Perspective: Educators Are Essential

Apr 21, 2020

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one unexpected silver lining that I just have to share. Teachers are finally getting some of the love and respect that they so sincerely deserve from parents who now have that role – at least temporarily. Praise for educators is all over social media right now, and even celebrities and sports stars are acknowledging how challenging it is to teach and how appreciative they are for their children’s teachers.

Teachers of all levels – from preschool through college – have shifted their instruction online while also demonstrating their compassion and concern for their students. Teacher car parades are driving through neighborhoods with signs to remind children and families that their teachers care about and miss them. Teachers are calling students to show they care, and online class sessions are routinely beginning with “check-ins” to make sure everyone is OK.

Has the shift to at-home learning been perfect? Absolutely not, but educators across our state and nation made this move almost overnight. Daily they are showing their willingness to go above and beyond because they care about education but, more importantly, because they care about their students.

In this pandemic I am grateful for health care professionals, first responders, grocery and drug store workers, restaurant employees, and delivery drivers. They are truly on the front lines and deserve our admiration. But that roster of essential workers is incomplete. I think we need to - add educators to the list.

I’m Laurie Elish-Piper, and that’s my perspective.