Being a high school teacher comes with a lot of fear (includes multimedia content)

When David Gray began teaching 29 years ago, he did not expect that leading code red drills would become a part of his job. Yet he now finds himself teaching in classrooms where he tries to make his students feel safe amidst the ever-present threat of school shootings and violence.  

Gray, who teaches English at Miami Palmetto Senior High School, has felt the weight of his responsibilities as a teacher rise with each passing year. Mostly teaching freshmen, he seeks to build their confidence and help them transition from middle school to high school in a smooth manner.  

When COVID-19 forced schools to close and utilize Zoom as makeshift classrooms, Gray learned how to instruct his students and encourage them in the midst of a global pandemic. He thought that this would shift peoples’ perspectives on the importance of teachers but saw no changes. 

“I do not believe this country is 100 percent supportive of teachers,” said Gray. “It’s impacted my teaching career because you can’t do anything successful in fear. Teaching in fear, walking your halls in fear, waiting for your students to arrive in fear, it does put a damper on the profession.” 

Producer

Amanda Gray is a Cuban-American student majoring in digital media at FIU. She intends to pursue a career as a news anchor, bringing to life her passion for communication and advocacy. Gray has enjoyed extensive international travel and uses her global perspective to highlight stories and communities.