The Blame Game

The Blame Game

To the people behind the education articles blaming the Governor, blaming the school district, blaming the principal, blaming the teacher for how much this is affecting your life—Do you know that this is new for ALL for us and affecting ALL of our lives? I’m assuming you do. However, right now it seems like you’re playing the blame game.

Believe me when I say, you’re preaching to the choir. Everyone is SO painfully aware that parents are working from home and some are on the frontlines (THANK YOU, frontline workers, you’re SO appreciated❤️). We know that some students and parents are anxious and just surviving, that families have multiple children in their homes and that some are worried about their well-being because they’re no longer working. So to imply that we don’t know these things is insulting. Teachers have ALWAYS been known for their compassion and that has not changed. If anything, their compassion has grown deeper and we worry about nothing more than the mental and physical well-being of our students while they’re at home.

To blame teachers and school districts (don’t forget a school district is a group of people working together who ALSO are going through this, not an inhumane thing) for the difficulties that are occurring at home is just not fair. Yes, we care SO much about our students and their families. But we, as educators, (you know, OUR job and well-being?) are being told from so much higher beyond us what we need to be doing to earn and keep our OWN jobs and survive. This includes our school districts. We also are feeling ALL of these things listed above while trying to keep some normalcy in our and our students’ lives. Your child’s teacher is expected to earn and keep his/her salary by doing what he/she is told while also taking care of a sick daughter with a fever. Your child’s teacher is expected to earn and keep his/her salary while tirelessly emailing parents at any time of the day or night telling them to “do the best they can” and “do what is best for their family” in HOPES that we will finally get that point across and they will understand. Your child’s teacher is expected to be available during teaching hours to answer any and all questions while he/she calms themselves from a recent panic attack behind the screen. Your child’s teacher is expected to earn and keep his/her salary while losing sleep over children they haven’t heard from during all of this all while worrying about their own unborn child. And yes, these are actual scenarios from some of the best teachers I know.

You say that if teachers know how each child learns differently, we should be taking that into consideration. You think we aren’t? Again, we are WELL aware. But every child learns differently and copes differently. Differentiating doesn’t just mean the students that struggle, although we know how difficult it is for them because we were working with them every day. There are also students who are so beyond where they’re expected to be academically and need challenges and they’re also struggling. So maybe, the work put out seems like a lot to one but it may not be enough to another. Maybe the face to face time for one is great but is heartbreaking and too hard for another. So again, we go back to do the best you can and what is best for YOUR family. That may not sound comforting, because we’re hearing it all too often, but it’s what we mean. We mean if your child’s best is to read 1 book and do 1 math problem, then so be it, they worked. We mean if your child is flying through the work, that’s why we have the extra enrichment resources. NOT because we’re trying to overwhelm anyone.

I keep hearing blaming in the form of “it’s not fair that districts are teaching in different ways, everyone should be on the same page.” Although many are doing their best to be “on the same page”, this is just not possible. Even when IN school, districts are not teaching the same way. We have to follow standards but we all have different programs, different access, and different teaching styles. To imply one district is doing better than another is wrong. You may think that “not enough resources” is just an excuse but it’s not. Some districts are lucky enough to have specific resources and students who do not have to pick up extra hours at the grocery store to help their parents who have lost their job. Some districts may have had personal laptops for the students well before all of this occurred. Unfortunately, fair doesn’t always mean equal and all districts are doing the best they can.

So to the writers of these articles, before you continue blaming everyone else, let’s remember whose fault it is that we’re living like this. It is NOT a person or a group of people. It’s a pandemic. And we’re ALL doing the best we can. To the article writers that are putting out positivity, props to you for understanding that more positivity is what we all need.

Kara C.

1st Grade Teacher in Massachusetts

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