Though I am a freshman in college, I still have very vivid memories of attending public school in North Carolina. However, what I most recall is not the clothes I wore or the grade I made on my EOG, it was the teachers who influenced who I am today.
It was my first grade teacher who gave me an award for being a super helper in the classroom, my second grade teacher who helped me love the Magic Treehouse series and my sixth grade math teacher who helped me realize that math did not have to make me cry. Moving forward, in high school, many of my teachers left a lasting imprint on me that helped me choose my university and career path today. They went beyond the call of duty to make lasting relationships and to even ask me how my day was going. The most important aspect of this all, is that they taught me lessons that I could have never learned in my home. I was raised in a blessed family, but there are lessons I could never have learned from them or anyone else. I learned profound things from my teachers, the ones who worked long hours after they left the school and made sure I was knowledgeable about so many important things.
What baffles me, though, is why their jobs are not as valued as those involved in other professions. My physician may have cured my common colds, but she definitely never asked me every single morning how I was doing or ever taught me how to properly write a paper. Why is it though, that the people who help form doctors, don't get paid as much as them? Some students learn in their high school Civics and Economics class that they want to work
Teachers work diligently in college to teach children the fundamentals of their rapidly impressionable knowledge. They choose to invest themselves in our future AKA the children who will one day lead our country -- and this is not enough of a reason to compensate them? After all, they spend more time with children than some parents do. In a typical weekday, a teacher may spend ten hours in the classroom doing schoolwork and three hours outside the classroom grading papers and making lesson plans. That leaves 11 hours for them to spend with their family and take care of personal things, not including the recommended eight hours of sleep that is necessary. That leaves a mere three hours in a day for them to have dinner and help their own family, and you're telling me that $30,000 starting salary is enough compensation? They should not have to move out of state, sacrifice their passions, work two jobs or drain themselves to learn a new profession just to be properly paid for their hard work.
I don't have to be a teacher to appreciate them. I've been heavily influenced by my past teachers, and I notice the daily challenges they face. They deal with things beyond just the subject they teach -- like personally investing themselves in a child who doesn't have a home or in the child who has severe discipline problems. They have taught me lessons that other highly paid professionals could have never taught me. They barely make enough money annually to comfortably support their family, despite their qualifications and passion for influencing children and helping them prepare for the working world. Their salary can't be justified by test scores. For these reasons, North Carolina, I'm asking you to get it together.