At the second meeting of my Intro to English Education class, every student was asked to introduce themselves, say a weird fact about themselves, and ask why they chose to teach English for the rest of their lives.
"Hi my name is Brett Barger, I'm a sophomore. Um, a weird fact about me is that on my 18th birthday one of the little girls from the daycare I work at had an accident while she was sitting on my lap. I want to teach English because it has always been a passion of mine, I wasn't originally going to teach, I wanted to go into the medical field. I always tested really well in science and mathematics and I didn't do as well in English, but it was something that always made me happy. I want to teach Juniors - AP Language and Composition to be exact. But, um yeah. That's why I'm taking this class."
I was the second person to speak; many people after me said, "well my mom wanted me to be a pharmacist but-" or "well I was going to be an engineer, or a mechanic but-" it was both relieving and painful.
It was relieving because my family wanted me to be happy, but they also wanted me to follow a lucrative career path- which education typically is not. But it was more jarring and painful to hear approximately 17 of 20 students- and even the professor- say this same thing.
At this point, I'd like to pose a question: why is it that when a student says that their passion is mathematics or biology they're are never once questioned, but when it's English or history their passions are questioned?
The obvious answer is science and math breed doctors and pharmacists and computer geniuses whereas English and history breed teachers. But even further than that why is it that students who want to teach are so heavily scrutinized and criticized? Why are teachers paid so little that they are often forced to work a second job? Why aren't teachers regarded with more social status- like doctors and lawyers?
Because they don't make enough money to have that social status.
Which is really messed up. Teaching is the career that builds all careers. You wouldn't let someone off the street give you open heart surgery, no you want someone who has been taught how to do that. You wouldn't let some random guy fix your transmission unless he had gone to school and learned how to do it well.
Many teachers have to work second jobs to be able to support themselves and their families. Isn't it time they make a livable salary?
Educators are the foundation of our society, everything comes from an educator. Whether you learned from school or from a family member someone taught you everything that you know. So, isn't it about time to treat teachers with respect?