Teachers Are People, Too

I mean, y’all been seeing the news, right? Right. And if you have any friends who are teachers, I’m certain that you’ve heard a bit about the horrors we encounter daily–I said “a bit” because like soldiers fresh of a tour from Afghanistan, we reserve the worst stories for each other, those who have been in the field and seen the carnage first hand. It is wayyyy worse that you can imagine. And when y’all say, “Oh my Gawd! I could never be a teacher!”, we nod in agreement because…you’re right. You could never. Heck, a nice chunk of folks we work with shoulda never. So we know you def would be da worst at it. We see lottsa yous daily.

Said all that to say this: teaching is hard work. Hard, thankless work. From preschool to grad school, we getting hit with licks that the average human could not stand passed the first. Kids attacking you. Parents not showing up or supporting you. Administrators treating you with contempt. District offices doing the dumbest of ish. States pulling funding. Federal government actively dismantling education. Private programs selling y’all snake oil. Corporations making bank off selling hot garbage as salvation under the name of “researched based” curriculum.

And there on the ground, we gotta work two jobs. We gotta buy your kids supplies cuz you thought that pack of notebook paper would last for ten months. We gotta use Obamacare for health insurance because we wouldn’t take home a check if we bought the district’s insurance coverage. We taking work home every night. We putting your kids before ours.

We oughta quit and work at Target.

But we don’t, even as we threaten to do so. Because we actually believe that children are the future worth investing blood sweat and tears into. No matter how crappy the teacher, every last one of us believes that if we could just open John’s and KeJuan’s eyes a little bit wider to the possibilities within them, the world will be better.

So we sweat. We bleed. We cry.

But.

But.

But.

We are people, too. We hurt, too. We suffer, too. We pay bills, too. We have family problems, too. We have sickness and death in our families, too. We have to raise our kids, too. We have lives, too.

We are people who have dedicated our careers to other people.

And we deserve consideration, too.

So the next time your teacher calls you and says, “I need your support,” please don’t be an asshole. I promise you that 9.5 times outta 10? We have done alllllllll that we can do before calling. It’s called interventions, and none of them shits is working for your child. So we are asking you to intervene. On out behalf. For your child’s success. Cuz that’s why we keep taking all these Ls. For your child’s success. We love them individually, and every real teacher I know can give you the exact rundown of who your kid is and how they can be great. We study them. We learn them. We figure out what they believe, what makes them tick. I promise you.

This is not my usual flowing soliloquy, my usual poetic voice because this is so close to my heart, so I am damn near stuttering. But on behalf of teachers everywhere: WE ARE PEOPLE TOO AND WE NEED YOU TO STOP TREATING US LIKE INCONVENIENCES. Fam. We hold your children’s lives in our hands. We trying to make it better. How are y’all jumping on teachers for Fs that could have been avoided? For enforcing expectations about cell phones and homework and achievement? For not listening to us when we are telling you what is going down with your children?

I’ve taught in four districts at 7 schools and I’ve only met two teachers who lied on a kid for whatever reason. Two. Out of hundreds. The rest of us NOT LYING ON YOUR CHILDREN. You need to listen. Be reasonable. Support us.

Cuz inniminnit? The free, decreasingly equitable education you take for granted finna be gone. Then what will you do?Right now, teachers are dropping like flies in an unexpected freeze. We are the most unsupported group of workers to ever have worked a work even though we literally shape your future. Y’all crazy if you don’t recognize how much worse life will be when education becomes a privilege for the wealthy class again instead of a right.Folks is getting tired. Frustrated. Sick. Y’all think that taking your kids to a “good district” is gonna solve the problem. But guess what? Issa “good district” cuz your child is not there and you not there and they not finna deal with the likes. And if you go and take Rashon and Tillery with you and a whole bunch of y’all go there: It won’t be a “good district” anymore. Wherever you go, there you are.

Anyway. I’m done. We are people, too. We just trying to do good, do our job, and live our lives. And Target is looking real good right now.

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