This is the time of year when “We appreciate you!” emails are starting to arrive along with discounts, freebies and flat video messages from individuals in the classroom. After all, it’s Teacher’s Thanksgiving Week.
Such offers of gratitude are a good start. But they are not enough. In fact, when I taught, I felt they were a little angry. I’m not getting a raise for resolving the issue. “the pay gap for teachers”But do I get free frozen yogurt? Does it really have to make me feel grateful?
I have since left the classroom, but the empty words and gestures that too often accompany this time to honor educators still bother me. So I’ve put together a list below to give those who want to celebrate teachers a clue on how to do it meaningfully.
Or put pressure on politicians to raise teachers’ salaries
You may remember that in the recent past there was a powerful one #RedforEd wave is gaining momentum – and attracts the attention of politicians. In response to the movement’s strikes and demands for higher wages and better school funding, several of the Democratic Party’s top candidates in the 2020 presidential election have outlined their plans to improve teachers’ pay. Senators Elizabeth WarrenBark Bookerand Bernie Sanders presented their proposals. Vice President Kamala Harris and President Joe Biden did too – and now they are able to do anything about it. So what happened? Where are these boosts we’ve heard so much about?
Today, s an unprecedented shortage of teachers, many districts have been forced to raise teachers ’salaries – albeit modestly – to try to retain their workforce and attract new talent. But during the 2020 election campaign, presidential candidates made bigger promises. They promised a broad increase in wages and much higher minimum wages. The current vice president has offered to raise an average of $ 13,500, and Sanders has offered $ 60,000 in starting salaries.
Three years later, when inflation is at its 40-year high, those of us working in education are still waiting for it, and teachers need it more than ever.
So if you want to show teachers that you value them, don’t let politicians drop the issue now that they’ve finished campaigning. Write and call your representatives and ask them about teacher remuneration plans. Let them know that you will use your vote to elect representatives who will receive well-deserved compensation for educators, not those who simply speak for themselves.
Don’t struggle with raising taxes to fund teacher fees
Most people in the US support teachers. Just don’t ask them to pay the bill. Poll before the pandemic from Associated Press-NORC Public Relations Research Center found that 78 percent of Americans believed teachers deserved more pay, but only 50 percent would be okay with raising taxes to fund the increase.
Much of the frustration over Teacher Thanksgiving Week has to do with people saying they value teachers, but few do it to prove it. This attitude towards teachers – more, but don’t ask me – is a perfect example. If you want educators to know that you really care, be prepared to show it by supporting fundraising initiatives. If you disagree with how promotions in your community will be funded, don’t simply oppose a pay raise; join in finding other ways to fund them! Attend school board meetings, select members who will manage the budget well, or run for council on your own.
Strengthen the voices of teachers and support their work
Unions have been declining in the U.S. over the past few decades, but teachers’ unions remain strong. In 2019 more than 60 percent of striking workers in the United States were educators.
These teacher strikes are valuable to society because they contribute to improving education through their demands to increase school funding, increase staffing and improve learning conditions. And they serve as a model for other sectors where collective bargaining works. Express gratitude to teachers, support their trade union initiatives. When they strike, empathize and publicly support their demands – and, of course, signal when you pass by the queues of pickets.
In addition to supporting the strike, support other teacher initiatives. It’s hard to imagine a police officer posting a GoFundMe page to raise money for weapons and batons, but for teachers, crowdsourcing funds for classroom materials is the norm. When you see such a campaign, like it, repost it and, most importantly, promote it. And then refer to the above-mentioned paragraph on the call of your elected representatives to seek change.
Involve teachers in decision-making processes
It’s hard to be a kid because a lot of the time you have to do what people tell you. “Go home before 7.” “Be in bed before 10.” “Read this book today.” “Study for this test tomorrow.” And the list goes on. Sometimes, however, being a teacher feels similar.
For many educators too often they have a long list of people (administrators, parents, politicians and curriculum developers) who tell them what to do and how to teach. “You can’t teach this book.” “You have to meet that standard on this day.” “Start teaching this new program this year.” “Stop teaching the program we introduced last year.” This is not a way to work, and many teachers feel they lack the freedom and independence in their classrooms.
To show teachers that you value them – and their experience – get rid of top-down decrees and involve teachers in the decision-making process if they will make choices that will affect them. Administrators can do this by asking teachers to test new programs they are considering, and edtech companies can involve teachers in the product development process.
У Zinc Training Laboratories, the edtech company I work for now, we have a teacher advisory board and regularly engage users of educational programs in (paid) feedback sessions. When administrators and developers receive input from teachers and support them, it not only makes teachers feel better; this increases the chances that any new initiative will be successful.
Don’t think about how easy it is to teach if you weren’t a teacher
Every time I hear the saying, “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,” I wonder if the teacher said it originally. Since almost every adult once went to school and had teachers, he often feels that he understands what it is like to be a teacher. They don’t.
Learning is one of those things like swimming, cycling, or raising children that I can describe to you, but you won’t fully understand until you actually do it. When I taught, and even today, I hear too often about how easy teachers are. “Summer is coming out! Made to 3! Work with fun, loving kids! What else can you ask for? ”
These enthusiasts who are not involved in teaching teachers are misinformed. Many teachers never take time off, and as documented in EdSurge reporter Emily Tate recent article, most have side concerts even during the school year. Kids are fun and loving, but creating a fun, loving, and well-run classroom requires skill, dedication, and sometimes even tears. During my first year of teaching, I often cried because managing multiple classes with more than 30 students with different academic and English levels was difficult and stunning.
If you witness good teaching, with interested students and clear lesson plans, it may seem simple, but it is not. Great teachers just have a way to make their job easy.
Offer tokens of gratitude
Throughout my career I have had many jobs, and none have been as rewarding as teaching. Every time I think about my time in class, my heart warms with memories of the growth and joy of my students. To be able to enjoy these positive feelings, I kept postcards and letters given to me by the children, in memory of their gratitude and new love for math, science and history.
Don’t stop give teachers these little gifts which make a lot of sense. Handmade postcards and drawings, heartfelt letters and specially staged holiday dances (yes, students did it for me for one year) are great. And gifts for parents in the form of home-made delicacies and gift baskets purchased in the store are also good – if they are backed by more weighty gifts mentioned in the items that can and cannot be done above.
Honor not only teachers this week
This may go without saying, but just because Teacher’s Thanksgiving Week lasts seven days a year doesn’t mean we should only express our gratitude at this time. Educators are shaping the next generation; what could be a more important job? Appreciate and support teachers year-round.