Instruction & Curriculum

Opinion: Teachers Are Not Babysitters and I’m Not Returning Back to School

This morning at 6:59 am, I submitted my resignation from teaching in my district on our online portal while I was watching the morning news. Before I hit “submit” I had a moment where I felt guilt over, but three seconds later, it passed and I decided to choose me over my district.  After suddenly transitioning to virtual learning in the spring of 2020 and being lauded as a lifesaver and multiple parents sending me heartfelt emails about my worth; four months later, I’m being called selfish by the same parents because I don’t want to risk my life by teaching during a pandemic.
Four months later, I’m being called selfish by the same parents because I don’t want to risk my life by teaching during a pandemic. Click To Tweet
‘Merica, 2020.
I’ve watched politicians who during every election cycle beg for our votes or say they’re “for education” attempt to open our schools, while their own kids continue with virtual learning in their protected gated communities. I’ve watched these same politicians propose cutting funding to schools if they did not open in person all while they conduct online meetings or limit visitors to their state mansions. Then years after pushing for STEM education as the future of education, these same politicians now push conspiracy theories,  question the data of COVID-19 data, and even change who sees the data all in an attempt to get the economy going. It’s clear that every politician who is willing to sacrifice children and teachers is no friend of education and should be voted out of office after being called out on their hypocrisy.
‘Merica, 2020.
While politicians are attempting to change the narrative, some parents are trying to justify teachers teaching by threatening to ask for their money back from property taxes and essentially defund education. These same parents scream that kids need to be in school and that social isolation is harming their children all while they go online and attempt to bully teachers. When the bullying doesn’t work they then organize these rallies where they ignore science and data and instead continue to scream open schools because they just can’t be responsible for their own children. It’s clear that some parents need to be reminded that teachers are not babysitters and ultimately going to school should not be a death sentence.
‘Merica, 2020.
Despite the continued personal attacks on teachers by both the public and politicians, it is easy for us to feel as if we have to sacrifice our lives and return back to work, but I’m here to say no. No, I’m not willing to work in a school this upcoming year and there’s nothing parents or politicians can do about it. I will not apologize for prioritizing my health for the economy- COVID-19 is my personal ‘line in the sand.’
This year, teachers around the country from different political leanings and other differences must demand:
That school districts use SCIENCE on deciding if schools will open back up. For years, we’ve had a push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and we should be learning by example.
That if politicians want us back at school, they must also send their own children, grandchildren, and loved ones back in the same buildings.
I asked these things and my district still opted for face to face instruction with no face masks and little protocols to stop the spread of COVID and because of that, I’ve opted to leave. I don’t have a huge savings account and I’m a single parent of two boys, but if I die because I thought that allegiance to a job was more important than my life, then I’m part of the problem. Right now, I’ve applied to teach at an online school- a huge pay cut, but I can figure out the next steps later- but right now on July 27, 2020, all I know is that I’m not a babysitter and I’m not returning back to school.
‘Merica, 2020.

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