Degrading Teachers is Downgrading Students

By Madeline Crowley

Ever since I stepped foot into my first kindergarten classroom, I had dreamed of becoming a teacher when I grew up and feeding the hungry minds of youngsters with all of my life’s knowledge. A few years later, I reconsidered my desire to become a teacher when I learned what kind of pay they earn. Yes, it is my dream job to teach but would I really be able to sustain a full family while doing so much work with such little pay? I discussed this with my mom and of course she suggested that I pursue what I enjoy for a living because in the end money does not bring the satisfaction that doing what you truly love does. Nevertheless, much thought about my future has brought me to the conclusion that what we really need in this world is better quality people, who come from better quality students, who are made from better quality teachers.

Sitting in class the other day I began pondering my old teachers. Only a little over half of them have really made me think they enjoy their job and are passionate about what they teach. Sad but true, many of my peers have agreed with me after I discussed this topic with them. You can tell when teachers are fed up with class clowns and disruptive students, constantly having to grade, and not getting paid to their satisfaction. There have been several protests within the nearby school districts to raise wages for teachers but none have been significantly successful. Their reason for not showing full satisfaction in their jobs is surely justified, but undoubtedly this lack of interest and passion shown in class rubs off on the students. Although there are many good teachers out there, having one bad teacher can easily ruin a student’s interest in their favorite subject for the rest of their lives.  In the public school system, the lack of equality for teachers is certainly starting to affect the quality of students.

Clearly, schools strive to have the highest passing rates because it attracts more students and money for them. Thus, schools hire teachers who give them good passing rates and the main focus of the teachers shifts to increasing the quantity of students who pass rather than the quality of them. The teachers then simply do not care much at all about how their students are as people and learners or how they feel. They just care that the students pass the class because that’s how they keep their bosses happy and making money. Public school systems are doing the bare minimum to produce graduates. The standards for the students are lowered and therefore schools are releasing lower quality students off to the world just to brag about higher graduation rates. Making passing easier for the students will often mean assigning unnecessary busy work that only further frustrates the students and discourages their interest in school. When a school’s mission statement says they are working to prepare students to ultimately go to college or find fulfilling jobs in the future, the best way to do this is by hiring more teachers who grow students’ spark in learning, challenge them in positive ways, and motivate them to continue growing beyond school. The way to achieve that goal is by fixing the working conditions for these hardworking mentors and to encourage a new generation of teachers by praising the occupation more. In society, teachers are often seen as unprofessional because they choose to spend their days with immature kids. They are looked down upon for no valid reason, given barely any recognition, and are just as much, if not more qualified than any other professional in a different workplace. For example, when a student is plain lazy and doesn’t do their homework so their grade suffers, the responsibility is often placed in the hands of the teacher rather than the kid or the parent.

 If the government really cares about raising a dedicated, prideful, educated new generation of Americans they should be putting better funding into our public school systems to empower the teachers who do all of the work unrecognized. Teachers who really care about their students and take pride in their jobs. However, just as I’ve experienced, the lack of equality, not only in pay, discourages many potential teachers from pursuing that passion of education in search of higher paying professions. In the end, degrading our teachers will only downgrade the students.