May 3 through the 7 the whole nation celebrates National Teacher Appreciation Week. This year, more than any other year, teachers deserve a grand celebration, a celebration of honoring the strength, resilience, creativity, and initiative of anyone who works for our schools. Teachers in the Roseburg School District deserve a celebration complete with balloons of thanks and hugs all around!
The last 18 months have been troublesome for everyone, no matter their station, and while not minimizing the challenges anyone else has faced with COVID-19, teachers have been in the trenches of negative public concern, and yet have met the challenges with an intrepid spirit. This is their week for us to express our appreciation. It is also a time to celebrate how Roseburg Public School teachers have navigated the crisis with teamwork and dignity.
The cadence of change has been overwhelming for teachers. One only has to read the news regarding schools across the country and their battles with false starts, union conflict, lengthy quarantines, remote learning, teacher dissatisfaction, and adverse public response. In some districts the battles have been scarring. Our district faced some of the same scuffles on a smaller scale, but our teachers confronted those battles with a tough benevolence, and their thoughtfulness and charity contributed to a continued focus on their students and their teaching.
Our teachers were quickly introduced to an industrial strength level of change with Zoom, Google Classroom, Canvas, exploding email boxes, and a renewal of classic workplace tools. These tools, in a normal year, were meant to make the workplace an easier place to be, but in an abnormal year those tools became the exact opposite of how they were intended, and our teachers have faced exhaustion and fatigue. The tools, without relationships with students, made the changes even more exhausting. Yet, teachers have learned at a rapid pace so their students could progress and learn without too much interruption. Our teachers met the challenges, but it has been tough.
There is no doubt our educational workforce became a partnership with parents who stayed at home with their children during remote learning. Parents became teachers; they deserve a thanks as well. But this workforce, the teachers, staff, parents, and administrators are all exhausted, chronically exhausted by a constant state of change; not an “I need a vacation” exhaustion, but a “constant state of tiredness” exhaustion.
If we have learned anything at all from our COVID-19 experience, we have learned that people are not just our greatest asset, but also our greatest responsibility and our future. Teachers are those people this week, the ones who deserve to be honored, celebrated, and supremely recognized by everyone in our community.
Perhaps a celebration of their accomplishments this past year will lessen their exhaustion for just a brief moment and will let them know we appreciate their perseverance and commitment to our children. This week, thank a teacher.