If there was ever a year to appreciate teachers, it is 2020.
And World Teachers’ Day — which is held annually on October 5 — aims to do just that.
Amid a global pandemic, teachers have become even more vital, as they navigate how to help students adjust to distance learning and adapt to Covid-19 safety guidelines in their classrooms.
Many teachers said they are working as hard as they possibly can to make the best out of a tough situation.
Teachers described spending countless hours working overtime to create new lessons from scratch, and redesign assignments to work in an online environment.
Over the summer, some teachers also spent their vacation time pushing for more coronavirus safety measures in schools and working with institutions to create the safest possible reopening plans. Others fought for the right to work remotely rather than risk exposure to Covid-19.
Meanwhile, parents found themselves trying to juggle working from home, childcare, and helping kids with remote learning. Memes quickly started circulating online with parents highlighting how educators should be paid more.
Even before this year’s challenges, most people had only a vague idea of the problems educators face.
In the United States, the average public school teacher gets paid $62,304, according to the most recent data from the National Education Association.
That number is even smaller for teachers just beginning their careers — the average starting salary in 2017 was $39,249, and almost one-third of new teachers have second jobs to make ends meet. Plus, research shows the average teacher spends more than $450 of their own money on classroom supplies each year.
This World Teachers’ Day, many can think of a few teachers who made a profound impact on their lives.
Teachers who we thought were teaching math and science but were actually teaching us how to be kind, how to persevere, and how to work hard. Teachers who bought the class books and supplies and even day-before-the-big-test pizzas with their own money. Teachers who took extra time to write recommendation letters so that we could continue to learn and grow even after we graduated from their classrooms.