COLLIN SPILINEK Fremont Grandstand

Since Thanksgiving, retired teachers have been giving Fremont-area school staff members treats as a thank you for their work.

“Nowadays, when a lot of teachers are leaving the profession because everything has changed so much and it’s so stressful, it hopefully makes them feel a bit better for at least a little while,” Ruth Register said. .

The Fremont Area Association of Retired School Personnel, of which Register is a member, is visiting 22 schools with baked or purchased treats through March.

After teaching physical education to elementary students in Fremont public schools from 1972 to 2010, Register became involved with FAARSP after her retirement.

The organization also expresses its gratitude to other organizations, including the Disabled American Veterans Chapter 18 Joseph CH Bales.

For more than a decade, FAARSP has been making Christmas and Valentine’s Day cards for veterans and also giving them goody bags.

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FAARSP originally launched its school staff candy program about 15 years ago, having to put it on hold for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We kind of developed it and improved it a bit,” Register said. “So we didn’t recognize one group as school secretaries or different things like that, so we made them school staff.”

Register, FAARSP members register for a school and a date to make the donation.

“And often people who sign up to go to a school want to go back to the school where they taught or worked,” she said.

Members then contact the school beforehand to find out how many staff members they need to prepare.

“They are responsible for making or cooking or buying whatever they want to say thank you to the school staff for all they do throughout the year for our community and for the school system and our young people,” Register said.

For its own giveaway, Register said it provided popcorn, M&Ms, nuts and cookies from local community businesses to teachers.

“It’s not a meal, but it’s just a little something to say thank you for all they do,” she said.

Register said the teachers enjoyed the treats, which she says, from her experience in a teacher’s lounge, disappeared quickly.

“When my members ask me, ‘Well, what should I take?’ I said, ‘Just remember when you were back teaching or working at school,’” she said. “‘What did you like when someone brought you something?'”

With teachers having had to go through so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, including changing teaching styles, Register said the treats are a way to simply show appreciation.

“And not on a special day, like teachers are recognized on Teachers’ Day or something like that or Education Day, but just in the middle of winter,” she said. “Just to get a little thank you and bring some stuff, it’s worth it.”

Even before the pandemic, the United States was already experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers in its schools, but the stress of COVID-19 increased the burden educators faced, leading to burnout and early retirements. Steve M. Matthews, superintendent of the Novi Community School District in Michigan, joined Cheddar to discuss the lack of teachers available to keep children educated. “I think the pandemic has only exacerbated some of the issues and kind of pushed the momentum towards a teacher shortage,” he said.

Mark Harman and Fremont High School students sing at the start of a 9/11 memorial event at Veteran’s Park.