MN Educators: Public Should Lend an Ear, Time to School Staff
Wednesday, May 10, 2023
As Teacher Appreciation Week continues, Minnesotans are reminded of the commitment educators bring to the classroom, and the message is coming from broader support staff.
This year's events celebrating educators come as lawmakers in other states place more scrutiny on curriculum. Certain parent groups also are ratcheting up pressure on school systems over "culture war" issues.
Kathy Kimani, school support director for Saint Paul Public Schools, said no matter the political environment, staff still have to endure long-standing misconceptions.
"Sometimes, I'm hearing things like, 'Well, it's easy to be a teacher, you only work nine months.' 'Oh, teachers, they're overpaid,'" Kimani noted.
She argued people need to realize teachers, social workers and other staff often obtain master's degrees and continue to learn effective ways to help students.
Recent Gallup polls show public satisfaction with the quality of education waning. Kimani emphasized parents need to believe in the skills of teachers, especially as they work with students still struggling from the effects of the pandemic.
Kimani encouraged parents to show their support, including becoming a volunteer at their local school.
"We have volunteers that come and help read with kids; mentors," Kimani explained.
If the situation allows, Kimani said parents can offer to bring meals for teachers during parent conference weeks. She added those small gestures can go a long way in making educators feel appreciated.
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