Pay My Teachers!

images-1Back in the day, we won’t say what day, I received a lifetime teaching certificate for all subjects, grades first through eighth. I am currently NOT smarter than a fifth grader in math. Years ago, Algebra I wasn’t taught at the middle school level and transferred as high school credit. Science didn’t dip into college level chemistry before high school.

Thankfully I don’t teach now, or I’d be forced to reveal how completely unqualified I am to have that lifetime certificate. Granted, I’m not up-to-date on my continuing education hours, or maybe I would have learned what I’d needed along the way to keep up with the latest standards in education.

Those who are in the field doing the hard job of teaching our children everyday are the bomb! Education is different now. Showing up to a classroom and teaching your heart out is such a small part of what teachers do. In a decent socio-economic area, where kids are fed and the family structure is pretty stable, it’s still very difficult and demanding aside from what happens inside the classroom.

The paperwork, the state testing, curriculum standards and all the individualized educational planning are a few of the additional things teachers are hit with. Dealing with pressure from administration regarding score rankings that determine fund allocations and accreditations is constant. And ya’ll, parents are CRAZY.

My kids are in private school, though I had one graduate from public school. Private schools pay is crap. I taught in private school, and while the state mandates and score ranks aren’t so much the issue, they want your blood. You are customer service, folks. You are expected to kick in from your own pay toward the school’s fund raising and athletics, work at ball games, festivals, attend evening functions after teaching all day and then spend your weekends and summers planning and whatever else is expected.

Much of the same is required from public school teachers as well, but the financial benefits are often better and your service might be a little more cut and dried. But the daily teaching environment is typically more challenging in public school.

Let’s talk student behavior. Both public and private schools, whether in a good or poor economic area have issues with discipline. Teachers have few tools at their disposal to aid them in dealing with bad behavior. Their hands are tied when it comes to discipline. The well-behaved kids can’t learn and the teachers can’t teach effectively with disruption.  Teachers aren’t the parents, and they shouldn’t be expected to take on that role. Whatever is happening at home comes out at school and affects everyone. And parents often shoot the messenger.

In poor areas, teachers have to worry about their students–whether they’ve even eaten, or will eat and if they’re living in a dangerous household. Homework, test scores and attendance seems almost less important in such cases. But again, school is meant for education. Teachers are meant to teach. Sadly, they don’t earn enough for what they do.

How important a job to be with children and impact them all day. I want those who are with my kids to be of the best character, the highest intellect and motivated to help my children succeed. How about people who actually like kids and love what they do? That’s a huge bonus. We have to pay these people to do one of the hardest jobs on the planet.

Public perception of “Teaching is easy, they’re done at 3:00 and have the summers off” is dead and gone. No teacher I know has it easy. Not a single one of them doesn’t work in the summer. None go home at 3:00 and forget about their job until 8:00 the next morning. It’s a full time job that barely pays minimum wage for a fully degreed, often master’s degreed worker.

Some teachers are bad at their jobs. Some don’t like kids. They should hit the road. Teachers should be held to all the standards to earn what they deserve, just like any other profession, but our education system is declining and our young adults are the product.

I wish I had an answer to all the issues surrounding this. But I do want to raise awareness that teaching ain’t what it used to be, folks.

Susan

2 thoughts on “Pay My Teachers!

  1. Your post is so true! I just left the k-6 world to move to adult basic education (ABE) and I ought it’d be different but I’m already seeing the same world you described creeping on up

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