High school teacher describes her day in viral video with a plea to give educators grace

Katie Peters shared a day in the life of pandemic teaching and pleaded for teachers to be given grace.

Teachers are heroes under normal circumstances. During a pandemic that has upended life as we know it, they are honest-to-goodness, bona fide superheroes.

The juggling of school and COVID-19 has been incredibly challenging, creating friction between officials, administrators, teachers, unions, parents and the public at large. Everyone has different opinions about what should and shouldn't be done, which sometimes conflict with what can and cannot be done and don't always line up with what is and isn't being done, and the result is that everyone is just … done.

And as is usually the case with education-related controversies, teachers are taking the brunt of it. Their calls for safe school policies have been met with claims that kids aren't at risk of severe COVID, as if teachers' health and well-being are expendable. Parents' frustrations with remote or hybrid learning are taken out on the teachers who are constantly scrambling to adjust to ever-changing circumstances that make everything about teaching more complicated.

Superheroes, seriously.


But as Toledo, Ohio high school teacher Katie Peters says, teachers aren't looking for accolades. They're doing the jobs they love, even though they're incredibly difficult right now. What they do need is for people to understand what a teacher's day looks like and to extend them some grace.

Peters' TikTok video describing what she did one day as a teacher in addition to the six classes she taught has been viewed more than 2.5 million times.

After sharing that she taught six periods and subbed during her planning period, she said, “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 and arranged for a Chromebook replacement for that student. I gave a student a little bit of cash for a haircut and made sure another student had enough food to last them through the weekend.”

She also comforted a student who had cramps, supported a student who was going through his first heartbreak, saved a student's art project with some super glue, walked a student to class so they wouldn't feel alone and wrote a card for a student who was struggling.

That was just during the school day.

After school, she had a meeting, tutored a student, then wrote a college recommendation letter for a student who brought her the request the day before it was due.

Then she spent four hours at home planning "fun, inviting, exciting lesson plans that could, at the drop of a hat, need to go virtual without any warning."

But Peters said she didn't want a single accolade. "No teacher I know wants a pat on the back or gratitude," she said. "What they do need is grace." She pointed out that doing all of these things are what teachers love to do and what fulfills them. But it's also why they're tired. The pandemic has made everything harder.

Peters said a piece of her was shattered when she read a comment in a community forum about her district going back to in-person learning, "Oh, it's nice the teachers decided to work again." As if teachers have not been working the hardest they ever have during all of the pandemic upheaval? Please.

"Nobody, in the history of ever, has been motivated by ugly," she said. "Loving kids is the purest form of beauty that exists—and it's always going to beat your ugly."

Well said.

Peters told TODAY that negative comments make teachers feel defeated, which impacts their job. “I’m not sure how much people realize that their words carry over into our ability to care for their children,” Peters said. “We need you to hold space for us and understand that we are doing our best given the circumstances.”

People loved Peters' honest and heartfelt account of what teachers are experiencing and what they really need from the rest of us right now. Grace. Patience. Understanding. Not ugliness or blame.

If anyone who isn't a teacher has something negative to say and thinks they could handle the job better, they are more than welcome to get their teacher training education and certification and try their hand at it. Otherwise, give teachers the respect they deserve and the grace they so desperately need right now as they try to keep their hole-filled lifeboats afloat with paperclips and a hot glue gun.

Teachers, we see you. We've got your back. Hang in there.

Moricz was banned from speaking up about LGBTQ topics. He found a brilliant workaround.

Senior class president Zander Moricz was given a fair warning: If he used his graduation speech to criticize the “Don’t Say Gay” law, then his microphone would be shut off immediately.

Moricz had been receiving a lot of attention for his LGBTQ activism prior to the ceremony. Moricz, an openly gay student at Pine View School for the Gifted in Florida, also organized student walkouts in protest and is the youngest public plaintiff in the state suing over the law formally known as the Parental Rights in Education law, which prohibits the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in grades K-3.

Though well beyond third grade, Moricz nevertheless was also banned from speaking up about the law, gender or sexuality. The 18-year-old tweeted, “I am the first openly-gay Class President in my school’s history–this censorship seems to show that they want me to be the last.”

However, during his speech, Moricz still delivered a powerful message about identity. Even if he did have to use a clever metaphor to do it.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

Actions speak far louder than words.

It never fails. After a tragic mass shooting, social media is filled with posts offering thoughts and prayers. Politicians give long-winded speeches on the chamber floor or at press conferences asking Americans to do the thing they’ve been repeatedly trained to do after tragedy: offer heartfelt thoughts and prayers. When no real solution or plan of action is put forth to stop these senseless incidents from occurring so frequently in a country that considers itself a world leader, one has to wonder when we will be honest with ourselves about that very intangible automatic phrase.

Comedian Anthony Jeselnik brilliantly summed up what "thoughts and prayers" truly mean. In a 1.5-minute clip, Jeselnik talks about victims' priorities being that of survival and not wondering if they’re trending at that moment. The crowd laughs as he mimics the actions of well-meaning social media users offering thoughts and prayers after another mass shooting. He goes on to explain how the act of performatively offering thoughts and prayers to victims and their families really pulls the focus onto the author of the social media post and away from the event. In the short clip he expertly expresses how being performative on social media doesn’t typically equate to action that will help victims or enact long-term change.

Of course, this isn’t to say that thoughts and prayers aren’t welcomed or shouldn’t be shared. According to Rabbi Jack Moline "prayer without action is just noise." In a world where mass shootings are so common that a video clip from 2015 is still relevant, it's clear that more than thoughts and prayers are needed. It's important to examine what you’re doing outside of offering thoughts and prayers on social media. In another several years, hopefully this video clip won’t be as relevant, but at this rate it’s hard to see it any differently.

Joy

50-years ago they trade a grilled cheese for a painting. Now it's worth a small fortune.

Irene and Tony Demas regularly traded food at their restaurant in exchange for crafts. It paid off big time.

Photo by Gio Bartlett on Unsplash

Painting traded for grilled cheese worth thousands.

The grilled cheese at Irene and Tony Demas’ restaurant was truly something special. The combination of freshly baked artisan bread and 5-year-old cheddar was enough to make anyone’s mouth water, but no one was nearly as devoted to the item as the restaurant’s regular, John Kinnear.

Kinnear loved the London, Ontario restaurant's grilled cheese so much that he ordered it every single day, though he wouldn’t always pay for it in cash. The Demases were well known for bartering their food in exchange for odds and ends from local craftspeople and merchants.

“Everyone supported everyone back then,” Irene told the Guardian, saying that the couple would often trade free soup and a sandwich for fresh flowers. Two different kinds of nourishment, you might say.

And so, in the 1970s the Demases made a deal with Kinnear that he could pay them for his grilled cheese sandwiches with artwork. Being a painter himself and part of an art community, Kinnear would never run out of that currency.

Little did Kinnear—or anyone—know, eventually he would give the Demases a painting worth an entire lifetime's supply of grilled cheeses. And then some.

Keep Reading Show less