25 Apr Op-Ed: Teachers Aren’t Widgets That Can Just Be Replaced
May 7 marks the annual celebration of National Teacher Appreciation Day in the United States. Approximately 3.5 million teachers will be applauded by their communities for the hard work they do and the sacrifices they make each and every day. Staff lounges will be stocked with sweets, treats, and lunch goods. Tokens will be shared, cards written, and banners hung. Teachers will be thanked for the countless hours they labor in classrooms, planning, grading, and doing whatever it takes to make sure that each and every one of their students has what they need in order to succeed.
Sadly, we teachers face seemingly insurmountable odds in helping our students succeed, and much of the struggle does not come from outside influences; it comes from the system that teachers operate within.
If May 7 marks the sixth time you will have celebrated Teacher Appreciation Day, then you’ve fared better than 50 percent of the teachers who started the same year you did. More than likely, the job you were trained for is not the one you entered. And most likely of all, you haven’t received the type of meaningful, targeted professional development that you know you need in order to grow and succeed as a professional.
May 7, today, and every day, teachers should be celebrated, not for what they do, but for the challenges they face on a daily basis.
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