Be kind, supportive, and respectful to teachers. They DO NOT do it for the money!
“Teachers are paid too much.” The average salary for new teachers in the U.S. is $35,672 for an average of 53 hours a week, and most spend a lot of money out of pocket for classroom supplies. It takes many teachers 10 years to repay their student loans. Many college students who would be great teachers cannot afford to work in the field.
“Teachers only work nine months of the year.” Other than working interim jobs to bring in additional income, here is how teachers spend their summer: two to four weeks continuing education, three weeks curriculum planning, and two to four weeks preparing for the upcoming school year. During the school year, they grade papers on the weekends/nights, spend hours after school preparing lessons, assisting students who need extra help, returning phone calls, attending mandatory meetings, and holding parent-teacher conferences.
“Teachers are solely responsible for teaching our children.” Teachers may be given the responsibility for teaching our children, but parents must also be highly engaged. Children who experience poverty (and all the problems that come with it) have enough trouble just surviving, much less succeeding in school.
If Americans were serious about education, then our discussion would not be focused on demonizing teachers and traditional public schools, but would be focused on mounting a new war on poverty and thus directly addressing the biggest education problem.
Susan Hagler, Jamestown