Monday, August 10, 2020

A Healthy Respect for Teachers

As some of you know, I’ve been teaching a Creative Writing Class at our community college for the last six weeks.  Tonight will be our last class.  As a writing prompt, I’ve asked them to write the first few pages of their book as well as the last few pages.  No, I wasn't specific as to what that book might be.

I look forward to hearing what they’ve written.

Teaching this class in-person has given me a new perspective on what heroes our schoolteachers, school administrators, bus drivers, and janitorial staff really are.  I teach seven adults, neatly spaced apart in a fairly large classroom, where masks are required.  It’s a pretty safe environment.

There are going to be times and circumstances where in kindergarten up to college classrooms where that will not possible.  I’m hoping that all the students and teachers stay safe and healthy.

In my classroom we discussed heroes and how they might be written.  how they need to be relatable but flawed in some way. And heroes are always up to the task at hand, no matter the consequences or the danger.

We have them in real life. We always have, but it’s much more obvious now. The doctors, nurses, and health care workers risking their own lives to treat those sick with Covid-19.

As always, our heroes are also the law officers, firemen and EMTs that continue to work even though they’re putting themselves in danger of contracting the disease. And many of them have.

Less obvious are the people who are working in our grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, and (thank heavens) the liquor stores. We also need to thank the truck drivers, the mail carriers, and sanitation workers.

Our teachers are also heroes.  They always have been, but now more than ever they’re putting themselves on the front lines.

One of the many reasons we enjoy reading mysteries, especially in uncertain times, is that we’re pretty certain that by the last page, justice will be served and the heroes will be victorious.

But this isn’t fiction.

It’s real life. And it's scary as hell. So, when you interact with our real-life heroes, thank them and tell them how much they are appreciated.

Real life heroes, good on you! Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Sailorbuoy said...

Well stated kudos to an unappreciated and many times an unrewarded profession.

Anna said...

Will you be posting any of the first and last pages (or even the first and last 2 to 3 sentences) from your class? What a wonderful exercise! Your students are sure to come up with some great stuff. I'm intrigued!

Sara E Johnson said...

You've challenged me to write the last pages of my current WIP. It might make it easier to safe through the murky middle. Thanks!

Rick Blechta said...

Being a "retired" teacher of 24 years experience, I can tell you that it's a ridiculously difficult job. I won't go into all the whys and wherefores of this comment here (Have a few hours?), but now you have a small idea of what's involved with doing a job like this, Tom. A dedicated and concerned teacher (there are, of course, exceptions) is indeed a real hero.

Speaking for my friends who are still "in the business", I have to say that what is happening now to the profession is ultra concerning. In the push to get children back into the classroom, mistakes are being made. We are going to lose teachers. Politicians are driving the return to the classroom and their focus is very narrow. I personally know two excellent teachers who are choosing to leave the profession because they are aware of the safety issues, and since they're approaching retirement and more vulnerable, feel the risks outweigh their love of teaching.

It's a sorry situation.

Thanks for the support!