Amy Prime, who teaches second grade in Newton, Iowa, noticed that many of the teachers she knows and admires are counting the days until they retire or quit.

She writes:

“If you teach, you don’t need to get online to read these thoughts. You hear them every day as you pass your colleagues in the halls, at sporting events, at church and in the grocery store. Teachers who are close to retirement crunch the numbers to see if they can make it financially if they leave a year or two earlier. Newer teachers wonder if the degree they earned in education might transfer to another type of job.

“If we don’t stop, take a serious look at what we are doing, and make a huge change, then we will have destroyed a noble and essential profession. This is not imagined. The attacks on teachers have been steadily increasing.”

Politicians and pundits overlook the root causes of poor achievement and blame teachers.

But, says Prime, we must not give up. Teaching is a great job, a great challenge, and every day is different. Besides, she writes, the people she works for give her hugs.

Her advice:

“To veteran teachers I say: Don’t go yet. You were here before No Child Left Behind. You were here before threats of unfair merit pay systems and micromanaging. We need you to remember the good that went on in schools then and fight for the return of those positive things. Your experience and wisdom cannot be replicated.

“To the young people who want to teach I say: Don’t be afraid. Join us. Teaching is a calling that can’t be denied. But be prepared to stand up and fight for what you know is right and good for kids. Don’t close your door and do your thing while hoping no one walks in to see that you’ve strayed from the script. Instead keep the door open and defend your good teaching practices when questioned.

“Fight for fun, creativity and laughter. Fight for art and music and drama in your room and in your district. Fight for smaller class sizes and for time to plan and prepare great lessons for your kids. Fight for better wages and improved benefits.”

Thank you, Amy, for good advice, for a vision of better days ahead, and for encouraging your colleagues to stand and fight for what they know is right for their students.