May 7, 2021

Stu Egan: Dear Supt. Truitt – About That Rather Empty “Note Of Praise For Our Teachers”

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Stu Egan is an English teacher ion North Carolina, where he writes at the blog Caffeinated Rage. He responded this week to the North Carolina education chief’s attempt to send out an uplifting Teacher Appreciation Week message. It’s a reminder that teacher support is much less impressive when you only perform it one week out of the year.

Supt. Truitt,

I read the open letter to teachers you recently posted on entitled “A note of praise for our teachers” and I tried to appreciate your words during this Teacher Appreciation Week.

You are right; this school year has been like no other. This pandemic has been unprecedented. Teachers and other educators have been incredibly taxed physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally.

But as the years in my public school teaching career continue to increase, I tend to measure good wishes and well-meaning intentions that a week like this invites against those actions and words heard and seen throughout the rest of the school year.

And I am having a hard time being able to match your words in this nice open letter to teachers with previous statements and stances.

There was the repeated use of the words “you” and “yours” to introduce laudatory statements and give teachers possession of successful outcomes of these past 14 months.

When I read those words, it is very hard to not remember other words you have said, words that you could have said, issues that you could have addressed, and actions that you have done and not see more than a stark contradiction.

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