The last three days I have been thinking a lot about school. Mostly not on purpose, I am trying hard to enjoy the summer. It all started a few days ago when I was checking the newspaper online. I had been checking to see if there was an article on the first Jazz summer league basketball game. On the side I saw an article about a teacher and it had over 100 comments on it. It got my attention so I thought I would check it out.
As I began to read it was about a man who had gone into teaching, but decided he couldn't raise his family on that income and decided to do something else. He complained that teachers should make more money and should be valued more. That it was sad that he had to go and do something else just so that he could live beyond poverty.
As I read the comments I was surprised at how negative the majority of them were. About how teachers don't even deserve what they are getting paid now, one said the only reason he sends his kids to school is because it is free child care. They said that anyone could come off the street and put a video on. Anther mentioned that most teachers go into teaching only because they want summer off. There were many more, I was reading comments for about half an hour, but I will leave it at that.
There was a high school senior who said that he had wanted to go into teaching. He had had some amazing teachers and he wanted to give back. But after reading all of these comments and seeing how unappreciative and unsupportive everyone was, he had now decided against it. My favorite high school teacher, or at least one of them, said that he told his children not to go into teaching. Teachers used to be looked up to, respected. Now the parent is always right and the teacher doesn't know anything.
I know that the school system is far from perfect. I know there are some teachers out there that are not the greatest. I had my complaints growing up and also have some now as I am involved with it. I knew the pay wasn't great when I signed up, but I did it anyway. I did all this because I felt like it was what I was supposed to do, it was my call. I feel like I can make a positive change on the world.
There are days that I wonder if I made the right choice, days when parents call and complain when they have never set foot in my classroom. Then when they actually come and observe they think I'm great and are amazed I can do what I do. Even when I was in college other people in my program would question me as to why I wanted to become a teacher. (I figured at least they would understand). I was always near the top of my class and they said I could do anything and make a lot more money. I told them that they were right. I could do anything, I am pretty freaking amazing. What makes me even more amazing is that this is what I am doing. I love it! Teaching is something that works for me, and no, not anyone could walk in off the street and do what I do.
I know people might get sick of hearing teachers complaining about wanting more money and may have complaints about the school system in general. (Who in all reality doesn't want more money? Of course I am going to always be pushing for this, don't you at your job?) But I have met some of the most amazing people who are teachers. I have had some of the best throughout my life and a lot of friends that are currently teaching. I believe we are trying our best and that we really do care. Every doctor, lawyer, athlete, accountant goes through the public school system. Shouldn't you want the best? You get what you pay for and what you value.
Right now I think teachers, like several other professions, deserve a little more credit and respect. Let's work together to improve things, and most importantly, do what is best for the students. Sorry for my little rant, just be glad I waited two days to write this. I just feel like I am trying my best and nobody seems to really appreciate it. At least I can make a difference one class at a time. They seemed to enjoy coming to school and we learned a lot together. I guess I can't change everyones opinions, but I can make school enjoyable and worthwhile for my students.