DeLand, Fla. – Teaching isn’t just a job for Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown.

“I really became a teacher to instill hope and to be part of the change that is needed in our world,” said Dr. Shankar-Brown.

What You Need To Know

  • Dr. Rajni Shankar-Brown teaches future educators at Stetson University

  • She tells Spectrum News 13 teachers are wearing multiple hats, often feeling underappreciated in the community

  • She’s calling for unity and support towards educators both from families, as well as the government

But the professor and Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education at Stetson University in DeLand said there’s an underlying unsettlement for students looking to go into education, as well as educators already in the classroom.

“Teachers, including myself, educators are feeling a host of emotions right now. Anxiety is heightened, feeling sadness, overwhelm, fatigue, fear, and continue fear,” said Dr. Shankar-Brown.

The conversations she’s having in her own classroom open the dialogue of the new reality, she says teachers aren’t just teachers anymore.

“Teachers are having to wear a thousand different caps today, stretched in every direction. Having to protect children, protect their students from COVID-19, from mass shootings. All the while, I’ll just point out, not getting paid a fair living wage,” said Dr. Shankar-Brown.

Dr. Shankar-Brown is now calling for unity and community support for teachers who are on the frontlines of these types of mass shootings.

“Teachers should be able to focus on teaching. That’s going to take a lot of systemic and structural change. We have to focus on school safety, but that is a piece of a much larger journey,” said Dr. Shankar-Brown.

She’s calling on local, state and federal leaders to financially support current and future educators. She also hopes a partnership is created between parents and those in the classroom.