To the Teachers

Dear Teachers,

To those of you who deserve the title.
To those of you who played school as children, dreaming of standing in front of the classroom.
To those of you who had an epiphany in more recent times that cultivating minds is what your passion is.
To those of you who have had your honor and respect ripped away from you by those who are teachers because “what else are they going to do?”
I’m writing this because I was told in my school that everyone could and should become a teacher, and that can’t be farther from the truth.
Teachers are the best sort of people, people who have talent that is rich and deep.
No one would ever dare tell a person with the voice of a frog to become a singer, so why do we tell the unskilled to take up teaching?
How, as a society, have we not recognized that teaching is the hardest job?
How have we let our teachers lose our respect?
If everyone can become a teacher, than what does that say for the teachers who work tirelessly to kindle the minds of their students?
If we want to make real change in education, we need to make sure that our teachers feel valued and appreciated. We need them to know that we know how hard they are working. How talented they are. We need to show them how clearly we see that not everyone can do their job.
There is nothing like being told that you can be easily replaced, and none of the teachers who actually teach can be replaced.
Teaching does not mean standing in front of the classroom and scaring your students into sitting in their desks.
Teaching is creating a world for your students. Opening doors for your students, helping them see their own potential.
Teaching is bringing the complex to the minds of your students, helping to put their puzzle pieces into place, caring as much about them and their future as their parents do, and in some cases, more.
Teaching is staying up late at night, genuinely working hard to create a classroom that your students are in awe of, rather than afraid of.
Teaching is not about getting the most information into a brain, it is about sharpening that brain so that it can go out into the world and be capable of changing it.
Almost every problem in America can be traced back to the crumbling education system, and it starts with making our teachers people who students can rely on.
It means letting our teachers be one of the most high-paying jobs so that our teachers can focus on their students instead of worrying about how to feed their own families.
It means saying no to teachers who think that this will be an easy gig.
It means not telling future teachers that their jobs can be done by anyone, and instead telling them that if they possess the skills and talents it takes to be a teacher, they will be valued and an enormous asset to society.
A lot of people want to change the world. Teachers literally do that every single day. Why are we so hesitant to tell them that?
I look forward to a day that I can send my child to school, secure in the knowledge that the teacher standing in front of their classroom loves them dearly, cares deeply about their future, and will handle their minds and hearts with gentle hands.
I am no teacher. I hold not the patience, nor the abilities.
But I care so much about our children, about the education system, and about making things right.
While I will never stand in front of a classroom of eager faces, I will work hard to ensure that the people who do that feel confident in their position and that society will not rip their work apart.
We can’t all be teachers, and most of us should not be teachers.
But we all have a responsibility towards education, and we all must do our part in ensuring that our children do not suffer at the hands of a system that is meant to make them grow the strongest roots.
This is for the “teachers” who ripped my heart open, who crushed my spirit, and who do not deserve the title of educator.
This is for my teachers who held my hand and pushed me forward, discovered my potential and handed me the glasses so that I can see it too.
This is for those who are training to become teachers now, who are finding themselves doubting their mission because of the untalented around them assuming they could be teachers too.
Teaching is the most beautiful, most meaningful, most important job on the planet.
But only if you are capable of putting your entire soul into it.
This is for the people who deny the fact that there is such thing as a bad teacher, and that those who are doing more damage than good should remain in their harmful positions.
Our students deserve the best. Our future deserves to be told that they are the future, and they deserve to feel confident in that mission.

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