I don't even know how to put into words how I am feeling.
I don't know how to adequately explain my calling.
When I signed that contract, I resigned.
Students became my cause. Their potential, my fight. Sacrifice is on my job description.
Taking on the role of "teacher" has never been taken lightly. My work has always been essential.
Like the firefighter who runs to the fire. And the police officer who faces the demons.
Just like the doctor who doesn't rest and the soldier who battles, I abandon self.
Risk won't stop me.
Just like the firefighter won't run from flames or the police officer won't cower in the corner, the doctor's hands won't pull away and the soldier won't desert his commands, I won't forsake my mission.
I won't distance myself from....
My students with disabilities, who need the magic of my classroom.
My students facing abuse at home, who need the sanctuary of my classroom.
My students with economic disadvantages, who need the tools of my classroom.
My students with mental illness, who need the security and stability of my classroom.
My students with constant access to dangerous media, who need the people in my classroom.
My students with growing addictions to porn and food, who need the accountability in my classroom.
The despair that comes from being taken out of the classroom has taken its toll.
This distance feels like an abyss.
My students in need are crying out. When I run into them in the grocery store or at the coffee shop, their arms wrapped around me tight and the look in their eyes tell me "Teachers are essential".
The doctor's mission is in the hospital.
My mission is in the classroom.
And before you tell me it's too dangerous, do some research...
*The amount of deaths from COVID under the age of 15 in Florida.
*The amount of deaths from COVID in the age range of 15-24 in Florida.
*The amount of suicides from the age of 11-24 in Florida.
*The rise of abuse cases in hospitals in Florida.
*The amount of students with confirmed mental health diagnoses in Florida.
And talk to the students at risk. They'll tell you.
My classroom is essential.
Their future depends on it.
Disclaimer: The data of deaths from COVID show underlying health conditions that coincide negatively with COVID. For teachers at risk, I know their families are in a very tough season and I trust they will make the choice.