Things are looking up. Schools across America are opening up, but now the problem is not so much the pandemic as it is a teacher shortage. According to news reports, more than 300,000 teachers have quit for one reason or another, retired or just left to try to figure out another way. A member of my own family, my son’s fiancée, is a teacher in Georgia, but she chooses not to return. She owns property and has residual income, so she’s looking for another way. Folks, it’s happening all around us.
The past few years have been a huge concern to the world as we experienced a modern-day pandemic. Our students had to leave schools, colleges and universities emptied out, and we all went inside, shut the door and turned on our computers.
This year, though, the Montgomery County Public Schools website shows the school system “will return to pre-pandemic classroom capacity and spacing. While the CDC encourages school districts to implement physical distancing to the extent possible, it cautions against implementing distancing requirements that would lead to the exclusion of students from in-person learning.”
We are going back to our face-to-face meetings. My sorority is holding in person our first meeting, to install our officers. We are back to what life once was three years ago. This is wonderful, especially after suffering over the past two to three years, and so much turmoil. Though we are able to go back to in-person learning, without wearing masks, with supporting documentation from the CDC, we now face teacher shortages instead. As the old saying goes, “If it ain’t one thing, it’s another!”
No orders from governors and mayors to stay inside your homes, but thousands of teachers moving on and doing something different, there still hangs a cloud of uncertainty of where do we go from here?
Last year, when school opened, we heard horror stories of massive numbers of kids infected with the delta variant of the coronavirus. Quarantine was nearly the order of the day.
Even with things appearing much better now, I still think of the Yolanda Adams song released in 1995, “What About the Children.” It seems to sum up our situation by saying, “What about the children/To ignore is so easy/So many innocent children would choose the wrong way/So what about the children/Remember when we were children/And if not for those who loved us and who cared enough to show us/where would we be today?”
It is my hope that our country will rethink the salary of teachers. Teaching must become a profession that pays much more and looks for methods to attract young high school students to decide that it is a good thing.
Now, it’s the beginning of a new school year, and we’re heading back to school for another year with so much uncertainty. First, is the pandemic really over or not? And will we find enough teachers for each school? It appears that things have gotten much, much better. With no mask mandates, and a pandemic that seems to have finally gotten better, we remain optimistic. Many have already gone back in other parts of the country, and are doing well.
It is my prayer that teachers and students will enter school buildings under the protection of our Lord and Savior, that each and every one will be safe as they come back, prepared to teach our children. Let us all pray, and think about II Chronicles 7:14, which says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”
As long as we have families in the world, we will need schools and teachers, because there will always be students for us to teach. Let us look to the future, and consider what will happen to our children in the future, over the next 500 years. If things keep going the way they are going now, we will be in even worse trouble. Let’s turn this thing around and treat our teachers better!
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. To reach Grant, visit her website, www.lyndiagrant.com, email email@example.com or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.