I love that I can tell the stories for teachers who can’t for whatever reason. It is empowering for them, just seeing their stories out there. For me, it’s empowering as well, knowing my blog is being used for good and not evil!
Anyway, I had a teacher from Twitter share her start of the year experience, which I’m guessing isn’t too much different from many of us. She’s from Iowa, so, like myself and Iowa educators, got the rug jerked out from under her by out governor.
In Iowa, we must have a 15% infection rate to ASK PERMISSION to go fully online. CDC and WHO infection rates are must lower. The online portion can only last two weeks and at least 50% of core classes must be done face to face. I won’t run down our great state, but our governor’s approval rating is the lowest in the country.
So as she approaches the beginning of the school year, she’s told her district will be going face to face. She asked about dress code and if that were relaxed. Many teacher have taken to social media in thanks to their district for taking the “dress code” and chucking it. Teacher can wear jeans, leggings, and my favorite: scrubs!
She was told in no uncertain terms that “we will dress professionally because that what is right.” Their district can wear jeans on Friday.
The dress doesn’t make the professional. This is my 26th year of teaching (I’m old), and I’ve seen over and over immature, rude people dress up every day and true professionals dress in a way that is comfortable. The dress doesn’t make the professional, that’s something that comes from the inside, not the clothing.
And finally, yesterday, they got an email reminding them of all the school expectations for teachers and the PD they were to do.
I floored that these things are even talked about. We should be thinking outside the box, not treating this as a just a regular year. Regular rules? Regular dress? Regular curriculum? They all should be rethought because this ISN’T a regular year. Can we go back if there is a vaccine? Of course. Should we? Depends on what we can do.
Her point, morale sucks. Again, not much different around the country. Teachers are feeling beat up, put upon, and demonized for feeling nervous about going back. And in our schools, we are told it’s pretty much normal. We are told to slap on the happy face because “your students need you.” And I agree, out students need us. Here’s my question, what about all the same stuff teachers have been going through: does that count? Parenting in a pandemic, teaching, trying to care for elderly parents, not seeing people, not doing anything, that’s all extracted a toil. And has one critical question been asked to teachers: How can I help? As districts come back online, administrators have to read the room and give in tiny ways. If you can do tbat, it makes us feel like we are all in this together.
I wish my friend and all my educator friends well. We are in crazy times where school boards meet remotely to tell us our students won’t wear masks, where science is mocked, and where being a bully is not a bad thing. But, trying to find that rose in the manure, we keep trying, innovating, and supporting the wine industry because what else is there?