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Teachers as targets? Not in this war

| December 13, 2020 1:00 AM

Hero is too bold a word, too important, to let it be diluted by overapplication.

But in the war against a pandemic, no other word quite lives up to “hero.” So we’ll use it in the same way we’ve always referred to our military veterans.

Front line health care workers are heroes.

Firefighters are heroes.

Police officers are heroes.

And, yes, teachers are heroes, too.

While military personnel, police and firefighters have always confronted death as part of their “jobs," health care workers and teachers have joined that exclusive club because COVID-19 poses a lethal threat through persistent exposure to the deadly virus. Who would sign up for that?

Well, dedicated people who put the well-being of others ahead of their own, that’s who.

We understand that it’s popular to pounce on teachers these days. But we stand proudly on the other side of that fence.

It’s not union manipulations that have led many school districts to lean heavily on remote learning during the coronavirus. It’s common damn sense.

The decision makers, volunteers serving on local school boards, are doing their best to protect students and district employees alike. The bet here is that every single one of them knows remote learning with children is an inferior product to face-to-face learning.

Think this through, please. Teachers get into the business in part because they love the interaction with children. They delight in seeing the light bulbs come on in their students’ eyes. They share the pain of their charges whenever hurt comes their way. And they do their best to put each student on a path toward greater enjoyment of and fulfillment in life.

You don’t get that sitting in front of a computer screen 8 hours a day.

Or by listening to parents and critics scream bloody murder.

The last thing good teachers want is sympathy, but what every good teacher has earned is understanding and respect. As has been said so many times, these are unprecedented times that, hopefully, will never be repeated so long as any of us live.

The pandemic is a one-off in a kind of hell, and the sole objective should be to get through it together with as few casualties as possible.

Critics, give the anti-public education rants a rest. And to the many citizens who value what our teachers are facing bravely in the most challenging of times to educate our kids and our grandkids, join us in saying to these dedicated professionals:

Thank you. A hero’s heart beats within you.