Donald Trump, Jr. was absolutely right when he said teachers were losers.
- Teachers lose money buying their own supplies for the classroom.
- Teachers lose sleep grading papers and worrying about their “kids.”
- Teachers lose large chunks of time outside of school coaching and supervising extracurriculars.
- Teachers lose heart when they can’t get through to one of their students.
- Teachers lose hope when know-nothings like Trump, Jr., denigrate them and their profession in public.
May is traditionally the month in which school and parent communities show their appreciation for the hard-working educators that spend hours every day with our children. Special breakfasts, goodie bags, flowers, and the like are prepared to make teachers feel special.
But the teaching profession is losing ground. A report by CBS News states, “Teachers are earning almost 2 percent less than they did in 1999 and 5 percent less than their 2009 pay, according to the Department of Education.” (Aimee Picchi, “School’s back in session, but many teachers aren’t returning,” August 23, 2018) Teacher pay is only one factor explaining the attrition in qualified teachers. The climate at many schools and the lack of leadership has caused many teachers to leave the field well shy of retirement age. And the numbers of college students planning to major in education has dropped.
I believe that what is contributing to the decline in the ranks of teachers in America is the public’s perception of teachers as lazy, entitled complainers who get their summers off. In other industrialized countries, the teaching profession is well paid and well respected. Here in America we subscribe to the old saw, “Those who can, do; those who can’t, teach.”
So while our little ones pick flowers from their gardens to bring to their teachers this month, it would behoove all of us to consider the hard work and dedication it takes to educate the next generation. It’s time to stand up for teachers and support them in the difficult job they have of making sure our children can read, compute, reason, and live responsibly in our society.
If we fail to respect the education profession, we are going to be the losers.