Teaching, to me, is a joy. It provides great opportunities and challenges. It is a career that I love, and I miss interacting with my students and colleagues. When I first started teaching, I didn’t expect that I’d have to become an activist or that I would become the ATA president one day. But as you fight for the things you believe in, one thing leads to another.
We are living in extraordinary times. We have stressors and worries that we did not imagine we would be dealing with (or still dealing with at this point). This stress affects everyone—no one is immune to the effects of the pandemic and how it has altered our lives.
In August, the ATA released its priority expectations for the return to school. This was followed the next day by the education minister’s release of the government’s plan. This led to a flurry of messages sent my way, which is fine. What is not fine was the messages of hate that I received.
Now, sadly, I have come to accept harsh messages as part of the president’s role. However, it’s going too far when I receive messages that say the world would be a better place without me in it and I should not delay my exit. No one deserves to be on the receiving end of messages like that, regardless of how others feel about an issue or a person. We must not let the issues that worry us drive wedges between us.
As disturbing and eye-opening as this last week has been, it has not changed my resolve or my commitment to the work I do as president. My students, my colleagues and a strong public education system will always remain the focus of my work, regardless of the hate that comes my way. ❚
I welcome your comments. Contact me at email@example.com.