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Contact Subscribe. Amy Kuras Monday, December 31, It's that time of year when parents give their kids' teachers a gift of appreciation for the hard and important work they do. A gift card or hand soap is fine, but what Detroit teachers really want from parents and their community is respect for their professionalism, more funding for supplies, and a willingness to advocate for larger issues that affect their ability to do their jobs.
Teachers have some of the most difficult, least appreciated jobs in the country. And while they're certainly underpaid, there's a number of other ways the city of Detroit, the school system, and the community can better support its teachers.
First and foremost, teachers want people to understand they are professionals with degrees — often advanced degrees — and deserve the same respect and pay as other professions. Teachers shouldn't be forced to follow a strict test-focused curriculum that stifles creativity and isn't responsive to the wide variety of kids they may see in a day, says Ivy Bailey, president of the Detroit Federation of Teachers.
Teachers went into teaching to teach. Parents can bring their own baggage when meeting with their child's teacher, says DPSCD deaf and hard of hearing special education teacher Nina Chacker. But she considers it her responsibility understand that impulse and work to build trust with parents.
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Teachers would like to see better pay and benefits, but also better working conditions, more fair evaluations, and sufficient funding to help kids who come to school with special needs. Support aimed at specific schools or teachers, such as social media fundraising campaigns, school supply drives, and the like are appreciated, but speaking up for issues at the school board and in Lansing would improve the lives of all teachers and the families they serve.
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Community members could also advocate for access to curriculum materials for special education students like the ones she teaches. Those address the real issues teachers face in a way no backpack drive can.
What happens in the school building affects teachers' ability to do their jobs, but so does what happens in the community as a whole. This biography of a living person needs additional citations for verification.
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