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Teacher shares powerful message ahead of back-to-school: 'I am so worried for our kids'

She is worried about the 'hatred, unsafe schools' and the toxicity of social media that kids experience, and wonders why no one is doing anything about it.

Teacher shares powerful message ahead of back-to-school: 'I am so worried for our kids'
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ Ableimages

A third grade teacher, Ali Levasseur, from Maryland, remembers an incident from the end of the previous academic year as she gets ready to return to the classroom this year. Levasseur, who will soon begin her seventh year of teaching, shared a stirring anecdote about scissors. "Last year, my entire grade 70 kids (give or take) had like 10 pairs of scissors total and if you know me, you know we are doing a project every other day, which usually calls for scissors," Levasseur wrote on social media. She continued, "On the last day of school, one of my students gave me a ziplock bag with 5 pairs of scissors and said he used his own money at the dollar store."

The story Levasseur shared is not just about the scissors, she says it's about how kind this generation is. "That's the thing," she continued. "The younger generations aren't getting 'worse.' The kids aren't getting 'worse.' We're just failing them. Kids are so inherently good and pure and wholesome." Levasseur then explained that kids "are like sponges" and mimic what they see. She says the kids see "hatred, unsafe schools and no one who's doing anything about it," and the toxicity of social media. "Just food for thought. It's only a scary time to raise kids because we're making it that way."



Levasseur told TODAY Parents she shared the story because she feels scared, devastated and worried. She says that some of her students who need love the most are her "students who have behavior issues." Adding that behavior is learned at home, Levasseur said, "Children mock, they are sponges who are constantly learning how to just 'human.' Right now they see division, hatred, a society obsessed with their internet presence." 



She strongly feels generations are now changing and also "are our priorities as a nation." However, to her, it is "painfully clear that our children and our schools are not a priority. School shooting after school shooting, completely underfunded and underpaid professionals, a push for raising data and test scores with no support or assistance getting there." According to a 2019 study, thousands of Americans feel "kids these days" don't have the positive attributes of older generations. According to a federal report, school shootings rose to their highest level in 20 years in 2020–21.



Levasseur said more and more is being placed on teachers' plates with the same pay and resources under a public education system that does not value the kids. The "force at which teachers are being pushed out of the career," she says, is what scares her the most. She noted that nine of her friends have left teaching in the past two years alone. A December 2020 survey found that teachers quit the profession, especially amid the pandemic as “stress was the most common reason for leaving public school teaching early — almost twice as common as insufficient pay.”



Levasseur told TODAY that the teacher shortage "is real and it is scary." As the mother of a kindergartner and a teacher herself, she has a few suggestions for other parents. "I strongly encourage (looking up) what your local district is doing to assist with the teacher shortage. These are the most terrifying findings of all — class sizes of over 30 students with (just) one teacher, non-certified 'teachers' being hired conditionally, (and) in some places college students who have never taught are being hired as teachers."



Levasseur claimed that even though she had known her entire life that she wanted to be a teacher, the field is now "unsurvivable."

"Teachers who are really freaking good at their jobs, who care so deeply and go above and beyond for their students, are the ones being forced out of the job," Levasseur said, noting pay cuts, continuing education and out-of-pocket expenses. Levasseur has set up her classroom for another year despite massive pressure. "I want to create a classroom that kids want to be in, to create a community that cares about each other, and to be the safe space for as many of my students as I can," she told TODAY. "Teaching is the only job that makes all other jobs possible."


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