At the beginning of the new year, I left my English teaching assignment at a high school in Newport News. I since then started a new position at a middle school with Hampton City Schools.
To my bewilderment, it was far worse than where I had come from. Teachers are being battered, bruised, and beat down by the American public school for all the world to see. Does anyone care about the teachers?
Our voices have been muted and hands bound behind our backs. In districts across the country, teachers get little to no support from their divisions, administrators, parents, or students, in many cases. Who could imagine that we’d be living in a time where teachers need protective gear to be armed and ready for battle, and be made to contemplate life and death decisions simply to step foot into a classroom? To be a teacher in America’s public schools has become hazardous to one’s health.
It’s not just within Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, or California education; the divide is nationwide. America deserves better than what the education system is manufacturing: graduates that cannot read or write; colleges lowering standards to accommodate a generation that lacks basic knowledge and education; and young people that lack accountability and responsibility.
Teachers are the change we hope to see in the world; they are the light to a brighter future. The role of the teacher is to provide real education that will draw out the very best of child and man physically, mentally, and spiritually. Teachers deserve their flowers, too, not just promises broken and few.
As a teacher, my stay on the frontlines is temporary. I will not return in 2024, but those who plan to see their commitment through deserve the highest badge of honor.
Terry A O’Neal-Hogan,
Another Tired Teacher