The Jetstream Journal

Filed under Editorial, Opinion

We Must Value Our Teachers

Sophomore+Katelyn+Lark+works+diligently+at+her+assignment.
Sophomore Katelyn Lark works diligently at her assignment.

Sophomore Katelyn Lark works diligently at her assignment.

Sophomore Katelyn Lark works diligently at her assignment.

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We are engulfed in an era of apathy. The urgency of education has never been more important and teachers are the foundation.

 When I was in the first grade, I had a teacher named Ms. Samantha Parks. As a child, I struggled with dyslexia and some learning hindrance. On her own time, Parks offered to personally tutor me before school almost every day.

As a child, I didn’t understand the degree of commitment of this gesture. This sincere act of dedication gave me hope and academic confidence.

Teachers like Ms. Parks put in extra hours to help their students, who are at a critical, impressionable age. These special educators are not paid for these extra hours; however, they may single-handedly inspire success, which is truly priceless.  

In reality, the starting salary of a teacher is a mere $30,000 to $50,000, about $ 15,000 less than the starting salary of an accountant. Critics justify this low salary by citing the generous hours of teachers who work only about 30-35 hours a week, and have summers off. But, this fails to take into account the additional time and resources teachers put into their job.

Cris Robson, an esteemed biology teacher, spends a solid amount of her own money on classroom materials, supplies and planning.

“I spend a LOT of money in my classroom.,” she said. “I spend thousands of dollars on my class every year.”

In addition, 91 percent of teachers spend the majority of their summers planning and working with no pay to ensure their students get the best education possible.

Robson explained that she spends an average of 12 hours a day working.”Good teaching demands it,” she notes.

This is hardly a “part-time” job; but, rather part of the job.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, average salary of teachers in 2015-16 is 2% lower than it was in 1990-91. Our economy is rapidly multiplying while our teachers paychecks are staying stagnant. This is part of the reason why teachers are becoming more and more sparse, and the hunt for dedicated educators is getting grueling.

As much as we would like to automatically increase the salary of our teachers, this does not change overnight. What I can ask is merely to increase the awareness and understand the utter urgency for education: to motivate teachers through better pay because they motivate us. When we consider what  our next generation will look like, we look to teachers.  If we are to be a society that values education, we must also value our teachers.

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We Must Value Our Teachers