Let’s Designate 2021 as the First “Teacher-Appreciation Year”

There are many “Appreciation Days”: Mother’s Day, Labor Day, etc. Parents are learning firsthand the value teachers play in the lives of our children—let’s reward them with an entire year to celebrate their role in our communities, and give every single one of them a raise.

They are not the highest paid, nor do they solicit the highest levels of respect in every town and city. Yet, if they were business people and one compared their workload and clientele to anyone else’s, they would easily win praise for being the hardest working and most committed… even compared to those hard-charging Wall Street traders or the U.S. Marines.

They are our community teachers, and it’s time for us to give pause and celebrate the roles they play in the lives of our children.

Parents who are homeschooling two kids, or managing a teenager who is actively looking to circumvent ‘the system,’ are dealing with scenarios that teachers know how to manage effortlessly. One recent sample was shared with me by a friend who has a teenage son. He has a dozen friends on a group email thread, and they are all in the same grade. They take turns sending a group text at 9:10 am so they all check-in at the required high school login time: 9:15. Otherwise, they would sleep through their first online class.

Truancy during a global pandemic comes in odd shapes and flavors.

Teachers possess the know-how and espouse a level of patience that the vast majority of parents cannot muster, because outside of weekends, they are managing a herd of cats. Somehow, they manage to pull it off with dignity.

And yet here we are, two months into a mask-wearing, sanitizing, six-foot spacing, terrified of that relative in assisted-care living era that has changed every aspect of our daily lives.

And we’re realizing, for the first time in years, the value teachers and our educational system play in our communities.

I say we give em’ all a raise.

Let’s commit ourselves to make 2021 the first official ‘Year of the Teacher.’

That flimsy ‘teacher-appreciation day’ won’t cut it anymore after dealing with a global pandemic. The prism we view life through, and our perspective about the world itself, needs to forever change and greater value must be placed upon those who are tasked with educating our children.

We could extend this conversation to include healthcare workers, first responders, and perhaps Dr. Fauci himself, but our teachers deserve praise and a greater reward for their service. It represents a service that goes beyond lifesaving; our teachers represent intellectual stimulators, disciplinarians, and many possess the patience of a monk compared to parents. I challenge you to cite a grade level, anything between Kindergarten and a child’s senior year, that is easy to teach. Find me a classroom where there’s not one knucklehead kid that’s causing a raucous… every day. Find me a student who’s committed wholeheartedly to absorbing every single history and calculus lesson. Come on, you know something’s got to give, no child is perfect, not even yours!

But our teachers help our children to find their way forward.

Here’s my suggestion on how to turn the value equation around in favor of those who deserve it most. To support our teachers, I’m asking you and everyone who reads this to do the following:

  • Draft a letter or email to your town’s Mayor, leaders and board of education. Ask them to officially designate 2021 as, ‘Teacher-Appreciation Year,’ and to note this publicly.
  • Find the courage to ask your town’s officials to increase your property taxes. The increase in overall tax revenue should be designated solely to give a raise to our teachers, and no one else.
  • Demand that teacher salaries increase by no less than 15% in 2021.

The expression, ‘put your money where your mouth is,’ is fitting here, because how many times in the past two months have we voiced (through the previously noted orifice) frustration when it comes to homeschooling our kids?

9/11 cemented the country’s respect for first responders. The year 2021 should reflect our appreciation for teachers—let’s start by giving them a raise that reflects the role they play in our classrooms and communities.

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy the following:

The Pandemic’s Upside? Kids and Freedom—A Legacy Worth Pursuing

Participation-Award Syndrome and the Consequences of Entitlement

Cure for the Convid Cooking Conundrum: Spaghetti Aglio e’ Olio

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