Thursday, October 15, 2020

Ding Ding Ding


I was disappointed this morning to see that the Columbia Flier/Howard County Times did not see fit to publish Oakland Mills resident Jonathan Edelson’s letter to the editor on skewed coverage of local neighborhoods. The issues he raised are valid and the letter is worthy of a wider audience. Not if you’re the HoCo Times, I guess. 

I am beyond disappointed with people who continue to spread misinformation about teachers and the reopening of schools. Teachers would much rather be in schools than creating and sustaining distance learning programs. They’d rather be connecting with students in real life rather than through a screen. But they also want the appropriate safety protocols put in place. Those protocols would protect not only teachers, but also their families, and students, and students’ families, and staff, and...

Get the picture?

In order to reopen schools safely we need a workable plan. And enacting that plan will take money. It will take significant investment to support air filtration, sanitizing supplies, PPE, and so on. Where will that money come from? Wishing will not make it so.  

Teachers are working with the school system to make sure that when we open we get it right. If it surprises  you that people who plan, educate, and communicate for a living are persistent about making things as safe as possible for everyone, then you really do not understand teaching.

Those who think they “deserve their money back” really ought to be focusing their complaints on the folks in Washington who have handled the pandemic so poorly. And those who think teachers “deserve a pay cut” for not conveniencing them by entering school buildings ought to take a hard look at our teachers who are working many more hours to sustain distance learning. 

The truth is that some people want teachers to be so low in the grand scheme of things that they have no say over their livelihoods. To them teachers are like hairdressers or restaurant workers who one can summon back into the workplace to meet the desires of the privileged. It’s actually a failing of our culture that we treat service workers with so little respect.

And it’s also why they are getting sick and dying more. They have no choice. We ought to be fighting to improve their circumstances, not trying to spread their powerlessness to others.

Many, though not all, of the parents who are so enraged that our teachers have some small measure of autonomy are affluent enough to have plenty of that autonomy for themselves. They may be able to work from home, or they and their spouses may have professional flexibility to trade off childcare responsibilities during the pandemic. But woe be unto teachers for rising to a similar level. Surely that is not “their place.”

Is it okay to be angry, frustrated, sad, or disappointed at the current state of affairs? Absolutely. But direct those feelings towards the true problem: a dangerous illness that has stopped the world in its tracks. We can all commiserate and yet still work together to make it through somehow. Drawing a big fat bullseye on teachers and the union that represents them is nothing more than the act of the boorish customer who bangs repeatedly on the service bell when they can plainly see that all personnel are already occupied.

“Me, me, me!” the bell keeps dinging. 

It produces no positive results.  But it continues to demoralize our teachers - - overworked and stressed-to-the-breaking-point - - who want nothing more than to lift up and connect with their students in the safest way possible. I believe Howard County has many of the best teachers in the state. What happens when the daily onslaught from angry parents becomes too much? What happens when good people burn out and give up?

In the next year we could witness a lot of that. I don’t think our community understands what a loss to our school system that would be. Those folks banging the service bell may very well be killing the goose that laid the golden egg. 

If you want all those benefits from those “Great Howard County Schools” then you probably shouldn’t be out there on social media every day, virtually vivisecting our great Howard County teachers.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.