One of my heroines is a middle school teacher. She is one of the most dedicated people I know in any profession. She cares deeply about her students' learning and goes way beyond the requirements of the job.
Teachers require courage, commitment to the common good and a selfless dedication day in and day out.
Did you know that it was public school teachers in Norway who organized one of the few successful nonviolent campaigns against the Nazis in World War II?
When the Nazis invaded Norway, military defenses crumbled within days, and the new government ordered all teachers to join an association led by Nazi storm troopers. Among the new rules for schools:
In America today, it is underfunded classrooms, overboard mandated testing and lack of instructional autonomy driving teachers away.
In Florida, Nevada, Kansas and and Indiana teachers are quitting in droves.
In a school district in East Phoenix, Arizona, an elementary school principal keeps the toilets running. He's also the district’s director of maintenance. Teachers are doubling up on duties, but haven't had a raise in seven years.
In cities like Boston and San Francisco, teachers are priced out of housing.
San Francisco kindergarten teacher Rebecca Sheehan-Stross rents the dining room of an apartment in Oakland. The dining room. That's where she lives with no closet and little privacy. After a long day of teaching, she babysits to try and make ends meet.
Other San Francisco teachers have after-school jobs tending bar or driving for Uber. A few have lived in their cars or stayed in hostels.
Teachers in the U.S. obviously are not suffering like Norwegian teachers did under Nazi occupation, some of who ended up in prison camp. But the committed teachers who work hard every day for our children and the future of our country belong to this same sodality of generous commitment, caring and courage.
Thirteen-hundred teachers were arrested when they refused to return to the classroom. Despite harsh treatment, the educators held firm and continued to do so when nearly 500 were sent to Kirkenes, and Arctic concentration camp and forced to labor with Russian POWs.
Their journey started by cattle-car... "This was followed by a sea voyage, in conditions that horrified even the Nazi doctor who went on board…. The ship had room for only 250 passengers, but all 499 were crammed in. Many could not even lie down, though they were now ill with “pneumonia, gastric ulcers, asthma, bronchitis, hemorrhage and mental derangement.” ~Thanks to Peace Pledge Union, London.
All but one of the teachers survived, and their bravery gave hope to people throughout Norway. Finally the occupation government gave up and released them to go home.
You can read a Norwegian Prisoner's diary entries here...
You can read more about America's teacher shortage here....
You can encourage or thank a teacher by remembering her when you vote in local, state and national elections.
I'm fascinated to discover little-known stories from history. Stories of people and events that provide a new perspective on why and how things happened, new voices that haven't been heard, insight into how the past brought us here today, and how it might guide us to a better future.
I also post here about my books and feature other authors and their books on compelling and important historical topics.
Occasionally, I share what makes me happy, pictures of my garden, recipes I've made, events I've attended, people I've met. I'm always happy to hear from readers, in the blog comments, by email or social media.