“The nation’s top public health agency said Friday that in-person schooling can resume safely with masks, social distancing and other strategies, and that vaccination of teachers, while important, is not a prerequisite for reopening.”
— Associated Press, 2/12/21
Many teachers’ unions across the country are insisting that teachers be vaccinated before reopening schools. Honestly, I don’t understand my fellow educators. Did they forget that we’re superheroes? I mean, I have a bumper sticker, mug, and pencil eraser that says I’m a superhero. If novelty shops can accept this truth, why can’t everyone else?
As a teacher, why wouldn’t I sacrifice my unvaccinated life for my students? Blessed as I am with superpowers, it is my moral obligation to field sneezes and coughs so that parents can pee in peace and wear cute pants without the peril of getting covered in Elmer’s glue. Mere mortals can’t survive the perils of working with little humans.
Look at the poor parents drowning at home, pulling their hair out. They need a break. They need therapy. They need someone to serve them a bologna sandwich with the crust cut off, to clean up the mess after they paint their feelings all over the wall with chalk pastel, and to tell them they should be proud of their work.
Teachers, on the other hand, do not. We are David and this crisis is a Goliath that only superhumans like us can defeat. Victory calls! No, we do not need a vaccine first because there is no time to waste — the fate of humanity rests on our shoulders!
Come on, teachers, we can do this. We’ve done it before. COVID’s got nothing on the mental and emotional toll of psyching up our bodies to be human shields in the event of an active shooter. We have wiped noses, dried tears, and doled out hugs during flu season after traumatizing our students with active shooter drills. We have nearly exploded our bladders and sacrificed our lunch so hungry students could eat. We’ve sprayed down every surface with bleach until we saw double and perforated our esophagi. Just as Batman fights the Joker, and Spider-man battles the Elementals, teachers confront the black mold and asbestos that lurks in our classrooms’ walls.
Why do we do it?
We do it for love, free bumper stickers, and Facebook posts expressing how much everyone values us during this time while they send their unvaccinated children back to school. We also do it because we are modern-day superheroes who make on average $60,000 a year with six-plus years of higher-education debt and interest that we are still paying off.
So teachers, let’s buck up and stop crying about not getting vaccinated. Instead, let’s put on our capes, double masks, and face shields, and set up some plexiglass and a couple HEPA filter air purifiers.
Okay, maybe not HEPA filters — we can’t afford those.
Look, the world needs superheroes, and we must answer the call. It’s selfless work, but someone has to do it. Besides, just think of all the thoughts and prayers that will be lavished upon us.