More Thoughts About Valuing Teachers

I took a sick day on Wendnesday but I’m back!

An article came across my newsfeed this week and I can’t resist sharing with you because it is one of those issues that gets me going – my father calls these monologues “rants.”

Here’s the link so you can read the entire thing. The takeaway is this: if things are going to get better in our society, we need to stop lip-service to how good our teachers are and put our money where our mouth is.

More Than Lip Service

There’s nothing like a teacher story to get us all waxing nostalgic – have you not shared a memory or two about that favorite teacher who boosted your self-esteem or taught you to put sentences together in intelligible form or was the coolest grown-up ever, giving you a faint glimmer of optimism that meaningful life does not end at 18.

Apples Only Go So Far

There’s all that feel good stuff. I’ll bet one of the first images that comes to mind when you hear “good teacher” is… an apple. But, really, if teachers are that influential (which they are), don’t we want to attract the best and the brightest? And entrust our children, our future society, to the cream of the crop? I’m not talking the just traditional teacher crop (although there are some great teachers in the current pool), I’m talking the best of the best in the entire nation crop (including those who traditionally end up in other professions).

How do we achieve this in our capitalist land? Apples just don’t cut it. If someone offered you a six-figures financial analyst or legal or sports or any other number of jobs OR a teaching job starting at less than half that salary, what would you do? Of course, there are passionate, idealistic, mission-driven people who commit themselves to teaching. And that is great. Not a week goes by when I don’t offer thanks. But think about a society where teaching was valued as much as business or entertainment. And salaries measured up.

Who Me?

You may be nodding. But here’s the catch. Teachers are paid with public money. Tax dollars. So each and every one of us must put our money where our mouth is if we want to build a top education system. As the article says, call your legislator and demand more spending on education. In part, this may mean raising taxes. It also means prioritizing education for a larger share of the current public funding pie. The article shared above inspired me to action. You?

Share your suggestions on how to inspire public support for great teachers!

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