Teaching is one of the most respectable and influential careers available.
We trust teachers with our young children five days a week to help them learn not only academic information but essential life skills. We also rely on them to keep our children safe and healthy while under their care and to help students become well-rounded individuals while discovering what they’re passionate about.
Children spend a huge portion of their lives in school with teachers guiding their development, and many people have defining memories from their primary and secondary education, where teachers work both in and out of school to make this immensely important experience a positive one.
And yet teaching is stereotypically viewed as one of the lowest paying post-college careers out there. Why are the people who invest so much of their time into our children’s futures being paid so poorly?
It isn’t for a lack of hard work.
A teacher’s day extends far beyond school hours – making lesson plans, grading work, and countless other tasks take up hours of time on nights, weekends, and school breaks. Many educators go beyond this, spending their own money on supplies when schools don’t provide enough funding and devoting their own energy to ensuring the well-being of their students.
Good teachers want their students to grow into confident and successful people, and their efforts reflect that.
Needless to say, teachers deserve significantly more money than they are currently making.
The skill level required to teach simply does not match the standard teaching salary in the United States – which, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, averaged around $60,000 a year for elementary and middle school teachers and $62,000 a year for secondary school teachers in May of 2017.
Prior to finding a job, potential teachers are first required to earn at least a Bachelor’s degree and teaching credentials and must have student teaching experience under their belts.
Teaching should be an incredibly selective and competitive career field because of the amount of impact teachers have on their students’ lives. Without funding and adequate candidates for teaching jobs, some schools are forced to select people who aren’t fully qualified to teach, or teachers are assigned to teach subjects that they haven’t specialized in. A higher salary would increase competition for teaching positions, rewarding those who are truly skilled in the profession and motivating others to achieve this level of success.
There’s no denying that teaching is a noble profession. Even if students don’t see the effort that their instructors are putting in when they’re in school, the vast majority of people have looked back and recognized the influence that our favorite teachers have had on our lives.
Education is seen as a valuable and essential part of our society, and students are required by law to attend school. Logically, if education is so greatly valued, careers in education should be highly sought after and rewarded.
It’s easy to recognize that teachers touch all of our lives in very important ways. Perhaps it’s time we acknowledged this by paying them the salaries that they rightly deserve.