Teaching Starts With Teachers
The question keeps being asked about how we can improve education in America. The answer to that starts with teachers. It doesn’t mean asking more of them, since we ask too much of them already. It means giving more respect to the profession in the form of pay and how we treat it.
Being a teacher used to be a profession one would aspire to hold. Now people generally don’t want to be teachers, unless in a college or university setting, for the simple fact that the pay in public education is lower than it should be and teachers are often blamed when students don’t perform as well as parents want them to. Education as a whole needs more funding, but it starts by paying teachers what they deserve to be paid since they are training the makers of our future. By raising the pay, it creates more competition. It is by doing this that you get better teachers.
Also, an education degree should be more about teaching grades below middle school, and the training to teach high school and middle school students should be more about the subject the person will teach combined with how well they can inspire and motivate students. Teachers in middle school and above normally have a specialty. The more they know about what they plan to teach the better they can inspire and motivate their potential students.
The main thing harming the profession is that it keeps being treated like it is just a little better than working in retail or like some glorified babysitting job. Yet, teachers have a harder workload than one of those jobs. I’m not a teacher, but I know the basics of what goes into teaching, and that alone is more than what goes into working retail, fast food, or babysitting.
We ask teachers to plan lessons, grade assignments, make sure kids eat at least once a day, spot abuse, make sure kids are safe, and learn what they need to know (even things that parents are supposed to teach). Yet we pay them peanuts compared to what we ask of them and treat them like babysitters that don’t do a good enough job when the students don’t perform. I can understand if a student needs something to help them learn better, but if the parents or student don’t say anything, we can’t expect the teacher to be a mind reader and materialize the solution out of thin air.
For a workload like that, not even counting all the extras teachers do that they shouldn’t have to, they should be paid a lot better. They should be making the type of money that is defining what is becoming the new middle class. And, I don’t mean what we keep fooling ourselves into thinking is still middle class. Yes, teacher salaries have doubled since the 80s, but so have living expenses. We flat out blame them instead of the student now more than before as well.
Maybe now you might think a little harder about saying something when someone says something about teachers as a profession being overpaid.
*Tips his hat and walks out the door*