Schoolteachers deserve respect

Last modified: 1/23/2011 12:00:00 AM
Americans should respect teachers. Their responsibility to educate the population and enable the next generation of leaders and innovators insists on cultural deference. Yet many publicly slander the profession by questioning their motives and insisting they are overpaid. The current catchphrase is 'part-time work with full-time benefits.' I can't think of an accusation more ignorant or denigrating.

Educating requires a tremendous amount of work outside the classroom including planning, evaluating, grading, meeting with parents, and endless professional development. Any teacher trying to work only during classroom hours would be woefully unprepared, fall behind and immediately become an ineffective educator. Teaching is like cramming 12-months of work into a nine-month period.

Let's not forget what happens in the classroom, where a teacher will often be called on to be a counselor, mediator, coach, police officer and mother figure. They break up fights, get yelled at by kids and get threatened by parents. They are forced to defend what meager salary they are provided compared to their level of education, and are subjected to public voting on their contracts. It's exhausting, stressful, and demeaning.

I don't have children, though someday we will adopt. As a parent, I will respect and support those who have dedicated their lives, and sacrificed their earning potential, to educate my child, my neighbors children, and the future of this country. We are all beneficiaries of an educated citizenry.

There is no honor in denigrating education professionals.



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