apple-256263_960_720Dear teachers,

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week. I hope your free Chik-Fil-A sandwich or BOGO Chipotle burrito was delicious. I hope your PTA and administration wrecked your diet with baked goods and goody bags attached to cute little sayings. I hope your kids remembered to say thank you. I hope a few wrote you sweet little notes that are worth more than to you than the kids could ever imagine. I hope some saintly parent donated a few reams of paper or other desperately needed supplies to your classroom.

I wish though, teachers, that you didn’t have to rely on the kindness of parents for donations. Or that you didn’t have to pay for them out of pocket. While the discounts this week, the platitudes from politicians and celebrities, the knickknacks, the junk food are nice, the reality is that a week of appreciation is not sufficient.

This week, in Texas, we heard that schools will still be measured by test riddled with glitches.

This week, in Detroit, teachers held “sick outs” to call attention to the budget crisis so severe that their paychecks, their livelihood, the roof over their heads and the food on the table of their own children, is in jeopardy.

This week, the Center for Education Policy released the results of a study showing that teachers today feel stressed by poor leadership, a lack of voice in national discussions about education, and over emphasis on standardized testing.

Here’s what I wish you had instead of Teacher Appreciation Week.

And, I wish that on your hardest, bleakest days that you remember the optimism and enthusiasm you had when you walked into the door of your first classroom. I sincerely hope that you never lose it entirely, even if it gets occasionally bruised and battered. I wish for you the strength and the courage to keep pushing for kids, their families, the future of our field, and the future of this country.

<3, Amy