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Letter: An Open Letter To the Community

It is unfortunate that in the current political climate it’s popular to denigrate teachers. Teachers are not the enemy the politicians would like you to believe they are, but extended family, wanting and working towards the best for “our children.”

Each September teachers welcome into their lives a whole new family, their students, their ‘kids or children’. It is both a privilege and a very big responsibility. And, just as parents’ jobs do not end with putting food on the table, teachers’ jobs are not limited to teaching academic subjects. Our students are individuals with their own personalities and needs.

We (I use the pronoun “we” because I am a teacher) are charged with the education of the whole child and meeting each of their needs to the best of our ability. We reinforce the values of the family and community, such as respect for others, honesty, responsibility and so on. ‘Our kids’ enter our rooms with a host of different backgrounds, experiences, strengths, weaknesses and family situations. The actual list is too long to include here.

As often as not, a teacher’s preparation time is not spent grading papers or preparing a lesson, but, instead, talking with individual students and parents, whether to reassure, express concern or offer assistance. It may be spent with colleagues or support personnel, such as social workers, psychologists, administrators, etc. to obtain the best help to meet students’ needs. Many teachers are available for extra help, be it before or after school, a lunch, or a work-study period. (This does vary, depending upon teachers’ schedules and availability.)

Teachers participate in overnight field trips, not for the small overnight supervision stipend, but because they are so anxious for ‘their kids’ to have the experience. They volunteer to help in a multitude of after school, evening or weekend activities to ensure that opportunities exist for their students.

Despite the cost of certification, I have yet to meet, in nearly 30 years, the person who entered this profession for the salary or pension. Instead, our goals are that our students meet with as much academic, experiential and social success as possible. After all, our students are our school family and our future.

Laura Molina
Sixth Grade Teacher,
Wisdom Lane School, Levittown