What Our Educators Deserve
April 4, 2018
I could not do what our educators do. They deserve to be paid well. Very well.
In recent news, educators in Oklahoma, West Virginia and Kentucky organized and implemented walk-outs in their states in an effort to secure more funding for education.
In addition to near-poverty level wages, some teachers nationwide have also gone decades without wage increases, and are facing billions in budget cuts.
In Montana, the beginning teacher salary is $31,456 and the average teacher salary is $52,776 (Montana Education Association – Montana Federation of Teachers.) That’s not enough.
Teachers wear many hats and are major influences in our children’s lives, often fulfilling roles that are not always pleasant.
In addition to being tasked with teaching the “three R’s” (reading, writing and arithmetic), our educators are expected to be disciplinarians, counselors, mentors, role models and more. They teach our kids to tie their shoes and sometimes how to practice good hygiene. They learn to recognize potential learning disorders or physical deficits that could affect learning. They are tasked with monitoring for, and reporting, potential abusive situations. They are expected to recognize signs of drug/alcohol use in their students. They often have to mediate situations between students and sometimes adults.
Our teachers are playground monitors, crossing guards and lunch ladies. Sometimes they are the only people in the crowd supporting the “forgotten” athletes, musicians and actors. They typically spend more time with our children on a day-to-day basis than we do.
Some would say that teachers choose their profession so they don’t have to work during the summer months. I would point out that almost every teacher I know supplements their income with other employment during that time.
All that being said, why on earth do our educators have to stage rallies and walk-outs to draw attention to their poor wages and lack of funding? Shouldn’t we make our children and some of the people that guide them through life a priority?
Teachers deserve to be recognized for what they do and they shouldn’t have to do it on a limited budget – or dig into their own pockets to buy supplies for their classroom.
Let’s pay our teachers what they deserve and thank them for doing what I couldn’t do.