Teachers do more than teach

Story by Katie Bast, Staff Writer

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It’s been almost three years since I graduated from high school, but one thing that is always on my to-do list when I go home is to visit my favorite English teacher.

This one teacher in particular stood out to me as the best for some of the things she helped me accomplish, but after I left high school, I realized how great so many of my teachers from kindergarten to high school were.

I know it’s hard to admire our teachers when we are in class and they’re piling on the homework, but now that we’re members of a bigger society, it’s time we start recognizing them.

Aside from our families, teachers can be the formative influences in our lives. We spend our days with them. We learn from them. And whether or not we want to admit it, they are vital figures in our lives.

I don’t think people realize how hard teaching is. Not only is it time consuming, it’s challenging. Teachers have to command the attention of a group of kids who have short attention spans and no respect for anyone. The fact that teachers continue to put so much of themselves into such a demanding job deserves a lot of respect.

Teaching is not an eight-to-three job. For every paper you had to stay up a little late to write, your teacher had to stay up late to grade 30 of them. For every chapter of every book you didn’t like, your teacher had to plan lessons and tests. Teachers have prep times during school hours, but those are often filled with questions from students and tutoring (or in my teacher’s case, twenty-somethings who take up all of her prep time filling her in on life).

A good teacher will go the extra mile in and out of the classroom. The specified curriculum is only a sliver of their knowledge. Teachers can be such valuable resources to students beyond time tables and spelling lists.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel’s website has a tool that allows you to look up the salaries of public school teachers in the state. I was shocked to find out that my favorite teacher is among the lowest-paid teachers at my high school. Teachers in general don’t make a lot, so to be near the bottom is saying something.

Because we live in a capitalist society, we are led to believe that those who are paid better are more valuable. That’s what I find so frustrating about teachers being paid so little.

Athletes and actors sign multi-million-dollar contracts. We are teaching each other to value celebrities over people who can have a real impact on our daily lives.

I feel like teachers are under appreciated by everyone, from kids in the hall muttering about their least favorite teachers to the government stripping them of their rights.

A little appreciation goes a long way. Thanking a teacher can make his or her day. Stand up for public employees. It’s time to start supporting them the way they supported us.

 

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