Teachers deserve our thanks for stepping up under the strain of COVID

When the former owner of the New York Times, Adolph Ochs, coined the phrase “All the News that’s fit to Print,” it soon became clear that the national news industry found bad news sells better than the everyday news.

Rep. Lance Clow

It is not news, but our teachers daily greet, educate, help and care for our nation’s treasure, our children. Day in and day out these dedicated members of our community show up eager and ready to educate their students. Educators have chosen a career, not for the fortunes ahead, rather like a calling. They want to do something special and important by educating our youth to become successful adults. By most standards they are underpaid and too often underappreciated.

For the past two years, they have had to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic conditions of teaching. Conditions that threatened the health of society, the health of their students and their families, as well as their own families and themselves. They were not prepared for COVID, but quickly adapted to virtual and blended classes and adopting technology as fast as it became available.

Teachers are part of the community and have the same varied emotions about masks and vaccinations as the community in which they live and work.  However, they know their students come first, and it is their responsibility to lead their classes through these challenging times. The average elementary classroom easily represents 20-35 families, secondary classrooms over a hundred; all with various political, religious, cultural, and educational backgrounds. Teachers hear and see students dealing with trauma, family drama, joy and stress, all while dealing with their own family challenges. I know from personal experience that teachers both celebrate and cry with their students; and sometimes they cry because of their students.

So, what do we read, see, and hear in the news? Every failure, every exception is magnified by the “Fourth Estate”, the media. It is compounded by unfiltered social media. Through my experience, our teachers, administrators, and their staffs are dedicated to our children. They want them to succeed. They are not the parents, but often are expected to fulfil that role. There are literally millions, if not billions, of daily interactions between students, teachers, and parents. We only hear of the few bad actors and events, and blast that news through the internet. The daily good news rarely becomes the news that is fit to print. I heard a well-recognized school superintendent say this week that if you want to see our teachers in action or their curriculum just ask. I would say the reality is we have some of the best teachers in the nation here in Idaho and they deliver a tremendous value to our state and our communities.  Achievement scores on a national comparison prove this.

About two years ago, my daughter told me a story.  She was at a student-teacher conference and heard from several of my grandson’s teachers that he rarely left the class before stopping by and thanking them. It touched my daughter’s heart, and mine.  When was the last time you showed your appreciation? I know many of you do, but it is worth repeating. If my millennial grandson can do it, so can we, and the more the better.

Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls, chairs the Legislature’s House Education Committee. 

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