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Parents as Partners

For this mom, the supportive relationship between parents and educators has never been more critical.

By Onica Kibby, parent

“They give so much of themselves.”

“They deserve a raise.”

“Teachers are heroes.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined partnerships between our educators and parents as we adapt and innovate through this unprecedented learning environment. With redefined notions of success, together we have navigated the messy web of the pandemic school years. As parents, we gained a new perspective of our children’s education, and the magnitude of the job of a teacher, during the pandemic.

However, as the pandemic stretches excruciatingly on, educators are seeing the support from the beginning of the pandemic wane with each passing month.

“Teachers don’t want to work.”

“They chose this profession.”

“They don’t care about our children.”

Educators need us parents as partners, and the current pressure to return to school must be met with equal pressure advocating for a workplace and learning environment built upon our most precious shared value in society: Safety.

Educators have protected our children when we could not. Educators have long been forced to act like heroes, and it’s becoming a more common essential duty. Teachers are respected by us parents enough to be trusted with the lives’ of our children, and we must respect them enough to trust them with their own.

Onica Kibby, in the outdoor 'learning shed' she built for her daughter to do her distance learning classes.

Teachers have taught us to think critically when we could not. They are parents and children of our world themselves. We are all growing and learning together. Each one of us is making the best decisions to protect our families and ourselves based on the information we have, but in a world where information is political and the truth is untrusted, it is imperative we rely on the expertise, collaborative, and research-based decision-making processes utilized by our teachers.

Teachers have had to be brave when we could not. Teachers need safety measures in place to protect themselves, and our children, from harm. Harm that other professionals in public and private service are not required to expose themselves to. They need us to work together to pass funding and prioritize the safety of their workplaces and our learning facilities now and in the future.

Teachers are brave, protective, critical thinkers who have found hope for our future when we could not. Let's listen to them and work together to get them the resources they need to do their work safely. We must commit to making the changes needed in our social resource systems to support the needs of our youth beyond the finite capacity of our school systems and our overburdened teaching professionals. Teachers are partners in our communities’ successes and failures. They are our neighbors, our friends, our family. They have worked countless hours to reach each of our students where they are. They have stood up to bullies with a compassion and conviction for what is right and fair. Not for one, but for all. Teachers need us parents to work together to move beyond the division in our districts and recommit to building our future safely, as partners alongside them. We are in this together.

Teachers need us parents to work together to move beyond the division in our districts and recommit to building our future safely, as partners alongside them. We are in this together.

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