Olivia Handoko ’21 | News Staff Writer
On Feb. 11, Donald Trump Jr. made a speech that sent chills down my back. He had trivialized a profession I still hold dear to my heart in mere minutes. Thousands of people at the Texas border wall rally applauded his comment that motivated young conservatives to stay firm in their beliefs and stay away from “...these loser teachers that are trying to sell you on socialism from birth.” Though socialism has become a more popular political standpoint for young people today, you can’t say that this is because of what’s being taught at schools. But you could say that it’s disturbing how many of his supporters agree with his belief that teachers are “losers.” These very individuals who were raised by, nurtured, protected and supported by teachers had the audacity to agree that these people meant nothing.
To this day, never once have a teacher’s actions meant nothing to me. Never once have I blanked when asked, “Who is your favorite teacher?” and never did I hear a student say that they couldn’t think of one. A teacher always means something to us because we know that, deep down, these people are fighting a hard fight. A fight with a system that doesn’t treat them well, that they must deliberately ignore in order to stay true and kind to us. And because of this, their trueness and kindness stand out to us, starting from when we were children and lasting to when we are older. It is the trueness and the kindness in their teachings that continues within us all that we will never forget.
Only a loser would forget a teacher’s kindness. Donald Trump Jr. let down the teachers who guided him. He called them all “losers” on national television and meant it. He forgot what it means to become a teacher in the first place — a career of sleepless nights and constant disrespect. Many teachers work tirelessly every night to obtain the best form of curriculum for the next day, only to have to modify it to suit students’ behaviors and learning needs. Some of the preschool and elementary school teachers that I’ve met also work another job to sustain themselves and their families. Others have been disrespected by their own students, from jokes about how they look to jokes about being terrible teachers. I know, because I’ve seen these teachers break down in the closed rooms of their classrooms when school has ended. I know because they were my teachers. The people who taught us to be kind to one another had been treated with the very behavior they protected us from.
I will stand for teachers everywhere, even if Donald Trump Jr. and his supporters will not. For me, being a teacher means love. Being a teacher means instilling hope and having faith. It is the idea that one can give their all only to expect nothing in return because, in truth, teachers are often not thanked appropriately. Teachers are heroes who wear invisible capes, only truly seen by those who want to understand what they have done, and will continue to do, for all of us. To Donald Trump Jr. and those who look at their teachers with neutrality or disrespect, know that they thought of you outside of the classroom. Know that they still care even after being called “losers” because this type of behavior is a norm for them. To trivialize such a profession takes more than just ignorance. It takes being a real loser too.