As is the case every year, the men and women at TIME Magazine who select the Person of the Year will have no shortage of candidates in 2020.
The (likely not complete) list of who can be considered right now:
-Dr. Anthony Fauci, a steady voice of calm and reassurance during the worst of the coronavirus pandemic
-New Zealand’s prime minister Jacinda Ardern, whose down-to-Earth style and realism is in stark contrast to other (alleged) leaders
-China’s premier Xi Jinping, who continues to make his country ever more relevant on the world stage while retaining a authoritarian approach
-German chancellor Angela Merkel, who although nearing retirement remains the leader of the free world
-George Floyd, whose death reminded America of its systemic racism and often unchecked police brutality
-The protester, who whether located in the United States or Hong Kong remains resolute in denouncing efforts to reduce freedom while calling attention to oppression
-COVID-19, which, although not a person, disrupted the world in ways no human ever could.
Any and all can be described as a worthy candidate; and, yes, someone might do something over the final seven months of this year that ensures his or her selection as POY.
For me, however, the 2020 POY is obvious: the teacher.
Yes, I’m biased. I’m one of those teachers, so you may criticize me for being selfish in suggesting educators for this honor. But please don’t disagree that the educator must be in the conversation about worthy nominees.
I nominate the teacher because
- We had mere days to convert our teaching plans to remote delivery
- We had to juggle the necessity of academic rigor with the reality of our own (and our students’) limitations with technology
- Our work world flipped from exclusively (or almost exclusively) face-to-face instruction to remote delivery, ensuring we lost one of the most valuable teaching tools we have: high-touch interaction with our students
- We embraced our students’ anxiety and other legitimate mental health challenges, knowing full well many of those students were dealing with them for the first time and recognizing we had similar emotions
- We miss our kids, no matter how old they are; the teacher-student connection is one no other industry can match
- We made our students’ day/week when we drove past their houses to wish them a Happy Birthday or to just wave and say hello
- We often don’t have sufficient resources to do our jobs and the pandemic took away some of them
- Far too many of us don’t get paid enough to do the job in good times
- While we kept our jobs, many employees at our schools did not; there’s a healthy degree of guilt associated with this
- State and federal leaders retain interest in high-achieving students and robust standardized test scores and won’t accept a pandemic as an excuse for seeing those lowered
- Many of us had our own child(ren) to take care of as we taught our students
- We might have to do most/all of this all over again in the fall (and maybe the spring)
- Parents realized just how challenging our job is under normal conditions and how Herculean it is during coronavirus
The baker’s dozen reasons why the teacher is THE BEST nominee as TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year.