For many of you reading this, it's been a few years since you've been in Elementary school. The memories may be few and far between for some, but I'm sure you can grasp this picture. A classroom full of your friends, brightly decorated with number lines, posters, fully stocked bookshelves and your very own desk fashioned with your name neatly drawn on a name tag.
All of this you took for granted and while your elementary education may have varied slightly from this image, most of it holds true across many classrooms. Now that you're a couple years removed from the classroom years, have you ever realized the immense work your teacher must have put into every aspect of that classroom? Have you stopped to realize that those cute, motivational posters, name tags, crates of art supplies, buckets of candy, were all made possible by your teacher's wallet?
Have you considered the amount of time teachers put in outside of their pay day? Yea sure, teachers get out by three in the afternoon and that's great but that's also when they stop getting paid. Teaching all day long leaves no time to make copies, design lesson plans, grade papers, correct class work and plan for the next day. Teachers do not get compensated for all those hours spent in the classroom before and after the day starts. They do not get to 'clock in' on the weekends when they lug home a bag full of projects, homework and exams that all need to graded.
This is why so many people who exit college with dreams of being a teacher and setting up their own classroom get burnt out after a few short years. Of course summers off, weekends off, spring breaks, winter breaks are all great perks but at what cost? Certainly a large financial one for those who put time and effort into designing a beautiful classroom. Definitely a physical cost of all those late nights and early mornings making copies, answering parent emails and preparing for the day ahead. You could say, "well, teachers don't need to spend lots of money on things for the classroom if they're worried about cost." Sure this is true, but isn't a teacher who is willing to open up their wallets for the benefit of other people's children someone that you want as a teacher? Isn't this a sign that they really care?
I'm sure many of you have family or friends as teachers, or are looking to a be a teacher yourself when you graduate college. For the benefit of your family, friends and yourself, don't you want our education system to be one that appreciates teachers and all the hard work they do. Not one where teachers are on the chopping block year after year because of budget cuts, or one where ambiance has to suffer simply because teachers can't afford to make it special. It's time that we look at our education systems in America and learn to appreciate our teachers. These are the people who stand on their feet all day, imparting knowledge into the future of America. These are the people who sacrifice their own hard earned money and precious time to buying fun school supplies and grading papers and even placing stickers on those who performed exceptionally well. Teachers deserve more appreciation, more apples. Teachers deserve more pay. Don't you agree?