A few days ago, I had someone tell me that teachers do not get paid a ton of money because they have a job that is relatively easy. “Doctors have a more complex job, everyone cannot be a surgeon…and athletes generate money which is why they deserve to be paid well.” This was from someone I loved which made me feel equally disappointed and angry! I wonder how many people secretly feel the same way.
While I am still hurt, I didn’t linger on these feelings long because as an educator I have unique insight that many from the “outside” do not. What I know…
- Every person including the doctor, astronaut, athlete, nurse, and chef had a teacher who helped them achieve their goals. Their success originated with us.
- Teaching the conceptual understanding of any discipline is a highly complex task (yes, even at the elementary level) as you are teaching 25 learners who have different learning styles and prior knowledge experiences.
- Educators become surrogate parents and social workers all while educating students academically and socially.
- We take care of one of the most vulnerable groups of the population (the other is the elderly) for 1/3 of their entire day. We make sure that they are fed. We are sensitive with our words as we know we can build up their self-efficacy (or tear it down if we are not careful). We are required to be role models as they look for cues from us in what we say or do.
- A child’s education is a foundation that can make their pathway to success easier or harder depending on the quality of that education.
I could go on, but there is no need to continue. Despite the thoughts of those around me, I know that I have the precious privilege of sharing my gifts with children each day. While I we may not receive the respect or monetary benefits, I know that the future is better off because of all the dedicated educators. Be proud, because we are important!