The one fact that I would say is universally acknowledged about teachers is that they get very low pay. Whether we have had majority positive or majority negative experiences with teachers, one thing we all know and all hear about is that they do not make much money.
I never really considered being a teacher. I am a millennial, and similar to many other millennials, I want to choose a career in which I can make a positive difference in the world. Yet for some reason, until this year, being a teacher never crossed my mind.
In fact, my automatic reaction to being a teacher is that it is settling. It’s not using my skills to their full potential. It is taking an easy route.
I know that I cannot be the only one that feels this way. I really think that the perpetuation of talk around how little teachers get paid and the fact that we have all had bad teachers, turns young minds like mine against the idea of teaching. It is a downward spiral, because as teaching becomes devalued fewer people decide to take it on as a profession. This then leads to teacher shortages. Therefore, teachers have it even harder and cannot do as good of a job.
While this may all be obvious, and while we obviously do appreciate our teachers, I really think the discussion around appreciating teachers needs to be louder. It really worries me that I want a career in which I can make a positive difference, and yet teaching doesn’t feel good enough. Because when I think of it logically, over coming my implicit biases against teaching, I realize that there is nothing more honorable and meaningful. Education is the key to solving many of the world’s problems, and that starts with good teachers.
In high school, middle school and elementary school, I lacked the maturity to realize how much I should appreciate teachers and the incredibly hard work they do. I wish that someone had explained to me how valuable they are, instead of allowing me to take them for granted.