Teacher Appreciation Day

May 9, 2018 by

Teacher Appreciation Week started on May 7th!   Educators share this auspicious spree of celebration with other honorees, such as manufacturers of self-sealing envelopes, formaldehyde distributors, pewter artisans and publicists for turnip-growers. We’re in good company. There’s only 52 weeks in a year and so many constituencies to be accommodated.

Does that mean that during the 2nd week of May we get to be in the public’s “thoughts and prayers” and be thanked “for our service”?  How is this week different from all others?  Instead of having stale cliches, we get insipid platitudes.

Is this recognition worth anything? 

Will the NY Post and other spreaders of fallacious investigative reports observe a moratorium on their phony and rotten cherry-picked exposures of teacher greed, ineptitude, malfeasance, excuse-making for malingers, sleazy liaisons, agitation to “work to rule”, opt-outs, walk-outs, defense of wrongdoing, accountability -evasion and selfish abrogation of devotion to duty?

During Teacher Appreciation Week will there be some pause in the demonizing of public schools generally?

The Post and its hyenas are a lost cause. The only  public school teachers they would give credit to would be those who turn against their union brothers and sisters. Fortunately the fortunes and image of the profession are not dictated by delinquent tabloids.

A recent NPR/Ipsos poll reflects the confidence that Americans feel in our teachers and their union. These results are illuminating, although detractors still cast shadows on the truth.

Two-thirds of Americans feel that teachers are underpaid. Almost two-thirds are vocally supportive of teachers unions. Three-quarters believe that teachers have the right to strike, including a large majority of Republicans.

By a lop-sided margin, Democrats approved of teacher unions more than the Department of Education. Surprisingly, a majority of Republicans also have greater faith in those unions than in the Department headed by Betsy DeVos.

Teachers, like any other group, are a “mixed bag”, but they have been uniquely targeted for ruthless and undeserved collective criticism. Perhaps that is in part because they are the foremost bastions of unionism in the nation today and also, everybody tends to recall and blame one particular weak-link in their schooling.

Being a classroom teacher ( as opposed to an educrat) entails more than the transference of subject matter. They are surrogate parents, child advocates, social service coordinators and champion. Seeing their diligence, idealism and self-sacrifice reflected in the esteem in which they are held by the general public, is exhilarating proof that Teacher Appreciation Week is more than an empty gesture.

Ron Isaac

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