Phase 2 Words

Educator 1: My ears were ringing the entire summer because I was being talked about quite a bit–but no one was actually asking us, you know, what we need or, you know, what we think. And I’m not saying that we had all the answers, but maybe, you know, someone could have asked us a question. And I understand we have a big, big system, we can’t get everyone’s opinion–but the fact that there was no voice there was extremely upsetting.

Educator 2: I want it to be recorded and remembered that we want to be there, but we want to be safe. There’s been such twisted messages and pinning, sort of, parents against teachers.

Educator 3: They’re putting families in one group, teachers in one group. And it’s really nothing that clear. I mean, there’s so many teachers with underlying health issues, and teachers who are caring for somebody in their family who has an underlying health issue. And same thing with the students: like some are being raised by grandparents or one of their parents is medically fragile. I just think that every single person showing up has a different story.

Educator 2: We’ve all been saying, “We only want to do our jobs when we’re safe.” And our safety includes the safety of our students. We don’t want to have our children and our students have a miserable, scary, anxious school year. We want them to have a productive, meaningful, enriching, amusing, growing year.

Educator 2: I’ve seen pictures of students sitting in a cafeteria at separate tables and it just looks so sad. And I just feel like “Why are we participating in this?” It doesn’t feel like we’re serving our students at all. What an awful–I don’t know those images are very painful to me. I mean school for a lot of my students is community, it’s a family for them. And that does not look like a family. It looks like a hospital, kind of.

Educator 4: There has been just like such a long and ugly devaluation of educators. And it’s been so gendered and clear in terms of the ways that educators are supported societally. You know, not great money, not great possibilities for advancement, really onerous and meaningless bureaucratic weight in terms of licensing and certification, and all of these things. And a sort of de-professionalization of what I think is a very highly skilled field. And it just makes me furious that all of a sudden the whole thing can collapse–and if it doesn’t, it’s because of these people who’ve been like systematically devalued–who are nevertheless, gonna pick up the slack.

Educator 4: It was just the sort of like most onerous parts that are why nobody chooses education, and everyone’s doing them, and everyone is doing them with passion, and grit, and intelligence and vision. And it’s just like, why isn’t that part of the national conversation right now? That makes me really angry.

Educator 4: It feels pretty consistently true among all of the directors in this group that I work with: we had to, like carry these things. And we were the last step on the chain of power, where like, you know, you talk to the manager, you talk to the manager, and then at some point, you get to the last person on that link who will answer their phone or answer their email–and we are that. And so even though the problem is perhaps not of my making, or within my power to fix in my little space, I’m the last person.

Educator 5: The failure of institutions around me has has sort of made me feel more empowered myself to just kind of be like, “Well, I’m just gonna have to get all of the people that I know that I respect, and we’re just gonna have to figure this out.” It’s like a double edged sword, right? You’re like, “Okay, I’m glad that I feel competent to be able to figure things out. But also I would really like my government and my licensor to be able to actually answer questions that I have.”

Educator 6: Some of the people that I’m close to, I think I’ve gotten closer to and we’ve interacted outside of the school space more, because you know, there are those times that you just need somebody to talk to you.

Educator 6: My circle of collaborators now is outside of my own school. It’s now other teachers that I’ve been working on social justice curriculum with, it’s a friend that I have the teaches in San Antonio, it’s people in other parts of the country that I know. We’ve been talking and collaborating and sharing ideas, where normally normally summer you’re off.

Educator 6: There’s been a lot more going on. Because like I said, we just don’t know what’s going to happen. And, you know, I’m an over-preparer. So I need to know how to do what it is that I’m expected to do. But I also need to know how to do what it is that I think invariably is going to happen.

Educator 7: And so, you know, we’re coming together and that is just very moving. I find that the way that these connections have been drawn have been made and have been deepening–you know, some of the people that are super good at tech are helping the people that, for example me, are not really really fast learns, you know, with whatever it is.

Educator 7: And, you know, it’s you know, it’s bittersweet. It’s amazing, it’s very supportive. I just do not feel alone when I’m in those meetings. I do not feel alone in my work. It’s also bitter because you know, most of us will have to look for other jobs. People are going to leave–people have already left, as a result of this. But in this moment, it is really something that I am super grateful for.

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