The reason you’re able to read and understand this week’s blog is because of a teacher. The reason I’m able to write this blog that you can read and understand is because of a teacher.
So few of us really comprehend the effort it takes to be a schoolteacher. It’s demanding work, being at school from almost the crack of dawn, if your pupils arrive at 7:30, until sometime around the middle of the afternoon, and longer, if you’re involved in extracurricular activities. This profession isn’t for the faint of heart.
Educators’ days don’t stop when the kids go home. The tasks of calling parents, preparing lessons, and grading tests and assignments are done after a full day with the young ones. In addition, attending after-school meetings hosted by school administrators and meetings hosted by department chairs, is mandatory.
When I was teaching, my day started with getting to the classroom by 7:15 at the latest, and many times, I would be there much earlier, as were my fellow teachers. I’d instruct seven classes containing an average of twenty-five children each. Some of my kids were actively engaged. Other members of my classes were more interested in playing games on their phones and texting. If I had a dollar for every time I told a student to put away their phone, I’d be living in the lap of luxury by now.
Eventually, I’d get home, take a short break for dinner, and more often than not, be back on the computer, seeking to make my lessons more interesting or grading assignments and tests. Many days of the week, I’d work several more hours after school before I’d drag myself to bed to start it all again the following morning.
Unfortunately, schoolteachers are woefully underpaid when compared to other professionals. According to an article in USA Today from May 16, 2018, looking at median annual salaries for teachers compared with similarly educated peers in other professions, those holding bachelor’s degrees earn about $3,000 less. Those holding master’s degrees earn about $15,000 less. Adding in the cost of living, the cost of raising a family, and buying supplies for the classroom when the allowance runs out, money can get stretched quite thin. Obviously, educators are not in it for the cash.
On a happier note, I am forever grateful to all my wonderful teachers. You nurtured a love of learning in me and gave me the tools to run with it.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week and Happy Writing!