There are not enough words to communicate the frustration teachers are feeling. America is still in the middle of a pandemic and it does not seem to be an end in sight. Across the nation, there is debate about whether schools should open for in-person learning. Here in Georgia, a school district moved too quickly to open for in-person learning and ended up having to quarantine students and teachers after multiple students and teachers tested positive for COVID-19.
Teachers have yelled from the top of their lungs against the return to in-person learning. In Gwinnett County, Georgia’s largest school district, teachers protested the school board’s plan to phase students back in beginning August 25th. For context, as of early August, Gwinnett County’s positive COVID cases accounted for about 22% of Georgia’s overall cases. Teachers have every right to be concerned.
There are now talks of teachers being considered essential workers. According to the AJC, the majority of Georgia superintendents believe that teachers should be considered essential, “fearing that the rules requiring them to stay at home for 14 days if exposed to the virus will quickly deplete their ranks and force the closure of schools.”
Okay. Whose voices are missing in these decisions?
Besides the students, teachers are the most critical factor in the success of a school. If there are no teachers, there is no school. If there are no healthy teachers, there is no school. The fact that teachers’ voices are constantly being ignored even in the midst of a pandemic is completely unacceptable. The leader of our country, though his own son will be attending school online, continues to call for schools to open. The constant silencing of the concerns teachers have about their own well-being is overpowered by politics and in the name of the economy.
If there are no healthy teachers, there is no school. Click To Tweet
Teachers are expected to sacrifice their mental and emotional health. They’re expected to meet the needs of their school districts over the needs of their own families. They’re expected to comply with virtual and/or in-person learning. They’re expected to have a positive attitude. They’re expected to enforce the rules of mask-wearing and social distancing. They’re expected to continue to give assessments and monitor instruction. They’re expected to enforce student dress codes and ensure students have their cameras on for virtual learning.
How much more are teachers expected to give?
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