Teachers are undervalued


Dalton Counts | @DaltonCounts11, Staff Columnist

Those who choose to become teachers are incredibly valuable in our society. While regular people see a room full of adolescents as a headache, teachers see it as an opportunity. I am, of course, incredibly biased because both of my parents have selected teaching as their profession. My eyes have seen them reap the rewards of the job, but have also seen the everyday struggles involved in education. As time goes on, I become exceedingly proud of my mom and dad. Not only because they have built a great life for my sister and I, but also for serving America’s future so diligently. Every day, I become more impressed with educators in general. Unfortunately, teaching has become an underappreciated career and teachers are vastly undervalued.

Whenever someone introduces themselves as an education major, there is always an audible “Oh, wow” in the subsequent conversation. This happens solely because we have been told that it takes a “special person” to devote their time on Earth to teaching. I cannot dispute that, because, as I have already mentioned, both my parents are incredible people. Nevertheless, I have become vexed by this terminology. What constitutes the traits needed to love, care and be patient with children? These traits should be found in every person on earth, but we reserve them for those who decide to become educators. Then we disrespect them, under-pay them and come dangerously close to dehumanizing them because they want to spend their life doing something few want to do. This dismissive attitude towards the teaching profession is born from systematic misconceptions. 

Just as in every other post, there are horrendous teachers: those who enjoy the job security, but not the verifiable rewards. It is from this insignificant minority that a pessimistic attitude surrounding teachers is derived. Ever since the beginning of their schooling, students assume an adversarial relationship between themselves and their teacher. It is important for us to note that this is not a two-way street. Teachers, especially those in elementary education, see the classroom as a team. These people attain four-year degrees to make a difference in the lives of children. Can you really hold the opinion that they want to be enemies with their students? 

School becomes a headache when educators become confined by the bleak atmosphere that surrounds their profession. When your job is constantly disparaged, it is easy to forget the focus of the operation: positively impacting students’ lives. We need to cherish the people who dedicate their life to this craft. According to the National Education Association, the starting salary for teachers nationally was around $39,249 a year. Funds should be better devoted to those who spend so much time influencing this country’s future. We as Americans shouldn’t just fiscally invest in teachers, we also need to change the stigma surrounding them. The opportunity to change young lives shouldn’t be viewed as a burden, but as an attractive life’s work. When this happens, we will see the benefits of having educators who are fully motivated to do their jobs. Then we can truly see how their hard will eventually change the world.