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Teachers are not the problem

To the Editor:

To those who denigrate teachers in the mass media:

You clearly haven’t set foot in a classroom since you were a student. If you had, you would have immediately been impressed by a group of professionals, who among other things, at differing times for each of the more than 220 students whom they nurture daily: listen to the cry of their broken hearts, bandage their cuts, give them food when … they’ve forgotten their lunches, hug them, feel their tears burn our cheeks, and feel a helpless anger at the situations in which the adults around them have placed them.

Teachers earn advanced degrees, annually pursue continuing education, attend IEP meetings, collaborating with parents and other professionals to meet special needs, differentiate instruction to make it accessible to every learner, go to trainings, staff meetings, department meetings, PLT meetings, lesson plan, and grade all of their papers, every day. They attend their students’ weddings, funerals, and the events in between, stay in touch with them, and welcome their visits for years after graduation. They do it because they love the children who depend on them for, among other things, consistency, hope, and a feeling of home.

Perhaps a modicum of gratitude, rather than a steady media diet of How Teachers Are Failing Our Kids might be in order; I certainly went to the best schools, and very rarely did my teachers compare to the caliber of educator that I see in our schools today.

Carla A. Bell, Ph.D.