When we’re in charge, we won’t forget what you’ve done for us

Aryn+Murtha+accesses+Blend+to+check+on+the+information+graphics+projects+her+advanced++graphics+design+students+completed.+She+said+students+completed+the+assignment+on+Adobe+Illustrator+if+they+had+the+software+the+free+web-based+software+Pixlr+if+they+didn%27t.++

Dave Winter

Aryn Murtha accesses Blend to check on the information graphics projects her advanced graphics design students completed. She said students completed the assignment on Adobe Illustrator if they had the software the free web-based software Pixlr if they didn’t.

Samantha Powers, co-news editor, co-copy editor

Dear Teachers,

Your job is complicated. During this pandemic, there is so much give and take between wanting to protect your health and wanting to keep your jobs. You shouldn’t have to make that decision.

Child care is such a complicated decision to make, because either way it’s a sacrifice. If you choose to send your children to day care, that’s a health risk factor. In addition, child care is often too expensive on a teacher’s salary. On the flip side, you could opt out of expensive and somewhat risky child care and choose to have a family member watch your child, but that exposes that family member to the school environment that teachers are forced to subject themselves to every day.

Our teachers and staff need us now, and it’s up to us to advocate for them when they do so much for all of us.”

One of my teachers recently had to make the tough decision between her family’s health and her own responsibilities. She has a young child at home who needs constant care, but both she and her husband work. Her mother, whose age put her in the high-risk bracket for COVID-19, came to stay with the family and help care for her child, while she and her husband worked. She did not receive accommodations, so her choice was this: return to campus and expose her high-risk mother to everyone at school by proxy, or take a leave of absence without pay. In the end, she chose her mom’s health. But because of this choice she was forced to make, my classmates and I have now gone for months without our teacher. The community I used to feel from that class is gone, washed away in the wake of so much apathy from our district towards protecting our teachers.

Dear AISD,

Don’t you see? Don’t you understand just how much you are taking your teachers for granted? They aren’t disposable; they won’t be kicked around. They are human beings just like you and me, and they are braver than anyone I know for doing what they do. They make the ultimate sacrifice. Every day they risk their lives for their jobs because doing this is what they love, plain and simple. They don’t do this for the money, believe me. They do this for the kids. And AISD, you need to realize that you owe the greatest debt to your teachers. They are risking their lives to educate the next generation.

It doesn’t have to be this way. Our teachers’ civil service will one day create the next generation of leaders. When it’s our job to look out for teachers, I know we won’t turn a blind eye. As we become the next generation of policymakers, lobbyists and school board officials, we will look back on our teachers’ dedication to us, and we will dedicate ourselves to repaying them. This generation of students has seen the immense sacrifices made by staff during the pandemic, and it won’t be forgotten. But we don’t have to wait. Our teachers and staff need us now, and it’s up to us to advocate for them when they do so much for all of us. We can pay them more, we can grant accommodations for those who need them, we can let them teach remotely. Their health and wellness is essential to all of us. AISD, I implore you to open your eyes and ears to the present reality.

Teachers, I’m sorry. And I thank you.

Sincerely,

Samantha Powers