Open Letter to Teachers

Underpaid:

Dear Teachers, you are revered. Having been adjacent to the classroom for several years, I know first-hand the job’s stress. Often you work in districts that are cash strapped. Having to take what little money you do make to buy supplies for your students. I know some teachers that often forfeit their lunch so that students can eat. Your efforts are appreciated even when it feels like the rest of the world is against you. Right now, more than ever, our nation is witnessing teachers having to put their lives on the line and be front line workers. We are asking teachers to assume these responsibilities often with little to no training and zero extra compensation. In 2020, I do not want to devalue the medical professions’ efforts, but educators are the Co-MVP’s of the moment.

Undervalued:

Additionally, if you do a compensation analysis for educators, you’ll see that they are grossly underpaid. We treat teaching like it’s an 8 hour a day job. Many educators in the trenches know this to be an untruth. Even those with the discipline to create separations and balance often relent because they care immensely about the students served. I don’t say it enough, and this pandemic has me thinking more critically about how we need to celebrate teachers. There’s an enormous amount of blame to go around when discussing the failures in education. Focusing on these failures allows us to have a deficit thinking mindset regarding the profession. One of my goals as a critical friend to educators is to highlight more of the fantastic things that I see from teachers and focus less on the less favorable items.

Asked to Do it All:

Consequently, we are asking teachers to do it all. Many accept the challenge with open arms. Even with taking the challenges thrown at them, we find ways to make them villains. But, many focus on what educators don’t do, I realize my positioning to become a better support system for the teaching profession. There are several ways that I am willing to support teachers. First, I will not offer any criticism without providing tangible ways for teachers to improve. Next, I will frame my feedback in a way that teachers feel loved. Care needs to come after any critique. Lastly, I will be more empathetic as a critical friend to teachers. Often administrators that no longer have an approximation to the classroom forget the efforts it took to sustain. Teachers, we value you, and we love you. Salute!

Published by Raymond J. Ankrum, Sr.

Mr. Ankrum is the current Superintendent of the Riverhead Charter School. Mr. Ankrum has gained notoriety as a school turnaround expert. He is enthusiastic about helping students from low (SES) find ways to end generational poverty through educational advocacy. If you believe PoC can end generational poverty by exercising educational opportunities, you have an ally in @Mr_Ankrum.

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