Every major newspaper in the country covered our state’s special session last week and whether the editorial boards of those news outlets lean conservatively or liberally, North Carolina did not look its best in the eyes of the country.
Add to that the political posturing surrounding the possible repeal of HB2, the “bathroom bill,” which will occur on the heels of the most contentious gubernatorial race in history in which the first sitting governor who ran for reelection was denied that very reelection.
For more texture, consider the gerrymandered districts that will now have elections in 2017 and the Voter ID law that was struck down and you have a state whose government is working against its own people.
And I have not even mentioned all of the educational “reforms” that lawmakers without educational backgrounds have been pushing through in the name of progress like Achievement School Districts, Charter Schools, and vouchers, among others.
Yet, our students still need us. Their parents and guardians need us. The communities need us.
Even the very people in Raleigh who refuse to look at the very reflections of their actions in the mirror of society need us and despite what West Jones Street has done to public education here in North Carolina, you are more needed now than ever.
For those teachers in parts of North Carolina affected by Hurricane Matthew and the wildfires, you are part of the foundation and bedrock that will help put these students’ lives back in order.
For those teachers who teach in schools affected by poverty, you are the providers of the wealth of knowledge and the power of education. You may also be the source of strength and security for many of your students.
If anything, 2016 has shown us that our students need us more than ever.
Any teacher worth his or her mettle can tell you that students are some of the best psychologists in the world. If they sense that a teacher does not want to be in the classroom with them, then they will react to that.
Those teachers who value their students no matter the circumstances and act in the best interests of those students will gain the love and respect of those students.
The same goes for lawmakers and the citizens they serve.
Or it should.