Did you know that this week (May 5-11) is National Teachers Appreciation Week?
If you have younger kids, you’ve been reminded of that through our awesome local PTAs’ celebrations. But, it is easy not to remember. And that’s the rub for me: We should really work on appreciating our teachers and respecting them every day. They are professionals who have one of the most critical jobs in terms of protecting our democracy and building our future. But, because of relatively low pay and the lack of respect and understanding of those in the field, we are in the midst of a national teacher shortage. And here in the Bay Area, with our crazy housing prices and high cost of living, we further exacerbate the challenge that our teachers have to face.
Being a teacher is not your typical 9-to-5 job. It is not like being an engineer, where you work on solving problems and can track your progress and potential successes. As a software engineer, you may be challenged with a particular software bug, and spend hours debugging, but at the end of the day, you tend to know whether or not you’ve solved the problem. Education of students requires a huge amount of daily patience, partnership, and creativity in order to be successful. Having to work with 24-35 students for 180 days, to get them engaged and keep them engaged and execute your lesson, is typically a crazy juggling act. And of course, not all students are willing to help you do that. And then there are the expectations from above that the students progress accordingly. Indeed, most teachers do their job for the moments when the students finally get it. So, they get a lot of respect from me. Hopefully you, too. If you ever want to see what happens in the classroom, I’d be happy to take you on a school tour.
But having respect for teachers is a good start. And they need our support, as well. So, here’s a call to action; let’s make sure we let our local teachers know how much we, as a community, appreciate them and the job that they do:
- Over the next couple of weeks, tweet the hashtag #MilpitasTeachersRock and share your favorite memory of a teacher that made a difference in your life.
- If you have a business, show your support by donating to your local Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs), at whatever amount you can (if you’re not sure which PTA needs help, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can connect you with them).
- Join the California School Boards Association’s call to the Legislature to raise school funding to the national average by 2020, and to the average of the top 10 states by 2025. For more information, check out: http://www.fullandfairfunding.org/
- Join me in asking the City Council to consider a resolution by which they dedicate the month of May to Milpitas as a community celebrating and honoring its teachers.
- And, join me in supporting AB 348 by Assemblyman Steven Choi, which would provide a $200 California Tax Credit for the teachers who buy supplies for their own classrooms. While this is a good start, it is well short of what teachers spend on average, which is around $500 per year, and probably more here in California. And given that the federal tax laws that went into effect this year have eliminated miscellaneous deductions, teachers need more support. So, let’s get this bill passed, and then increase that supplies amount to $500.
If you have other ideas, feel free to share them with me. Our teachers deserve to be recognized for the important work that they do.