McDonald's offers free breakfast to teachers
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McDonald’s Is Giving Away Free Breakfast to Teachers. Yay?

McDonald’s is saying thank you to teachers by providing them with free breakfast from October 11-15. All you need to claim your prize is to show up during breakfast hours and present your work ID.

While this is a thoughtful and appreciated gesture on the part of the fast-food giant, it still does little to remedy the deep systemic problems in public education.

Never mind that your job has become so difficult, dangerous, and soul-sucking that it takes every ounce of energy just to get out of bed in the morning. Here’s a sausage McMuffin!

Who needs a competitive salary that matches your education and professional experience, some decent health insurance, and a retirement plan you can actually use to — you know — retire? Eat this greasy hashbrown!

So some out-of-pocket parent tried to rip your mask right off your face after a student ripped all the soap dispensers off the bathroom wall and Tik-Tok-ed your backside with them? Shut up and drink this orange juice.

As a former teacher who took a break from the profession after dedicating 8 years of time and my own hard-earned money to getting both undergraduate and graduate degrees to be able to do this job and then another 16 years to classroom instruction, I gotta say, thanks — like really, I’ll go hard on a sausage biscuit any day and appreciate the recognition — but this doesn’t have me clamoring to go back or make the deal any easier on my friends and colleagues still in the trenches.

Of all the jobs I’ve held in my life — and I’ve held a few — teaching is HANDS DOWN the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

And it’s not just the constant worrying about students and their educational and social-emotional wellbeing, the constant and everchanging directives from legislators and other leaders with exactly zero expertise in educational psychology, the constant after-hours work required to create meaningful lessons and provide meaningful feedback on student work, or the constant state of emotional and physical fatigue that comes with the profession.

It’s also the barrage of abuse from within the classroom, community, and country. The misperception that teaching is just working 8-3 for 9 months and kicking back to relax the rest of the time. The fact that many teachers across the nation aren’t even making a livable wage and need to take on additional work outside of teaching with what little time they even have left. The fact that educational inequities continue to exist, and solutions to address these continue to not. And the fact that the toll of it all has teachers leaving school buildings in droves.

That doesn’t mean teachers aren’t grateful for this slice of appreciation during what’s become a very dark time. Truly, thank you to McDonald’s for this generous deed. 

Now it’s time for policymakers and the whole of society to jump in line to effect change and offer their support as well.