As in every profession, there are people who are teaching who may not be the best at what they do. Some teachers may need more social skills, or organization skills, etc. And I admit that I didn’t really understand what it takes to be a teacher until I became one. I don’t have my credential, and I thought myself completely unqualified, but I’m actually pretty great at teaching.
There is nothing that makes anyone go into the teaching profession except a love for children and a desire to educate. There is no monetary or social status motivating factor. I made 22, 000 dollars last year, and besides occasional discounts at Michael’s and Old Navy, I’m pretty low on the totem pole of awesome professions. There are probably a lot of cool jobs that make a lot of money that I could be working at right now, but I’m choosing to teach, because I see value in children and value in their education. I love seeing their lightbulbs go off, and I love the challenge of dealing with their multiple personalities and attitudes and various blood sugar levels. That’s why I teach. That’s why many young, talented, educated people teach.
I don’t get the paper and I usually ignore the news these days. But there is some really frustrating stuff being said on the news about teachers and wages and all that right now. I could get reeeeally fired up about it and write a reeeeally long post. But I know a lot of the teacher hating from the public is rooted in anger in general towards people who have jobs. This gets fueled by news stations trying to get ratings, and I understand that. But the issue of education and America’s future is really close to my heart. And so I have to say this:
Teaching is hard. Teaching is really hard, and it is really important. It is VITAL. If we continue to cut their wages and jobs in the education budgets, it won’t just affect the lives of teachers. It won’t just affect the fact that we won’t be able to attract young, innovative talent to the teaching field, because they could make several times more in almost any other occupation. It won’t just affect the fact that there are hardly any males in the teaching profession, because you can’t support a family on the wages. I think the extremely low number of male teachers is truly sad, because so many of our young boys and girls desperately need a positive male figure in their lives because so many grow up in single mother homes.
Cutting education budgets most directly effects how many days and hours our youth spends in school. If we continue to decimate the school calendar, fire off young and excited talent, and let go of the extra-curricular programs of PE, art, drama, music, sports teams, so vital to developing social skills and providing positive outlets for creativity and energy, the language programs that expose our children to other cultures, then our nation will continue to decline. I predict a rise in petty crime with the end of high school sports and arts programs. A rise in drugs and alcohol abuse among minors. A rise in teenage pregnancy. A rise in cyber-bulling and all kinds of crazy things that happen when kids spend too much time indoors and online.
If we do not educate our children, if we do not place value on the process AND on the teachers who provide it, who encourage the spirits of children to grow and to find their talent and purpose in this world, we will raise generations of narrow-minded, uncreative, undereducated, obese Americans, who can only communicate via text message and facebook. We will not be able to compete in the world. We think the US economy is tanking now? Just imagine. It makes me lose my breath to think about what public schools and our nation might look like in the future if this continues.
I’m not claiming to have any answers for the economy. I know a lot of people are going through really hard times. But I do know what if we cut education, our future economy will suffer even more.
Of all the areas in our society we want to blame, question, reevaluate and stop funding, is the right choice our children’s future? Their brains? Their talents?
So, Fox News reporters, who are making anywhere from 400,000 to 7 MILLION A YEAR, next time you want to rile people up by saying that that teachers are “rich” and should be making sacrifices for their nation to get us out of the decline, I dare you to admit what your own salary is.
And then I dare you to go into a classroom and try to teach something. Walk a mile. See if “just anyone” can do it. See if all the prep, grading, emails, parent conferences, profession development, curriculum planning, department meetings, discipline meetings, et al really make teaching just a “part time job.”
Believe me, after the experience, you’ll be more than happy to pay someone else to do it.
Check out some great articles about the subject:
Truth-o-meter: Fox News on the teachers wages
Jim Wallis, a Christian leader for social change, comments on the teacher debate
And thank you Jon Stewart, for making us laugh at it all.
Love, Miss W.
March 10, 2011 at 12:56 am
Kudos to you! It has always astounded me that we pay people more money to fix our toilets than we do to teach our children. I went to school for elementary education. I have my BA in El Ed and Spec Ed, but I left the profession. It wasn’t because I didn’t love my kids or teaching, because believe me, I did. It wasn’t even because of the money. I couldn’t handle the politics. A lot of it had to do with NCLB (which started right after I graduated, so I had no preparation for it). A lot of it had to do with a supervisor who thought it was not just okay, but a really good idea to cut my kids from 5 days of services to 2 instead of fighting to hire another resource room teacher. I put my passion for teaching into my daughter’s education now, but I still truly miss the classroom.
March 17, 2011 at 1:04 pm
Thanks for stopping by and reading! Education and the politics and budget really is a tricky thing. Sounds like you’ve found a place to make it work for you.