An Open Letter To Michigan Teachers Amid Statewide Shortage
We all have at least one teachers that touched our lives in one way or another. Maybe they gave us a chip on our shoulders that pushed us to be better. Maybe it was a teacher that believed in you when no one else did. Maybe it was a teacher who just was doing their job but led you to discover a passion of yours.
No matter what, each and every one of us has had someone in our lives that was a teacher or at least a "teacher-like" figure who helped shape us into who we are today...and now, conversations are coming to the forefront about how they deserve better.
What Teachers Mean To Me
I have always been the kind of person who gets very attached to people who come into my life.
I can tell you every teacher I had throughout my elementary years and a personal conversation or relationship I had with each teacher I've had since. Even in college, it was hard for me to adjust to having professors who I just couldn't have those deeper connections with.
My kindergarten homeroom teacher, my fourth grade teacher, my high school English teacher who helped me find my passion in journalism and broadcasting, my college professor and mentor who to this day helps me navigate the radio industry...all of these people and more have helped foster who I am today outside of my personal life and put me on a path that I can be proud of.
Now, I have a best friend who is a preschool teacher and she helps me have a better understanding of what children need and shows me just how much making important connections early can make a major difference in a child's life.
There are so many teachers in Michigan, hopefully some of you are reading this now, have changed my life in incredible ways and I know I am not the only one.
Teacher Shortage In Michigan
Teachers, I know how hard your job can be and how hard it is...especially in a pandemic that is still ongoing today. I know that job can only be made harder as our state faces an ongoing shortage of those willing to take on the challenges that come with your profession.
According to WILX News 10, "The Michigan Education Association, the state’s largest teachers union, says enrollment in Michigan’s Colleges of Education has dropped 50% in the last 15 years. Current teachers say their passion is what keeps them in the field."
That right there, what they say about passion, is what I see in every teacher that has ever touched a child's life.
I know that the pay and the high cost of a degree, also cited by WILX as a reason for the shortage, is reason enough to give up...but you don't and it's so appreciated by the people who can sit back and acknowledge everything you have done for us and for the children of Michigan.
WILX reports the burnout you all face is part of the reason many teachers leave the profession within the first five years and it is something I see in all the other friends and family I have in my life.
Thank You For Pushing Through
The burnout, the annoying, angry parents, the crappy pay, everything that you deal with on a daily basis, it may often seem like it's not worth it anymore, but you keep going.
I fully believe teachers are special people and teachers in Michigan really are the best of the best.
One of my dreams in this life is to have as fulfilling of a radio career as I can and go back to teach other people that their dreams and their passions are possible and teachers are truly the first step in all of that.
You give yourselves so much, no matter the lack of recognition, and while that is disappointing, you push through and it is endlessly admirable.
All in all, thank you to all teachers and all who work in the education profession.
You and the work you do are the backbone of this country, preparing each and every generation for what is to come. It's not about what the state says people "need" to know (or rather, memorize, in order to pass) and more about what the individuals need from you in order to succeed.
That is why you are so appreciated and why I, and many others, will always fight for you to get the recognition you deserve. You have been through the ringer and there are many people, myself included, who will never forget the sacrifices you've made.