Dear Teachers: Thanks for being the Brave Ones

You are the real MVPs!

My children have been in your care for over a month, and I must say… BRAVO! I’m honestly not sure how you are pulling this off, but you are. Last school year ended abruptly. You didn’t get the closure or goodbyes like you’ve become accustomed to, yet you were ready to start this school year without missing a beat. You picked up the pieces and proceeded to glide successfully into the new year. I watched your smiles, while we hid behind our fears. I witnessed your devotion when we silently lost hope. I saw your positive attitudes, while we doubted our every move. You posted your brightly decorated classrooms on social media, as you prepared for your new students to arrive. You came up with innovative ways to space desks and practice social distancing. You shared ideas for masks that would still allow your students to see you smile. You participated in elaborate welcome back videos that went viral among your students and their parents. You became the assurance we needed to move forward. You believed, so we believed.

My mom is a teacher.

So, I know firsthand how teaching isn’t a normal 40-hour workweek. I know your day extends past a clock-in and clock-out. Teaching goes beyond the classroom. It’s lesson-planning for hours, grading papers all weekend, reaching each student, communicating with each parent, being in charge of after-school activities, organizing clubs, early morning car lines, late afternoon tutoring, prepping, preparing, and still making sure your class is on track with education. On top of your busy teaching schedule, most of you still manage to be a mom. You show up to the ballpark before the game starts, you cook dinner, wash the clothes, take care of the house, feed the dog, study with your own kids, clean up, put the kids to bed, take a shower, have a glass of wine, watch an episode of a murder-mystery series, and still wake up at 5:00 AM just to do it all over. Teaching isn’t just a job. Teaching is a passion, a love, and dedication.

A few months ago, I read someone’s
thoughts on teachers going back to school during the pandemic.

He wrote, “The teachers need to go back. This is their job. This is what they signed up for!” It shocked me. I realized most people don’t understand how much a teacher normally does during the school year. Also, no teacher went to college and checked off a box next to, “Will work during a life-threatening pandemic,” before being handed their diploma. Their fears are just as real as everyone else. They have their own health and the health of their family to worry about. Two days after I read the mind-boggling comment, I ran into two teachers who previously taught my daughter. The topic of schools re-opening came up. Without hesitation, they exclaimed, “We can not wait to go back!” It was a very eye-opening interaction! Even amidst all of the fears and the unknown, the TEACHERS were still eager and ready to go back to school! I registered both of my children for in-person/ on-campus learning the next day. I had the confirmation I needed. The teachers were just as excited as the students were to hear the school bell ring, say the morning pledge, eat cafeteria food, sit at a desk, carry a bag full of books, stock up on supplies, see their friends, and be together again. We all knew this school year would be different, but it was the TEACHERS who were sure there would be a school year! That confidence gave me the first real feeling of normalcy and safety since mid-March. So, thank you!

Also… the kids are fine.

The school may look a little different, but my kids don’t mind! They wake up happy and come home even happier! They share their stories from throughout the day. They tell me what they ate, learned, and discovered. They show me the papers they wrote and the pictures they colored. Most importantly, they talk about YOU! They love being in your class, and I absolutely love hearing about it! It’s a hard year, but you’re making it easier. They don’t complain about wearing masks or eating lunch in their classrooms. They actually enjoy being able to bring their own water bottles instead of frequenting the water fountain. So far, this year has actually been less chaotic than pre-pandemic. Maybe the temperature-taking lines back up in the mornings, but even that is organized. You all have constantly and consistently kept us informed, up-to-date, and communication has been flawless.

So from one mom to ALL the teachers,

I SEE YOU! I respect you. I admire you. I acknowledge all that you do. I appreciate you for waking up every morning and teaching our children every day. Thank you all for being the brave ones!

(Writer personally thanks: Mrs. Karen Sandrock, Mrs. Stephanie Wust, Mrs. Danielle Stechmann, Mrs. Cindy Dembrun, Mrs. Charol Armand, and all the amazing teachers and staff at Our Lady of Prompt Succor School in Chalmette, LA. You are all amazing!!)

Nicole Deano
Nicole is married, mommy of 2 (Emily – 7 Talia – 4.) She’s a lifetime resident of Chalmette, with a brief 3 years in New Iberia following Hurricane Katrina. She is also an 8-year breast cancer survivor. She is Disney obsessed and was also a Disney Bride. She is trying to stay sane with juggling her busy life.

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