— Rich Polk/Golden Globes 2024/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Paul Giamatti took home a Golden Globe Award for Best Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical/Comedy at the 81st award show on Sunday, January 7, 2024 — and his win, in which he portrayed Paul Hunham, a crotchety prep school instructor at a boarding school in The Holdovers, came with an unexpected — but necessary — awards dedication.

In his acceptance speech — after praising his son and girlfriend and others — Giamatti dedicated his award to the real teachers of the world.

“It’s a movie about a teacher. I play a teacher in it. My whole family, they are teachers. All of them, going back generations,” Giamatti told the crowd.

He concluded: “Teachers are good people. We’ve got to respect them. They do a good thing. It’s a tough job. So, this is for teachers.”

Giamatti is not wrong: teaching is a tough job that has only become tougher over the past few years — particularly since the onset of March 2020. But the pandemic didn’t start a crisis — rather, it unveiled one that had been decades in the making. Decades of budget cuts to our public schools have led to understaffed schools staffed by teachers who are underpaid and overworked — and budget cuts to social services outside of schools often mean that teachers are doing far more than teaching in the classroom.

“What’s really happened over the past few decades, as we’ve increased poverty, increased inequality, increased diversity in our school systems and resources, not only for schools but across the board, is that we have also decimated social safety. Schools are now kids’ sources of food, clothing, social services, counseling, laundry, you name it,” Dr. Elaine Weiss, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute told Fatherly in 2020.

That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and in the meantime, teachers have left the profession in notable numbers — data shows that there aren’t enough people in training to enter the profession. Actors like Paul Giamatti may just be pretending, but the crisis is very real.

The Holdovers is streaming on Peacock.