Teachers, take heart!

What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving holiday? A lot of things, but specifically . . .

. . . TEACHERS.

My teachers, my kids’ teachers, my friends who are teachers. Where would we be without them?

Why do I feel the need to call it out right now? Because from what I can tell, a lot of K-12 teachers are feeling discouraged and disrespected. They’re facing some specific challenges that a lot of people aren’t aware of, such as increased job insecurity, overly controlling administrations, age discrimination, and increased pressure to “teach to the test.”

And why do I think that? Because the vast majority of parents like their children’s teachers. The Seattle School District recently surveyed parents and community members, and a whopping 91% of parents felt “very favorable” or “favorable” about teachers. Here’s the bar graph.

This is an overwhelming supermajority of support. It means that whenever teachers are under attack, parents are potential allies. I say “potential” because it doesn’t always work that way. If parents don’t know about the challenges teachers are facing, they’ll stay on the sidelines. And if they can be convinced that the needs of teachers are in conflict with the needs of children, they’ll take the side of whoever claims to represent children.

But when teachers reach out to parents and tell their side of the story, it makes a huge difference. And when teachers ask for help we come through. Tacoma is a case in point. Dring the Tacoma teacher’s strike, parents backed teachers on the picket line, “walking with them and bringing coffee and snacks.” Not only that, but parents got organized and formed a group to support public education, “Parents and Friends of Tacoma Public Schools.

So take heart, teachers. You have friends.

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