I have found that it is very easy for administrators, candidates for public office, and elected officials to say “I appreciate teachers”, but when it comes to backing up those words with actions, it is rare for true appreciation to come through. It’s as if saying “I appreciate teachers” has become a socially contrived sound bite rather than an actual statement of intended action. So I would like to offer up this list of actions that can be taken to truly show appreciation for our teachers and the important work they do each day.
1. School Boards, Representatives, and Senators can stop relying solely on the input of administrators when making decisions and instead seek the additional input of teachers before making major decisions about the education of our children. And this does NOT mean seeking the input of teachers who are put forward by administration. Let teachers put forward those they feel will best represent their collective voices.
2. Take actions that back up your statements about teachers being the experts. That includes hiring social workers, paraprofessionals, and interventionists to work with kids rather than continuing to add district administrators, learning coaches, and curriculum coordinators, to look over our work. The problem isn’t that we don’t know how to teach math. The problem is that until the physical and emotional needs of our students and their classmates are met, we can’t teach math to the best of their abilities. We don’t need more adults in our lives – our students need more adults in theirs.
3. Don’t say you support teachers and then take votes that say the opposite. Voting to increase our workload, decrease our pay, devalue our licensing, and take funding away from our public schools are not actions one takes if you support teachers.
Your actions speak louder than your words.