Respect and appreciate teachers

Dear Editor:

This coming week, May 2-6, is called Teacher Appreciation Week. In the Florida climate for public schools, where teachers are being accused of all kinds of nonsense and somehow grooming students to some sort of lifestyle while trying to teach more state standards than I can count, let me say I appreciate all the teachers trying to help children prepare for an uncertain world.

I know my two in high school have some great teachers. I personally know many teachers that deserve way more respect than comes their way. I have been doing some research on school methods and comparing countries. One thing rarely brought up is how much time teachers actually spend in front of their classes directing learning. This is one place we demand too much of our educators. I read about a few years ago and was amazed at the difference.

Lower secondary school teachers teach an average of 701 hours per year. The teaching time ranges from less than 600 hours in Finland, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Poland, and the Russian Federation to more than 1,000 hours in Argentina, Chile, Mexico and the United States.

Just imagine how much planning and collaborating teachers in Finland and others can do with 400 more hours to do it during the year. It may sound inconsequential, but teachers have to be on almost all day with kids. And that means always alert to anything that can happen to disrupt the class or cause children to be off task. It is the single most wearing thing I remember in my career. Why? Because a class or group can turn into chaos in an instant and you are always watching for signs and trying to keep them interested, engaged , on task, and somewhat under control. Notice I mentioned Finland. Recognized as one of the best education systems on earth.

I honestly think if most parents, or even better lawmakers, could sit in a class for a few hours they would come to understand the challenges and sheer energy it takes to deal with the diversity of children that walk through the door each day. We all agree that there seems to be more crazy people all over now days. Well, their children go to our schools. Think about it. Also, speaking for friends who have seen the evidence. I wish that while we await the new school to replace Southside Elementary that possibly the vents and filters please be given more attention because there is evidence of mold and mildew that seriously affects some staff and children.

Steve Acree

Brooker, Florida