Now that the school year is coming to an end, it's time to start thinking about all the things your teachers and professors have done for you over the past year. As students, we often tend to forget how much work our teachers do for us. When we complain about having to go to an 8 a.m. lecture, we forget that our teachers are probably waking up a lot earlier than we do to get campus. When we complain about teachers not responding to emails late at night, we forget that teachers have lives of their own.
Teachers probably have one of the hardest jobs in the world. I can't imagine having to stand up in front of 300 students every day to give a lecture, and yet there are so many professors who have been doing that for so long. I admire the confidence that I see in so many of my teachers who always bring so much energy to the classroom on rainy days. Teachers aren't just knowledgeable, they're also great communicators, listeners, and are great at thinking on their feet.
We also tend to forget that teachers want to see us succeed. Even when it doesn't seem like it, they believe in us. Teachers need to be able to challenge us without us getting frustrated that we'll have to work hard to get an A. Teachers want to get to know us and oftentimes we just need to take the time to go to their office hours and have a casual conversation.
I once went into a teacher's office hours and we ended up talking about traveling for about an hour. We tend to put up some kind of wall between us and the teachers, and I encourage you to try and break that down. Don't be afraid to meet with your teacher because most of them love getting to know students.
Additionally, let's not forget about how teachers in the US are paid significantly less than teachers in other countries. The Washington Post reports that, on average, American teachers only earn up to 60 percent of what other professionals with similar education levels may earn. This is the lowest rate in all 35 member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Additionally, in terms of experience, teachers hardly get any pay raise compared to other jobs. The Washington Post reported that the top salaries for middle school students were just under $68,000, which only increased by $5,000 after 15 years of experience. Compared to Finland, there would need to be a 28 percent pay raise for upper school teachers in America to get paid the same amount.
Teachers are so undervalued and unappreciated in our society, and it's time we start showing them some more love. They've stuck with us to teach us the water cycle, long division, the solar system, electoral college, and have helped us make sense of the world around us. Whether you realize it or not, you've had at least one teacher who has been formative to who you are now.
Whether it's helping you develop your writing, giving career advice, writing you a recommendation letter, or simply making you laugh on a tough day, all our teachers deserve more appreciation. At the end of the year, consider giving something to your teachers to show your appreciation. A handwritten card will go a long way and your teacher will really appreciate it.