The Masks May Come Off, But Texas Teachers Aren’t Celebrating Spring Break
I got something I want off my chest...
In what seems like an eternity ago, March 4th 2020 was the date that officials with Texas State Health Services announced the first case of Covid-19 in Texas, The case was in the Houston area and travel related, and we thought, "No biggie, they'll contain this" When that didn't happen, we started down the path that leads us to now.
It would look like we are finally getting the green light and the all clear from the top dogs in Austin. (namely Governor Greg Abbott). And while the governor removed the mandate, the tongue in cheek lip service remarks that Texans have "Learned" and are prepared is just a nice bit of hogwash to go with the tom foolery of the move. The good news is across the state, folks for the most part still see the value in masking, and many companies have decided to embrace guidance from the CDC. The TEA has also stepped in and given each local district it's choice in how to move forward with masks and many are choosing to keep them in place for now.
So how do teachers fit in to all of this? You want to talk about a group that has basically taken it on the jaw the whole time. Not many of us can say we took vacation only to never come back to our classrooms. and there is a real fear that the cycle may repeat itself this year. That is the story of the Texas teacher, Who working with guidelines from the Texas Education Association that really didn't seem to be thought out at all. It became a free for all, some districts chose to come back, others went all virtual while another group embraced some hybrid model of the two.
My own wife teaches, I won't name the district, but her story is similar to others, Burnout is high, morale is low and uncertainty is a daily nuisance. Teachers do truly care about their students and want to see no kid lose any place or fall behind, They aren't given the tools. Imagine the plan changing week to week with each week leading into the next one of uncertainty. and as if teachers already have enough going on in the classroom trying to maintain order setting lesson plans on the fly for both in person and virtual learning, throw in things like providing tech support, or not getting the equipment they need, figuring out seating arrangements and trying to squeeze every bit of space out for social distancing or having kids transfer in and out depending on what the parents feel the district is handling everything. It's enough to make your head spin. She looks like she's fought in 'Nam when she gets home.
And then there's the vaccine, which couldn't come to Texas fast enough. and you want to tell me that the only reason our classroom heroes are even getting this was the feds stepped in? We're Texans, we're supposed to take care of each other and keep the feds out.... Remember ERCOT? For crying out loud we still have folks without water in Texas... We have to do better.
The Governor and the TEA needed to put the foot down early. Expectations needed to be set, and they weren't. and now you want to tell a group that has already been pushed to the limit that the state is opening up for Spring Break?
Wash, Rinse, Repeat...
Good Luck Greg... Let me know how that works out for you.