Updated: May 10
As mom's, we send our kids out into the world to go to school, to gain the knowledge they will need to be successful in life. We entrust our most precious resource, our children, to their teachers.
The work that teachers do is vitally important to the good of our society as a whole, because they shape the hearts and minds of the younger generation. Not only do teachers provide knowledge, they also provide caring relationships with our children, which teach them to strive for their best. Teachers are role models who provide inspiration for the future.
Teachers and other early childhood professionals have vital jobs that keep our society going, because in addition to teaching duties, they provide care for children while parents are working.
In addition to building crucial relationships and teaching lessons to the class as a whole, teachers have to differentiate learning to each child's needs. Kids have a wide range of ability in each subject, so teachers have to teach not just to the middle of the skill set, but help catch up students that are struggling, and challenge students who are ahead. Not an easy job, when you figure that most of them have to teach 20-30 students all day!
This year, with so many kids having to go to virtual learning, I think many of us as parents have realized that we can't do the work that teachers do. I remember trying to help my teenager with her statistics homework, reading several chapters of the book, excessively googling how to do the formulas, realizing that she had learned more math by the 9th grade that I know now, and finally telling her in defeat that she needed to read the book herself and ask her teacher. After spending two hours buried in that book and tearing my hair out, I can't imagine teaching my daughter math, much less a whole classroom of children!
This week, we are taking the time to thank all of the wonderful teachers that are in our lives for the hard work that they do every day! (Check out these videos for some examples of what you can say to your children's teachers!)
A friend of mine was a math teacher in an urban school a few years ago, and he said that he could barely teach the kids math because they had so many problems with gang violence and trouble at home.
Research tells us that children who have experienced traumas (like the experiences that my friend's students went through!) have to repeat a skill 60 times to be able to learn it, vs. the 10 times an average child has to repeat the same skill. Teaching children who live with trauma, poverty and violence is a daunting task that can cause an immeasurable emotional strain. Many teachers burn out and leave the profession completely, or transfer to schools in the "good" neighborhoods when they gain seniority.
The average teacher only stays in the profession for 3 years.
Part of the reason for that is the stress and the long hours, the other reason is the teacher salaries. Especially in early childhood, many of the professionals have to attain a masters degree, and are still making almost minimum wage. In K-12, new teachers can make as low as $36,500 up to $74,400 (Source: Salary Explorer), while middle class income ranges from around $48,500 to $145,500. (Source: PEW Research Center).
The simple fact is, we entrust our teachers with our most precious resource, but we don't pay them accordingly.
It's important to thank our teachers for all that they do. Even more important, is to "put our money where our mouth is" and vote to give teachers a raise. I am asking you, please vote for every mill levy. Vote for every local education initiative where you live. We need to do more for our teachers, because of how much they do for us!
To all the teachers out there, you have my most heart-felt gratitude.
Do you have a shout-out for one of your own favorite teachers? Or one of your kids' teachers? Let me know in the comments!