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I felt very uncomfortable during the beginning of the pandemic when teachers (of which I am one) were lauded as heroes. It seems that many willing to take and run with that title are the types to coast under the protection of tenure rather than reflect about how they could better impact students. But the time of teacher appreciation has passed and we are back to teachers not teaching anything unless it is some sort of indoctrination. Students show up to class with an expectation of mediocrity or incompetence because they have been prepped by parents.

But maybe not. I have asked my students often about big issues involving education or policy and many don't know and don't really care. They show up and respond to me based on how I treat them and how I set up my classroom.

I don't want to say that politics is a distraction, but at times it is. The last thing kids need is a lecture about my politics. What they need is a present teacher who connects so that when the "teachers are..." crowd pipes up, they stay quiet because that wasn't their experience.

Teachers become the convenient target because as a society we value our right to criticize rather than reflect on our efforts. Then, feeling attacked, many teachers recoil and assert their chosen craft is good and noble and therefore reflection is not needed. Visit the buffet of cliche teacher memes and stuff yourself.

If the last few years have taught me anything, it's revealed that no one is coming to save us. There's a strange empowerment in accepting that. I enjoy and trust my colleagues. It's my job to show up regardless of who is principal, superintendent and all the way up to president.

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