee, he helped hatch the plan and he was chosen to introduce it because he does his work quietly. He's not flashy or outspoken, so he often goes unnoticed by the national media. He speaks loudly when he sees injustice, but in general, he is happy to quietly work at helping his constituents and America. What many of us don't see is the quiet work that many of our representatives are doing to make this country a better place.
The other event was National Teacher Appreciation Week, a week where teachers are supposed to feel appreciated. Unfortunately, in our current political climate, just the opposite is happening. Teachers are being blamed for wanting to be safe during the pandemic and for the learning loss that occurred. They are being vilified for wanting to create a safe space for ALL students and for teaching lessons on issues that need to be discussed.
Despite all of this, teachers continue to do their amazing, quiet work. They assess student learning, they adjust their teaching to reach all students, they plan engaging lessons, they serve on district committees and they just keep going. Teachers have an incredible impact on students. In high school, I was not a fan of English classes. But my favorite class in high school was Novel, taught by the legendary Mr. Ken Tangen (Moorhead HS graduates- you know who I am talking about!). He made the pages of some of the most difficult novels come to live. He had a passion that filled his students with joy. He did the quiet work and I spent 30 years teaching because of his impact on me.
Our Education system is in crisis with teachers and support professionals leaving in record numbers. We can help stop the mass exodus by acknowledging the quiet work our teachers do. If you are a parent, thank your student's teachers often and teach your students to do the same. If you are a student, thank your teacher for the hard work they do for you. If you are a former student, reach out to a former teacher who had an impact on you. If you are a community member and/or business owner, find ways to thank the teachers. If you are an administrator, make sure your staff knows on a regular basis how much you appreciate them. Teacher appreciation should not need a special week, we need to appreciate our teachers now more than ever on a regular basis. Go and thank a teacher.