When it comes to appreciating educators, please heed an old expression: Walk the walk, don’t just talk the talk. As the head of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, I know first-hand that educators go into our profession because they want to make a difference in students’ lives. They need real investments in teaching and learning, like books, supplies, and smaller class sizes; a voice in what happens in their schools; and latitude in their classrooms so they can tailor their teaching to meet the needs of their students.
Teaching is hard work, and teachers — roughly three-fourths of whom are women — need to know we have their backs. Give them the resources to do their work, and pay them enough so that they can support their families doing the job they love and don’t have to work two or three others just to earn a living wage. The best way for us to appreciate educators is to hear what they’re saying, understand what they need to succeed, and help them secure the necessary resources and support.