An Open Letter to a Teacher Basher

This week one of our local news stations posted an article "exposing" what a teacher's pension was. I came across the link to the article on Facebook because one of my friends had commented on it. Like any news story that goes through Facebook, there were over 40 comments from people putting in their two cents about the article. Most were teachers saying, "Hey leave us alone for once!" Some comments were from people that were seemingly pleased that this news station "exposed" this public information, as it added fuel to the ever-burning fire that people have against teachers. As I read through the comments, I started getting angry as this person continued to bash teachers, calling us babysitters, overpaid, ungrateful and "simple". Teachers continued writing back to him, defending what we do and correcting his grammar, as to prove a point that it is ignorant people that must hate teachers or disagree with our pay scale and pensions. I attempted to write a response to this internet troll, but found myself not being able to find the right words to explain to him why he was wrong. I kept typing then erasing, editing, typing, erasing. I wanted him to so badly understand that we earn our summer vacations and pensions and incomes just as much as anybody else. My blood was boiling. I wanted to teach him a lesson (no pun intended).


Then I realized that I would be just as much of a troll as him, and I would be just as foolish or ignorant to think that I could change his mind about why teachers are important. Who am I to tell him why he is failing at life because I am angry that he insulted my life choice? What I essentially realized was, who are we to attack others for their life choices?  I would love to be able to submit an expense report for every dollar I have ever spent out of my own pocket for my classroom. I would love to go out to lunch at a restaurant during the day with my coworkers. I would love to sleep until 7:30 so I would make it to work by 9. I would love to work from home. I would love to work outside in the sun. I would love to make $100,000 a year.  I would love to travel and see cool cities. EVERY job has perks and EVERY job has downfalls, but EVERY person makes the choice to do what they do in life. Who are we to tell them they are undeserving of their perks? I would NEVER say to someone "Ohhh must be nice that you got reimbursed for that printer paper you bought for your office! Haha! Ungrateful secretaries." I would love to do a lot of these things but I made a choice to become a teacher and I don't need anybody to validate that choice because I know that what I do every day makes a difference in our world.

I might not put my life in danger every day or save people in an emergency room. Sure, I stayed home this entire week and watched Netflix in my pajamas. But you know what? I got peed on 3 times this year! I have a drawer full of letters from parents and students that have told me I have changed their lives forever. These are things that nobody will ever understand about teaching, but we have to stop expecting them to. We have to stop keeping score of what everyone else is doing and start appreciating that these professions that people have chosen are what make our world go 'round.

So, man who hates teachers and thinks we don't deserve our perks: my hope is that someday if you have a child, that your child is in the care of a loving teacher that will show you just how important our job is. Maybe a good teacher will even change the path of life that your child takes. Maybe a teacher did that for you and you just haven't realized it yet. Maybe you never will. But I'm sure when you are not on Facebook and you are at work, you are really good at what you do. I think your job is important and has value in our world too, whatever it may be.

10 comments

  1. Great Post Sarah!! Thanks for sharing this!
    -Lovely Nina

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  2. Marybeth PetersenJuly 13, 2014 at 12:47 AM

    Taking the high road is always a better choice then joining someone in the gutter. You are part of the mature teacher group that gets that it was "your calling" to teach. There are some teachers out there who whine about not being appreciated to the point they bash parents as this person bashed teachers. There are teachers who think they "are the difference" in a child's life & give no credit to all the other lives that touches a child in a day. I have read teachers proclaim on Facebook that after meeting the parents they realized they were the best person in that child's life all because a parent had an opinion. My dad was a teacher for 40-50 years & I never heard him complain about a parent. But, I noted that some parents he helped along a little or worked harder to see their perspective. One time when he realized a student was being beaten at home he intervened...and I got a foster brother. But mostly he was concerned if a parent never made an appearance or a call. I see some teachers now finding it a royal pain to deal with parents and declare so with clip & paste post. Sarah...you aren't one of those teachers. I want to believe that man was bashing one of those teachers and sadly he may never have met a teacher like you who treasures a good school to home connection. I remember the first time one of my children declared they were right over me because that is what their teacher told them, ouch an arrow to my heart (I am not the most important person in my child's life anymore). Many children could & have assumed at one point that mom & dad may not know much if they sent them to someone else to learn things. A parent typically is the dominant first impression in a child's life and that child returns home to that parent each day...the teacher should encourage respect at home as should the home teach respect at school the second longest place they spend their time. You get that Sarah and if that teacher basher met you and the many others like you, he would apologize. Forgive him, for he knows not what he says. Eloquent blog post as usual.

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  3. People that believe that teachers are overpaid and underworked just don't understand and nothing any of us say will change that. They are the same people that believe that "good teachers" have fantastic test scores, and "bad teachers" with low scores should be fired. Never mind the fact that those "bad teachers" may be teaching in a low income district without resources or teaching a SPED class that is significantly behind. You did the right thing by leaving it be. We know the value of what we do, and so do many families and students. That's what matters.

    Mandy
    Caffeine and Lesson Plans

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  4. Bravo!!!Your post made me cry, thank you for reminding all of the teachers out there why we do what we do, teach!

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  5. Sarah,
    Bravo! This is so well written! It should be posted and published in every newspaper and online forum around the world.

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