Dear Teachers: Get Back to School or Hit the Pavement

AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

Dear Teachers:

I’m not going to start out this open letter by praising you for all your hard work, sacrifice, or efforts. Frankly, I’m sick of having to qualify every single utterance about teachers and the jobs they do (or don’t do, as it were) with paragraphs of drooling praise just so everyone will know I don’t hate teachers. If you want to think that about me, I shan’t disabuse you. You are probably the type of person who thinks that any type of disagreement or criticism is hateful and you’ve drained enough energy from me these last few years.

Think what you want. I’ve put in my praises. Now is time for a little bit of tough love. So here it is, specifically for the Chicago Teachers Union that is refusing to go back to the classroom even with vaccines, but generally for every teachers union out there trying to pull the same shenanigans.

Get your asses back to school.

You are not entitled to your job. If you do not wish to do your job, quit your job.

One more time for the kids on Zoom…

YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO YOUR JOB.

It is perfectly reasonable for adults to feel leery of returning to work in a situation that forces them to be in close quarters with others.  It is perfectly reasonable to suppose that even a virus with a 99.6% survival rate still poses a risk to your own health. It is perfectly reasonable to choose not to mess with such an incredible survival rate at all and simply stay out of public life until a better solution is found.

These are all reasonable assertions and reasonable solutions should be reasonably applied by reasonable people in regards to their own situation. In other words — make your own choices. No one can blame you.

The problem comes when you make choices for me and my children based on your needs and fears.

The problem comes when you think your job is so important that you can have your cake and eat it, too.

You are not entitled to your job.

If you feel unsafe in the classroom, and you perceive that you are being pushed back too soon, quit. Go find a job that will let you stay home or one in which you do not have to interact with people physically. Be a dog walker. Become a writer. Train to man a suicide hotline.

LEARN TO CODE.

Nobody cares that you put years and thousands of dollars into your education. That was your choice, as was the decision to become a public school teacher. No one forced you or even asked you. If you cannot perform your duties because you feel threatened by said duties, quit. No one forced you to take the job in the first place, believe me, no one is going to force you to stay.

Your job is not sacred. You are not special. You get paid to perform a service. You have stopped performing that service and our children are suffering immensely. Not only does the science and data support a full and safe return to school, common sense does, as well.

While we parents have been watching our children break and sink a little more each day, you call us selfish for insisting they be allowed to return to school. You don’t care about my kids more than I do. Do you seriously think I would send them into an environment I felt was possibly fatal?

Your overdramatic hysterics have been duly noted and now roundly dismissed. Your lives are not on the line. Our children’s lives are, as witnessed by the skyrocketing suicide rates among isolated children. Not to mention the tragic proliferation of unreported domestic violence at-risk children are now suffering in isolation. You are their mandated reporters, yet you refuse to even see them even though that is exactly what you continue to be paid to do. If you cannot do your job that you volunteered for, go find another job that will help you to feel safer and let your post be filled by someone who is willing to perform the duties of a teacher and fulfill the requirements needed to earn a paycheck.

Get over yourselves. Your job is no more important than my job. Both of our jobs can be done by other people should we choose to leave said job. No one is indispensable. I taught my kids how to read, tie their shoes, wipe their own butts and make their own food. I taught them how to use the stove, how to be kind, how to reach out to those in need. I taught them how to care for other living beings, how to be responsible for their own choices, and how to live out the consequences of their own poor decision-making.

I did all that and I’m no one special. Parents like me do it every day. For those of us who can’t grasp algebra or the American Revolution, YouTube and Kahn Academy are free and very easy to use.

You’re not the most important person in the workforce. You don’t deserve to be permanently glued to your job regardless of performance. You don’t even deserve 100% peace of mind. That is for you to pursue, not your employer. Might I remind you that WE THE PEOPLE are your employers.

Again, if you feel unsafe, it is the simplest thing in the world to render a resignation letter and let some younger, healthier, more ambitious teacher take your place.

And please stop feeding us all that stuff about “for the kids” because we both know the kids are last here. The only people putting kids first are their parents and yet we are insulted and lambasted as morons and murderers by the people who keep getting our tax dollars to insult our intelligence on a daily basis. You’ve got it right there in your name — teachers union. Let us not pretend students factor into this discussion for you at all.

You’ve done nothing to deserve lifetime job security. Your job is just that — a job. A job you get paid to do so don’t lecture us about how important you are. There are a million people waiting to replace you.

We parents are sick of your stupid dance videos and protests and artistic representations of your “pain.” While you get paid to stay home we parents — rich and poor alike — are actually doing the hard work of keeping our kids afloat educationally while still paying your bills and ours.

You’re not special. Go to work or find another job. Enough is enough.