Teachers deserve better

Published 3:12 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2022

To the Editor:

I keep wondering what we are going to do when the teachers quit. I expect many will avoid abandoning us in a crisis, and after that crisis is over, I would be unsurprised if they left in droves. During the 15 years I taught dual enrollment for a local college in a Virginia public school system at the beginning of this century, I saw an increasing number of “raising children to adulthood” tasks turned over to teachers and schools. I remember talking to an assistant principal, saying, “Administrators take advantage of teachers wanting to do well by their students.” She said simply, “Yes.”

We have abused teachers for far too long, first by making them “pick up the slack,” as the people doing a significant portion of the rearing of our children were educators. I remember a parent who was furious with me because “I had failed to detect” an eating disorder from a project paper and the student’s in-class presence. I remember thinking, “You live with her.”

After we have increasingly added to our expectations of teachers and schools, we have decided to target them, now for how they did the job we turned over to them. My last two years of teaching in public schools, I became enormously saddened as it became clear that some parents failed to trust me to do my stated job of helping students prepare for college while mastering college level material. That lack of trust undermines the education of our young. It is impossible for teachers to teach to every parent’s specifications. It would be helpful to identify an approach regarding useful skills and information necessary for the successful transition to adulthood. Perhaps a randomly selected group of Isle of Wight Parents. In the meantime, I say, “Treat our teachers better.”

I wonder what it would be like if one half of all teaching positions in the public schools were vacant. I’m thinking even the National Guard, as some states are using to fill teacher vacancies, would be hard pressed to handle things.

Jo Weaver