Beyond the Bell


This morning, I gathered with teachers and parents outside our school as part of a national walk-in effort. Here are my reflections

We ask a lot of our teachers. We ask them to guide fidgety hands, soothe tender hearts, cultivate curiosity, and grow individual capabilities. They help young students remember whether the circle goes on the top or bottom of the six and help older students remember the order of operations. They teach compassion alongside computation and grit alongside geography.

A teacher’s day doesn’t start or end with the bell.

They spend time before and after the bell growing their own capabilities with training. They spend time nurturing their own curiosity and passions so that they can inspire the same in their students. They spend time creating posters that say “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” so that students will remember—long after it is useful—that parenthesis are first in line and subtraction brings up the rear when calculating long equations.

Those hours invested beyond the bells are essential to making the time between the bells what it should be. Our students deserve the best we have to give and I see our teachers working hard to give it to them.

When I think about what I want for our schools, my wish list is long:

I want students to be met where they are but challenged to reach where they could be. I want students to feel safe and secure but also pushed out of their comfort zones. I want to emphasize relationships without compromising respect. I want compassion and consequences. Singing and spelling. Art and arithmetic.

I want it all.

The reality is, that means asking teachers to do it all—or at least the lion’s share. There are things parents can do to lighten teachers’ loads, but what we ask of our schools is ultimately what we ask of our teachers.

We ask a lot of our teachers. The least we can do is help them when they ask something of us in return.

Our teachers are asking for help. They are telling us they need help to give our students all that we wish for. They are telling us that the lawmakers aren’t listening.

So, let’s help.

Let’s add our voices to the chorus that is pleading for proper funding of education. Let’s add our voices to the teachers’ voices and insist our leaders give teachers what they need to do their jobs well.

Our teachers deserve our help and our students need it.


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