Back-to-school season won’t be the same this year. Right-wing lawmakers continue to attempt, and in some unfortunate cases succeed, to pass legislation forcing educators to lie to students about the role of racism, sexism, heterosexism, and oppression throughout US history. Yes, the pearl clutchers are on the umpteenth leg of their Critical Race Theory Mass Hysteria Tour, even though it’s been pointed out that CRT is taught at undergraduate and graduate levels, not in K-12 curricula. Which brings us to an important point.
It has not gotten any easier for educators. If the pandemic was not enough, many are picking up the slack for unfilled job openings, riding on the fumes of burnout, and consequently, leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of COVID. Which goes to show how much they are unthanked and undervalued for all they do to nurture wisdom, curiosity, and critical thinking in students at a time when societal consensus at large would rather shepherd us toward an uneducated nation. We need to show up for them!
Remember those minutes-long social media videos of folks quarantine clapping for frontline workers? And for the medical staff and carers looking after droves upon droves of COVID patients? Do you also remember that most of the ones getting the applause were women? If our global health crisis has made one thing clear, it’s how much we depend on—and take for granted—the recognized and unrecognized work women of all cultures do to keep societies going.