Educators push back against online teacher shaming

Piling up during a pandemic – teachers say they are being targeted while facing the added pressure of starting a new school year remotely.

“It’s hurtful and we take it personally,” said Berea City Schools Superintendent Tracy Wheeler.

Many are now coming across comments and posts shaming educators on social media.

“Teachers aren’t doing enough work, they should be paid because they’re doing our job,” said Berea Midpark High School math teacher Carrie Rice.

After a spring full of thanks and appreciation from parents who took a crash course in parenting, this about-face adds to an already stressful situation.

“There’s quite a misperception,” said Nick Doehr, an intervention specialist at Berea Midpark Middle School.

Just months after receiving accolades, educators are reading comments online that they are being lazy or are treating their time without children in class like an extended summer vacation.

“There are many hours of preparation. There’s this thought and perception that we don’t want our kids in school, but we really do,” Doehr said.

Doehr said general frustration over the pandemic is fueling the flames.

“It’s totally understandable,” Doehr said.

But instead of targeting teachers, Doehr wants parents and community members to hit the pause button.

“That’s really what we need right now is grace and understanding and empathy because we’re all going through a really tough time,” Doehr said.

Rice would like that frustration to be redirected.

“It may be applied to people it shouldn’t be applied to,” Rice said.

Rice said his family, friends and neighbors have been supportive and know the struggles.

“Social media, on the other hand, has often been the opposite,” Rice said.

Rice said the past few months have been anything but vacation as she and her colleagues scramble to make distance learning as successful as possible.

“We have worked hard this summer, and especially in the last few weeks. Probably harder than ever before,” Rice said.

Berea Town Schools Superintendent Tracy Wheeler asks her staff to try to ignore negative feedback.

“They’re not home on vacation,” Wheeler said.

Plus, she doesn’t want teachers interacting with those who post them.

“We’re not who you think we are, and you have to give us a chance to do it the right way,” Wheeler said.

Ultimately, these educators said they were on the same page as frustrated parents.

“Families, we want your kids back in class just as much as you do,” Doehr said.