Dear Teachers,

When I was a student I didn’t appreciate teachers. I wasn’t a good student, I goofed off in class, tried to make my friends laugh, and generally didn’t take much of it as serious as I should of. I jokingly tell my kids now, “Pay attention and do well in school, otherwise, you’ll end up working as a radio DJ.”

Now, as an adult, having a wife who’s a dedicated teacher and reflecting on how hard my Mom worked as a teacher I have a whole new level of respect for what they do. Especially, in the way teachers, administrators, and school staffs have stepped up to meet the challenges of educating our kids in the face of a global pandemic.

I can't count the number of times I've come home late to find my wife asleep on the couch with schoolwork, graded papers, and lesson plans all around her.

During this unprecedented coronavirus pandemic, teachers have worked outside their comfort zone, both physically and mentally. Some actually risking their own health to not only teach our children but to also provide for their own families. 

The daunting task of figuring out how to teach remotely, how to keep students focused, and how to make learning fun in this “new normal” is something nobody really has the perfect plan for. Teachers are adapting their teaching styles in the blink of an eye and dealing with technological issues with a smile on their face….well, at least to the kids….the administrators and poor I.T. people might not be getting quite the same smile. There have been internet outages while trying to teach remotely and no matter how frustrated they are, they don't let it rattle them and stay positive for their students.

Teachers need to remember they are making history right now. This is something that’s never been tried before. No matter what form it comes in, remote learning, or in-person, you’re still teaching just like you were before...kinda. Some of the things students will learn probably aren’t in any teacher’s lesson plan or a textbook. Like, how to persevere in the face of difficulties, how to problem-solve when you can’t get your webcam to work, or how to focus and get your work done even if conditions aren’t perfect and your house is full of distractions. Think of all the flexible thinking that teachers are having to do with now. Challenges change day-to-day and being able to change with them is a huge skill. Teachers are passing along that idea of flexible thinking, thinking of a different way to do something that we’ve always done one way is an important life skill.

So, yes things are really different for teachers in this unprecedented time, it’s difficult, you’re exhausted and frustrated, but if you are a teacher who is blazing a new trail in this crazy time in education....thank you.

Oh, and to Mrs. Hudson, my 8th-grade geometry teacher,  sorry about all the spitballs I threw in your class. You were a really good teacher and I was a really big jerk.

Sincerely,

Steve King

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