Opinion

NYC Teachers and Staff Deserve Better

Mayor de Blasio Has Been Causing Major Stress for Teachers and Staff

By: Angelina Salvador

A teachers at home office during times of remote learning. Credit: Anonymous Brooklyn High school Teacher

The summer of 2020 had everyone wondering about what would happen once the school semester begins in September (august for college students). Now it’s fall, and no one understands what Mayor Bill de Blasio is doing, leaving everyone and myself included, bewildered. 

Mayor de Blasio has constantly been going back and forth on opening and shutting New York City schools. This has left so many students, teachers, and school staff beyond stressed. 

A lot of teachers have expressed how they feel with de Blasio and his lack of clear solutions, if not no solutions, at every press conference he’s been holding. 

It’s clear to me, and a numerous number of others, think that these workers deserve so much better. They deserve options, clear answers, and safety from COVID-19. 

High school teachers have told me that things have been rough, which honestly is a huge understatement. I recognize the effort they put into creating lessons, now mostly virtual, and the struggle with communicating these lessons to students. 

A high school teacher returning to school for her fifteenth year of teaching, had explained to me that things are not going smooth. She expressed, “The semester has barely started and I consistently hear from colleagues that they are doing their best, but they are overwhelmed, have too many things to do, and are not sure how long they can hold on.”

She also explained to me that it’s been difficult for her and most teachers to hold on during these times. “I’m truly concerned about the emotional well-being of teachers. I’m hoping that we can collectively find better coping mechanisms, ones that are not detrimental for our bodies and our health.”

In a time where mental health is acknowledged more by society and our government, no one seems to understand the amount of pressure and an immense amount of work they have to put together for students. 

Another teacher had strong opinions on the Mayor’s decisions and constant changes, explaining the thing that bothers her the most, “is all the last minute changes, and teachers seem to be the last to know about them or we find out on the news at the same time as everyone else.”

I’m very displeased with the way he’s been handling things for our city. He’s been quite unfair towards teachers, staff, and even students, and doesn’t seem to be listening to the people. 

And when discussing the issues with these teachers, it’s crystal clear that they one hundred percent deserve more and a lot better. 

Yet another teacher has said that the de Blasio administration has been a failure, expressing his disappointment with the Mayor. Although he’s struggling with the Mayor’s decisions, he also offers a solution, “This could have been fixed by going all remote and the most vulnerable like Special ed with extreme issues, younger children, and children of essential workers go in.”

Despite other teachers having a hard time, he said otherwise, “working remote… it has not been so bad. There have been a few tech issues but we got through it. The students are trying as best as possible. It is a marathon not a sprint.” 

The amount of issues that have been occurring in New York City schools are real, and Mayor de Blasio isn’t doing a good job. We’re in a pandemic, and it doesn’t seem like he truly cares about the workers in the city who aren’t nurses, doctors, etc. 

I spoke with a lunch staff member of a Brooklyn high school who spoke to me about her stance on the situation, explaining that she has to travel to work, on public transportation, and through the current hot zones for COVID-19. 

The lunch worker said, “he’s (Mayor de Blasio) closing these schools, but all the lunch staff like me have to stay. How is it fair to us? Principals, teachers, paras, everyone gets to stay home and be safe. We have families too, we are concerned about our health. They take holidays away from us.” 

Although I understand feeding the public is important, what about the schools that have absolutely no one coming in? There isn’t going to be just one right solution to these situations, but it’s important that we protect the health of essential workers like teachers and lunch staff in schools. 

Looking at every move of Mayor de Blasio, there are no actual or thoughtful solutions to the problems the teachers and lunch staff are going through. We’re in a pandemic; it’s hard – but there are so many different suggestions that should be looked at. 

Positive COVID-19 results are rising, and it never was the right idea to open schools in the first place. The city should’ve stayed in lockdown longer and our officials should’ve started to prepare teachers and staff with better plans.

 

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