Much of what teachers do is outside the confines of the classroom and is rarely noticed or appreciated.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on January 26, 2022. It has since been updated.
Every country's future is molded at the hands of its teachers, and there's no understating their importance to the community and to every individual kid. The pandemic has been incredibly hard on all of us and even more so on kids and parents, but it has seen many develop a newfound appreciation for teachers and the work they do. Katie Peters, a high school educator, posted a TikTok video recalling all the things she did in a single day and it highlights how teachers go above and beyond the call of duty on a daily basis. From helping a student find housing, food and guiding a new student to a classroom so they feel supported, Katie Peters did it all and more. Peters was responding to a snarky comment about teachers returning to in-person teaching, but she used it as an opportunity to enlighten everyone about how much more teachers do than just 'watching the kids' on a daily basis.
She started the video by listing all the things she did to help her students at school. "Today I taught for six periods and I subbed on my planning. I helped a young man find safe housing. I found a winter coat for a girl who didn't have one. I located a student's missing backpack. I gave a student a little bit of cash for a haircut and made sure a student had enough food to last them through the weekend," she said in a video that has been viewed more than 2.4 million times and garnered 316k likes.
Peters highlighted a lot of what teachers do is often outside the confines of a classroom and things that are not listed in their job profile. "I listened to a lengthy story about a puppy. I sat with a young girl dealing with cramps and helped support one of my male students dealing with his first heartbreak. I walked a new student to her next class so she didn't feel alone. I saved an art project with super glue and I wrote a card to a student who was struggling," she added.
She pointed out that school ends for students at the bell, but never for teachers. "After school was over. I ran to a meeting, then tutored a student and rushed back to my classroom to write a letter of recommendation for college, for a student who asked me for it today, and the deadline is tomorrow. I came home after that and spent four hours lesson planning. Fun, inviting, exciting lesson plans that could, at the drop of a hat, need to go virtual without any warning," she said, pointing out how they've had to adapt during the pandemic.
She said every teacher became a teacher because it's what they love doing. "I don't want a single accolade. No teacher I know wants a pat on the back or gratitude. What they do need is grace. I want you to know, in your child's school, 30-50 teachers and support staff did that today. And will do it again tomorrow. It's what we signed up for. It's what we love. It's what makes us fulfilled," she said.
She said it was the opportunity to love kids and be there to guide and help them that motivates teachers to go to work every single day, even if others didn't respect that. "It's also why we're tired. I read online in a community forum the other day, in regards to my district going back in person: 'Oh it's nice the teachers have decided to work again.' And I felt something inside me shatter. I would encourage you to recognize that even if you believe that teachers and education staff are not working the hardest they've ever worked in the last two years, know that nobody in the history of ever has been motivated by ugly. Loving kids is the purest form of beauty that exists and it's always going to beat your ugly," she said.
Fellow teachers and other people lauded Katie Peters for speaking the truth about the work teachers put in, and the hectic lives they lead. One person wrote, "Everyone should substitute teach just one day and maybe they will appreciate and respect. Not for the weary, FOR SURE." Another commented, "Yes!!!!!!!! No one has a clue what we do in a day!" One person perfectly summed it up as they addressed Katie Peters, "There’s good in the world and it’s you. Thank you."
You can watch the video here:
I wish I had more teachers like you growing up. You will forever be one of my favorites even though I was never really YOUR student. I love seeing your passion for what you do every single day— it truly inspires me! Thank you for being you!— mal (@malakabdo96) January 21, 2022