In response to Esther Cepeda’s Sept. 2 column, “Short-timers may teach us something”: My husband and I are the parents of five daughters, all of whom are teachers. Four teach locally, one in Tennessee.
Our four local teachers span the educational arena from kindergarten through junior and senior high school. Our Tennessean teaches 5th-6th grade. Not one of them has a workday any different from that described by Cepeda. All have dedicated their lives to education, with teaching experiences from 17 to 28 years. They may be long-timers, but they all know each of their students by name and living conditions.
They arrive early and stay late. They lead chorus, California Junior Scholarship Federation, youth leadership training, debate teams, coach, serve as athletic director, sit on curriculum committees, attend trainings, are master teachers, open their arms and hearts for tutoring, meet students during their lunch periods and teach in classrooms that are filled to bursting with students who have incredible needs, such as parents in prison, are homeless, abused, have ADHD, and on and on. They, too, annually dip into their not-so-deep pockets for those non-reimbursable supplies ensuring their classrooms are welcoming and encouraging learning environments.
Are we proud of them? You bet! They are not atypical of many long-time teachers. One wonders why Cepeda feels the need to assail “long-timers” 10 years after she left the teaching profession. Her sweeping generalizations seem to indict all long-time teachers. Has she visited a classroom lately? Does she know what is happening in today’s schools, where students and teachers are succeeding in spite of overcrowding and ever-changing requirements? Her lens might change.