Shaming Teachers For Their Views on the Reopening of School Needs to Stop


Shaming Teachers For Their Views on the Reopening of School Needs to Stop

We’re living in a pandemic. People we love have been sick – or even died. Some of us have been sick ourselves and most of us are concerned about getting COVID-19. Jobs have been lost. The economy is in trouble. Long-anticipated plans and trips have been canceled. Our worlds have been turned upside down. Most of us are stressed, worried, overwhelmed, and very emotional. As decisions are being made about schools reopening let’s not add teacher shaming to the list of stressors.

Teacher shaming needs to stop.

For being very publicly opposed to reopening schools.

They post about it on social media multiple times a day. They share articles, videos, and memes about the dangers of returning to school. It’s the center of every conversation you have with them. And that’s okay! There are many reasons to be opposed to schools reopening. Maybe they have their own personal reasons beyond what they’ve shared. We don’t know anyone’s situation fully. 

For being terrified about returning to school.

They become emotional in every conversation. Their social media is full of long posts about how scared they are. They let everyone know they’ve updated their wills. They might even lash out at those who have different opinions or who they don’t think is taking the pandemic seriously enough. They’ve probably shared some of their reasons for being worried. Maybe they are high-risk or have a family member who is. Perhaps they’re worried about their students or coworkers. Being concerned about returning to group situations during a pandemic is valid for many reasons. Telling someone “don’t live in fear” isn’t helpful.

For wanting to go back to school.

Some teachers can’t wait to get back in the classroom. They might be guilty of teacher shaming those who aren’t as enthusiastic. If you’re against reopening schools right now, it might be frustrating to encounter a teacher who strongly feels it’s the right thing to do. Again, you don’t know the whole story. Perhaps they’re worried about their job and being back in the classroom makes them feel more secure. Maybe being home was bad for their mental health. They might be worried about students who depend on school for food and safety from chaotic home situations. There are so many reasons people have different viewpoints and we often only know pieces of their thought process. 

For hiding their heads in the sand ignoring it all.

Some teachers just can’t deal with anything pandemic related right now. They are skipping over posts about it on social media and avoiding all news on the topic. They change the subject if someone brings it up. Maybe they’re completely overloaded and just aren’t ready to think about it. They’ll get there in their own time.

For making jokes.

Some people react to stressful situations in unexpected ways. Maybe a teacher you’ve known for years laughs hysterically or makes jokes whenever returning to school comes up. Maybe they post COVID-19 memes on Facebook. Everyone has different coping mechanisms. Laughter and joking might be their way of dealing with stress and fear.        

And while we’re at it, let’s not parent shame either.

Parents have tough choices to make about sending their kids back to school or opting for online learning. Like teachers, they’re going to have different reactions. Some will declare there’s no way they’re risking their children’s health by sending them back to school, while others will say they can’t wait to send them packing on the bus. Some may seem like they don’t know what’s going on and others will make jokes. We don’t know their situations either. Many teachers are also parents of school-age children and are burdened with thinking about schools reopening in different ways. There really are no “good” choices here for anyone.

It’s a sensitive time for everyone and we need to be gentle with each other. Instead of parent or teacher shaming, remember we don’t know everything about anyone else’s situation. Take a deep breath and let it go. Most interactions take place on social media due to quarantine right now, so just keep on scrolling. There are no easy decisions or perfect ways to handle returning to school. It’s hard for everyone, but most people are doing their best to deal with it even if we’re in disagreement.

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Shaming Teachers For Their Views on the Reopening of School Needs to Stop

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She’s been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga.
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