I really should for my own sanity quit reading the news, but since Google knows my interests: Covid, teaching, and Texas, I receive articles daily on things connected to these areas. So on the morning, I was faced with the headline Texas School Districts Risk State Funding If They Go Remote After Thanksgiving, it made my blood boil. Every other article states that Covid cases will possibly skyrocket after the holidays with families ignoring advice to not gather, not wear a mask, etc because they feel comfortable with the family. Telling schools this seems like they have the district over a barrel. In my mind, it’s a death sentence so to speak. In several places here in Texas, my hometown included, hospitals are at capacity and morgues have no room forcing the dead to be kept in a semi-truck trailer specially made for such things. It is so morbidly wrong.
Now, the latest headline indicates that the Texas Education Agency (TEA) changed their tune a bit with this headline – Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns. Hmm, did you look at how many teachers are not able to work due to this virus? Was that your wake up call? I know of a few districts where teachers would love to take off this time of year even for the proverbial “mental health day” but due to a shortage of substitute teachers, they are asked not to use their personal days. So, if I had not left the classroom this year, I could not have used my days to take care of my husband after emergency surgery or take care of my children who became new parents. I had more than enough days which I intended to take here and there before I retired in a few years. Instead, when I resigned, I lost every. single, day.
This all hurts my heart because dear friends are still in the classroom faced with this chaos. They deal with students who challenge the mask rules in each class period. They are struggling with overcapacity classrooms and spending their time producing video lessons for students who are actually learning from home. It is too much. They are physically, emotionally, and mentally worn out.
Maybe TEA read the latest headline about where Texas is in the number of cases. We are at number 2! I do not think we’ve ever dropped from the top of the list if my memory serves. I’m sure TEA read these headlines and discussed it all from the comfort of their homes as I imagine they are still working remotely while teachers are the sacrificial lambs. It will be interesting to see if some of these decisions among districts across the nation will change in about 50 days once we have leadership that gives a crap about our nation. Till then, I keep having this image of old school battle where armies would line up across a vast plain. The expendable foot soldiers standing at the front of the line while the “more important” members of the battalion are safely behind the lines. The obedient foot soldiers taking every blow and falling one by one all in service to the King.
Teachers are by nature called to serve in the name of duty. Shoot, my contract had that small print – other duties as assigned. Yet it is still my belief that something has to give, or we will lose some of the best teachers not just from the virus, but the other side effect – complete burnout. If this happens, the blood will be on TEA’s hands.
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