By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, Ed.D.
HOUSTON-Brad Henry stated, “A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love for learning.”
Teacher Appreciation week is from May 2nd through May 6th. If you see a teacher, tell them they are appreciated! Teaching is and always has been a noble profession, but it is not easy being a teacher. Teachers have a very important job, which is to educate our youth. They deal with so much daily and yet, they are still underpaid. However, they still show up to work and do their part to educate our future.
There are many challenges that teachers face when it comes to teaching, and when the pandemic began, this only added a lot of stress on teachers as they had to quickly shift their modality of teaching from in person to online, with little to no time to prepare. Eric McClellan, who is a communications teacher at MacArthur High School mentioned that one challenge has been the “gift and curse of technology.” Regarding the pandemic specifically, “The pandemic has shown that many of us as educators weren’t familiar or quite ready to modify or adapt our methods of teaching in a fully online technological capacity. It was a true wake up call for everyone.”
Another challenge mentioned regarding technology pertains to the students’ ability to focus on their schoolwork. “While technology is beneficial to have regarding learning, we often get to experience the distraction it can create when it comes to student focus.”
While these are only a couple of challenges, teachers face so many other ones such as dealing with student behavioral issues, lack of parental involvement or trying to handle disgruntled parents, stress and anxiety from standardized testing, lack of recognition, and the list continues.
As many teachers continue to leave the profession, this exit has caused a national shortage of teachers. School districts are now tasked with coming up with different ideas, measures, and funds to not only recruit teachers, but to retain them as well.
When it comes to appreciation, McClellan believes that teachers are appreciated to a certain extent. “Going back to our societal changes over the past two years, it allowed parents and others who may not be familiar with what really goes on in education, to get a look inside of the many hats that teachers must wear, such as learning facilitators, counselors, and IT specialists just to name a few.”
For new teachers who are entering the field, they are entering at a point where education is continuously evolving, and there are still many challenges that teachers are dealing with as we are still in this pandemic. The advice that McClellan has for veteran and new teachers is to “adopt a bend, don’t break mentality.” This phrase means to be “flexible and understand that things are going to happen at times that we don’t have control over. If we can adjust ourselves professionally and personally, we can make sure that we will be in this game of education or better yet, this game of life for the long run without breaking ourselves physically, mentally, or emotionally”.