My first reaction when I saw this article was that it would be about giving advice on how to teach, or criticizing their job. But worse, it was about the public belittling their own biggest heroes.
Yes, teachers are heroes. Most of you I'm sure grew up in public school, and if you didn't I know you had someone in your life teach you something at some point ,whether that be at private school, Sunday school, a homeschooled co-op, or even your babysitter. And anyone who has been in the position to teach in any fashion knows that it is a challenge, and even more than that, that most people certainly aren't up for it.
In today's developing society, teachers are getting more respect, and I am so thankful for this. Monetarily, teaching is a viable career and in a "good" district one can certainly make a living off of their salary. Unfortunately, many school districts that isn't the case, but hopefully that will change. This deserves to change because, as a college student, I can vouch for the quality of training we receive. Teachers have to graduate with a 3.25 GPA, almost a full point higher than other students need to graduate. We conduct three observances of classrooms, and an entire semester of student teaching, and we all specialize in Special Education as a part of our major, regardless of level or subject.
After graduation, the training doesn't stop. Those "random days off" public students enjoy are teacher in-service days, where teachers essentially go to school to maintain their training, and stay certified. Also, increasingly, to continue teaching within the same district for most schools, teachers need to obtain a master's (MA) within five years of employment. That means that before I'm 30 I'll need to have my master's, and so will everyone. This isn't typically paid for by the district, either, so the dedication of a teacher to their students comes out of their own pocket; something that isn't news to any teachers, but I'm sure many students never thought about how much their teachers spent on them before.
I'm not just talking about the legal quality control of teachers, I mean day-to-day- lessons. Teachers buy their own prizes for students, extra supplies, markers, decorations, and all of the things that help students have fun while learning.
And anyone who thinks teaching gets you free summers? They work overtime every day, and most weekends to grade and plan lessons, the districts don't incorporate more than three hours a day for this out-of-class work.
Unfortunately, people don't think of these factors when making ignorant comments, and I hope that those of you who have said these things, or thought them, will think more on that and respect teacher's jobs a little more.
The most frustrating part of the lack of respect for teachers is that someone in a corporate job, or who runs their own business, or who works in retail or food service think that teaching is something you should do for fun, because their jobs aren't. But that's not true. Teaching is rewarding, but it is a challenge. It is inspiring, but it is also frustrating. And not very many professions warrant less appreciation than teaching does.
After reading this article, my exact reaction was, "yes, yes, a thousand times yes!" I'm not a teacher yet, but reading those questions made my blood boil. Teachers provide kids and young adults with the tools and foundations they need to survive in the world. The one thing everyone needs to be saying to teachers is "thank you."
It is a heavy job that teachers willingly and lovingly engage in, but we need to recognize that just because it is something they are passionate about, doesn't mean they should be discounted for it. And anyway, as a parent or a student, wouldn't you rather have a passionate teacher? Because students in grades K-12 spend a very, very significant part of their time with teachers, and because of this, teachers have a very dangerous power.
They can make or break a student's life, and I know that you would prefer the former. Teachers are role models, inspirations, and even borderline parental figures for every student they come in contact with, and when they do their job well, they deserve a parade.
I think we should add something to this list. People need to stop asking future teachers questions like, "But you're so smart, why would you teach?" or, "everybody wants to teach these days"?
Someone who really, truly wants to be a teacher, and deserves the opportunity to touch young lives, will be the smartest people in our society, and the most passionate out of all the education majors.
Many people will get an education degree, and some of them will be employed by school districts, but not too many will actually teach.
To teach is to inspire, and there aren't many people with the capacity and skill set that this requires. Teaching is a calling no different than any other profession people aspire towards, and people need to recognize this, too.