Daresay - Deb Meissner

Daresay - Deb Meissner

Pandemic underscores that teachers are everyday heroes

Teachers are rare and unique individuals, who are everyday heroes.

Throughout this year, teachers have shown their ability to be adaptable, caring and truly concerned with the well-being of their students. I think the majority of us, certainly now as never before, have an enhanced appreciation for the jobs teachers do every day with our children.

Until the pandemic, most of us would drop our kids at school, go to work, and know they were safe, and not worry. Our biggest sweat was trying to make sure our kids’ homework was completed on time.

All of that changed, as the rest of life did, seemingly overnight. Our kids were home, school was on hold, and we were all looking at uncertainty about work and anything close to normal life.

That’s when our awareness of what a teacher goes through on a daily basis began. Quickly, teachers shifted to classes online, and at home teaching began in earnest. Facebook ran rampant with frustrated parents, struggling with how different our kids curriculum was than ours had been, so how the heck were we supposed to help our kids?!

Not to mention the fact that many of us were learning a beast called Zoom, and many other technologies, so we could work at home. It was overwhelming for all.

Teachers, despite their own confusion and stress, found unique ways, using many hours of their own time, to help families out. It was not uncommon to hear of teachers reading books to kids from a curbside, or visiting to give encouragement from a driveway. One group of teachers set up in their school parking lot, and parents drove up with their kids to ask homework questions through the car windows.

Talk about problem solvers!

Graduations were set up drive-in theatre style, and teachers and administrators tried their hardest to find ways to mark milestones for their students.

I watched my daughter, who is a teacher in Calgary, struggle with worry about whether her students were getting enough to eat, did they feel the stress of the pandemic on them, were they home alone, concerned in so many ways other than how their marks were, or what the next lesson would be, although she worried about that too.

Then, off she would go with a care package to drop off, and to check in on “her kids.” I saw how much she really cared.

She, and many teachers like her, tried to comfort her students from a distance, while they cried wanting to know when they could go back and see their friends and go to school, not understanding, because they are young.

She spent hours with parents trying to explain technology setups for classes they did not understand. It took a toll on them all. I knew she was teaching without stepping foot in the classroom, about resiliency, caring and making their way through it together.

Teachers give an extraordinary amount of themselves, their own time to their students and their profession. They are lifelong learners, always upgrading, attending courses and classes, keeping up with new methods and ideas.

Many continue doing this well past retirement.

This year tested many of the teachers I know, and it brought out the best in most of them. Isn’t that the goal? Learning, testing and triumphing?

Hopefully, this year has taught us there are some truly honourable professions, and being a teacher is definitely among them.

My parents are two, my daughter is one and they make me so proud. You are my heroes.