During these past two years our educators have had a lot thrown at them. The constantly changing landscape of what education looks like was drastically altered during the pandemic.
The challenge to learn new digital platforms and engage students in the learning adventure has been stressful. Divided opinions about school attendance and the struggle for parents to juggle having students at home, work scheduling, and even losing jobs have also impacted the stress our educators have faced while trying to teach.
Many times, people have remarked that the learning system was being created as “the plane was in flight.”
I believe our educators play a vital role in our community as they teach and help shape our children into contributing members of our society.
Educators deserve our respect, support, encouragement -- and love.
In non-pandemic times their jobs are difficult enough, but what they have faced these past two years has been harder than many of us know.
As a pastor at Community of Joy Church, which has been the Faith Based Partner for Pinehurst Elementary School in Salisbury, I have had the opportunity over the past 14 years to support, encourage, and show appreciation and love to our educators. Part of that involves leading a before school voluntary prayer time for any staff that want to participate.
Since March 2020, that has been done via Zoom. In April 2021, I started seeing in their faces and hearing in their voices the weight of the stress they have been under.
I understand that many educators chose to retire early and others have left the teaching profession altogether. This pains me greatly. It is a real loss to our educational system and community.
And this is not a county-specific issue -- it is a nationwide, if not global, issue.
Out of my concern for the health and well-being of our educators I asked them in a social media post to share with me “what they didn’t have that they needed to stay in the game and what they received that was helpful in staying engaged in the educational enterprise.”
The resounding thing that stuck out to me was the value of little, frequent expressions of encouragement, support, and love.
Who doesn’t want or need to feel valued?
In the coming year, Community of Joy and I have committed to stepping up our efforts to love on and support/ encourage the educators at Pinehurst. And as a founding Salisbury Kindness Commissioner, I raised the need with our Kindness Secretary and Lead Kindness Commissioner, Grace Foxwell Murdock, who is leading new efforts we are launching in Wicomico County.
Educators, we see you. We value you. We need you. We are indebted to you.
We are grateful for how you have risen to the challenges that you have faced and have gone above and beyond.
Thank you for all that you do for our community as you teach our children. Know that we are here for you.
Please reach out if there are other ways we can support you. And please take care of yourselves.
Martin Hutchison is pastor at Community of Joy Church in Salisbury.