Should the U.S. Pay Teachers More?

Teachers play an important role in guiding the growth and development of children. Beginning from learning the alphabet in nursery school, a child develops their skills in reading, writing, and arithmetic. Children then progress to studying literature, science, mathematics, social studies, and foreign languages in high school.

All of this intellectual growth would not be possible without the guidance and constructive support from teachers. For parents, it can be appropriate to show appreciation to children’s teachers by sending them small gifts. While we can certainly let teachers know how much they’re appreciated at any time of the year, most parents send teachers gifts on National Teacher Day at the end of the school year or during the Christmas holiday.

When we hear someone say the word teacher, the image that comes to mind is a person speaking in front of a class of apathetic students, which is the unfortunate reality of our society nowadays. We do not have much respect for teachers and we view them as professionals whose sole purposes are to grade exams and earn a salary.

“I chose to study education due to the fact that I really love being around children. Rather than studying a field that I might not enjoy, I decided to take a job in which the reward is watching the growth of children. Seeing a child develop over a year is one of the most rewarding things I can think of,” said junior Joe Marah.

The role of a teacher is both significant and valuable. It has a major influence on the society in which students live and learn and no other personality can have an influence more profound than that of a teacher. Students are deeply affected by a teacher’s character, competence, and moral commitment. A popular teacher becomes a model for their students. Students try to follow their teacher’s manners, clothing, etiquette, style of conversation, and overall physique.

“The thing I’m most looking forward to about being a teacher is getting out in the field to work with children on an everyday basis. Learning about teaching is important, but I’m so much more excited to have an impact out in the schools,” said Marah.

A teacher has the ability to lead students anywhere. During early education, students tend to determine their future plans and aims in life through consultation with their teachers. Therefore, a good and visionary teacher can play a prominent role in molding the future of their students while a poor teacher can harm students much more seriously than just through class content. An incompetent teacher in not only a bad individual, but also an embodiment of an incompetent generation. A nation with unqualified teachers is a nation at risk.

The importance of a teacher as an architect of future generations demands that only the best and most intelligent and competent members of our society should qualify for the noble profession of teaching. Unfortunately, the worst and most incapable people in society find their way into this profession sometimes. It is widely recognized that a primary cause for this is the poor salaries of primary and secondary teachers, which sometimes are no better than that of clerks. Because of this, a large number of teachers are frustrated and disinterested in actually teaching.

According to the New York Times, the U.S.’ teachers are only in 11th place in yearly salary of average primary education teachers. This clearly puts them behind other western countries that are less wealthy, such as Ireland or the Netherlands. The gap is even bigger when compared to the salaries of other professions with similar required qualifications. Because of this pay deficit, many students do not have the desire to become teachers even though they might enjoy the job.

“I think everyone who works any sort of job will say they [teachers] deserve to be paid more. I do think teachers should be paid more due to the importance of what we are doing. We are shaping the next generation of children. That takes just as much effort, if not more, than jobs that pay more,” said Marah.

The teaching profession also does not earn a lot of respect in society. Primary and secondary teachers are particularly at a disadvantage because their status is lower than doctors, engineers, advocates, civil servants, and even lower than semi-literate and illiterate traders. Thus, it would require great commitment for an intelligent individual, however fond of education and training they may be, to forsake the career of a doctor or engineer to become a teacher. When selecting good teachers, it must be kept in mind that better opportunity, prospects, and perks are offered to teachers.

A good teacher is someone that is a model of faith and piety and is knowledgeable. A teacher should consider it their duty to educate and train students and should feel responsible for them. They should feel that their students have been entrusted to them and should avoid any breach of that trust that society has reposed in them. They should be a sociable person with their roots embedded in society.

A teacher should actively and positively participate in social activities. They should know the art of teaching with a deep insight into child psychology. They should always deal with the students justly. They should not lose their self-control when students make mistakes and should respect their feelings and egos. They should try to understand and resolve students’ difficulties with grace while keeping their cool. They should be able to smile in the face of bitter criticism of their opinions and should not feel ashamed or humiliated to wholeheartedly accept mistakes made.

To get people that are capable to fill this important role, the government needs to be improved in order to grant future generations with a good education. There are tax dollars spent on insignificant things while teachers are being paid less than most other professions that require one or multiple college degrees. The consequences will be strong throughout the coming decades when more and more kids show a lack of basic knowledge of math, writing, or history.

Nowadays, the idea that education is not meant to make better human beings, but only to get better jobs is gaining ground among people. Consequently, students’ minds are obsessed with good jobs and dream of high social statuses. In conclusion, it is also the duty of parents to take active interest in the day-to-day progress of their children both in and outside of school and apprise them of the real meaning of education.

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