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Letter: Public school teachers are heroes

(Trent Nelson | The Salt Lake Tribune) Brad Asay, president of American Federation of Teachers-Utah, reacts to the county's vote against a mask mandate in schools on Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021.

On Sept. 23, I met by Zoom for 5 minutes each with 11 teachers in the Salt Lake City School District. These teachers instruct my two children, a senior and a freshman, at different SLCSC high schools. To an individual, these teachers were cheerful, optimistic, eager to talk with me about my child, and willing to do it all with 30 or more parents still on their Zoom schedules from 3:00 - 7:00 pm.

These teachers, and every public school teacher everywhere, are my heroes. They found themselves in a most difficult position last year because of the pandemic, and here they are again. Only in many ways, it’s worse this time around. One teacher told me she feels she is yelling all day to be heard through her mask, and her voice suffers, but she’ll do it gladly if it means teaching in person again. Another told me that teachers are regularly told " ‘F’ you,” and students routinely get up and walk out of class, but I could tell she keeps going because she loves what she does.

Thank you, teachers. There are parents who value what you do, who appreciate you, and wish we could wave our magic wands so that you never again have to wonder how to deal with that child who simply won’t wear a mask, or who is in class after having tested positive for COVID-19. There are students who are learning and benefiting so much from your wise words, and your example. Please don’t give up. We need you (more than ever).

Mindy Tueller, Salt Lake City

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