If you’ve been following the national news the last couple of weeks, then you know that teachers around the country are staging teacher walkouts, and teacher strikes intended to draw attention to, not only the low pay that they receive but for the conditions they have to teach in. They’re also bringing national attention to the fact that so many classrooms are filled with outdated books, workbooks, and various other teaching material. So many teachers even have to buy basic school supplies out of their own pockets, in order to follow the current curriculum, because the school districts do not have the budget to purchase them.
Teachers, paraprofessionals, and substitute teachers have stormed state capitals in peaceful demonstration and spoken on camera to national news journalists about their hopes and frustrations. Across the country teachers are demanding better pay and updated teaching material for their students. One teacher that was interviewed by a national news station talked about have to not only teach computer technology but be evaluated by her superior while she and her class had to use textbooks from l998. In her 1998 computer technology textbook it spoke of the internet being in its infancy stage. Nothing in her classroom set of textbooks even remotely correlated with the 2017-2018 state curriculum! These types of situations are going on all across the country!
Classrooms are running over, teachers are expected to do more and more each year without receiving any legitimate pay raise for all that they do. Many teachers that have spoken on the national news throughout these teacher walkouts and strikes have spoken about having to hold multiple jobs just to make ends meet. One teacher said that he made more with his lawn cutting service that he did as a teacher. Contract teachers are even speaking out for their fellow paraprofessionals and substitute teachers who are paid even lower than them, but still expected to do all that is required of a contract teacher when they are given an assignment.
Substitute teachers in Alabama are the lowest paid substitutes in the nation, barely making over $8 an hour. This should be an embarrassing reality for our politicians.
Additionally, this low pay for teachers and those in the education field is steadily creating a teacher shortage. Many of the younger people are thinking twice about accumulating massive student loans and then ending up in a career that doesn’t allow them to get out of debt.
In a recent article in FORBES: Teacher Strikes Strike Deeper Than Paychecks the author, and full time teacher, Zak Ringelstein writes “A decades-long war on the American public school teacher has not only led to decreases in pay and benefits for teachers across the country but an overall degradation of the respect for and quality of the teaching profession itself.” I believe this to be true 100%. This didn’t just start. It’s been going on. My mother was a career teacher, as was my grandmother. There’s a lot of teachers in my family and I know firsthand all the things that have trickled down to classroom teachers over the decades from state politicians that have never stepped foot in a classroom as a teacher. Things need to change. Teachers need to have their voice heard and teachers need supplies, modern textbooks and a paycheck comparable to other professions.
And not to leave on a negative note, because the reality is, all of us in the education field know that we will always have a job, we can relocate and normally go right to work in the same field, and there’s no way that we could ever really be without a teaching job in this day and time; they need us too much! So, that stability is one positive note, as far as your finances and steady paychecks are concerned!
Most teachers, like myself, teach because we’ve felt a calling since as long as we can remember. We feel at home in a classroom. We know it’s what we do best and it’s also one of the things we were meant to do. However, we’ve worked hard to put ourselves through college, we’re professionals, and we deserve a decent salary too! Our students deserve better!
Get involved! Call your congressman! And stay connected with like minded people in the education field such as the wonderful staff at SubSidekick. And feel free to contact them with any other your questions or concerns; they’re just a quick phone call away and would love to hear from you!
“If a doctor, lawyer, or dentist had 40 people in his office at one time, all of whom had different needs, and some of whom didn’t want to be there and were causing trouble, and the doctor, lawyer, or dentist, without assistance, had to treat them all with professional excellence for nine months, then he might have some conception of the classroom teacher’s job.” – – Donald D. Quinn