WAUWATOSA, Wis. — A small, but loud group of parents and their kids gathered outside of Longfellow Middle School Thursday night, chanting in support of the district's teachers who spend the last eight months busy in the classroom.
Paul Fuchs, a father of a sixth grader in the district, said teachers don't get enough support.
“I think a simple thank you is extremely powerful," said Fuchs.
Fuchs said without his daughter's teachers, she wouldn’t have grown so much through the past year in her academics. He said these teachers pushed through so much adversity and burnout, not just in Wauwatosa, but across the country.
“We’re coming out of a really challenging time through the pandemic into the first full year of school, and we just want to recognize all the efforts and compassion and focus on educating and supporting our children they have provided us," Fuchs said.
Fuchs was a teacher — in his words — a long time ago.
He said he didn’t have what it took to continue in the profession.
The stress, he said, can be astronomically high.
“Every single issue that you can imagine that happens in a community shows up in a classroom," Fuchs said. "Teachers have to be able to handle those challenges, take them on, deal with them, and meet kids where they’re at so that they can educate them and prepare them as best they can."
Nikki Etter, who organized the Support our Schools Wauwatosa rally, agreed. Her husband is a teacher, so she’s seen first hand how much work goes into the job.
It’s why she wanted to put together this sign of gratitude.
"Being married to a teacher, I see how hard they work, I see the stress, the toll that takes, and I think it’s just really important," Etter said. "An encouraging word can go so far. You never know how far a simple, like a hand written note from a student means the world to my husband.”
And in a time when many teachers are reported to be resigning and leaving the profession early, these parents hope their teachers will see how truly appreciated they are.