I think most people would agree that America's education system is flawed, and while society can't come to a consensus on how it should be fixed, many parents blame teachers. For some reason being a teacher is thought to be an easy job, maybe due to the idiom "those who can, do; those who can't, teach", which we've all heard in one form or another, or based on the fact that teachers have summer vacation much like students. These arguments are absolutely outrageous and demean men and women who have devoted their time and energy to educate America's youth.
Many people don't understand exactly how much time teaching requires. Not only do teachers have to be at school before the students and leave long after the final bell rings, they have to prepare lesson plans, grade papers, make sure their classroom is in order, and try to teach in an engaging way that the students will respond to. This often means their day doesn't stop when they leave campus. Many, if not all, teachers have to bring their work home with them, taking up time they could be spending with their family and loved ones.
Another common misconception, it seems, is that teachers are essentially babysitters who also share some parenting duties, a position furthered by the extremely low starting salary for new teachers. I'm not implying that teachers choose their career for the money, but I think it is ridiculous that some teachers have to get a second job to supplement their income, especially for a career that plays such a pivotal role in advancing society. With budget cuts and increased enrollment, class sizes have grown to about 30 to 35 students per teacher compared to about 25 students per teacher in 2013. This means that there are even more kids to look after and try to connect with in unique ways that will benefit their education. In addition, teachers realize that there is only so much educating that can be done in a classroom and often try to shape children into young adults every chance they get.
As a 20 year old college student I realize how lucky I have been to have had such great teachers involved in my life, and I don't just mean in the classroom. Close family friends who are educators have always been there to help me with school projects or essays or college applications outside of school, while during school hours my teachers somehow found a way to make learning English, Spanish, math, science, history and engineering fun and interesting. I can honestly say that I wouldn't be the person or student I am today without the amazing teachers in my life, and I hope they know that they are appreciated and their efforts haven't been lost on me. I just hope America comes to the same conclusion.