I wish everyone on the planet could be a teacher for a week. They need to see the hours that teachers put in. They need to see what teachers have to put up with. Lastly, they need to see why teachers are some of the most under-appreciated and under-paid people on the planet.
Most people don’t think about the fact that teachers are spending more time with your kids than you are! Don’t you think that someone you are entrusting your kids to should be paid well? I admit that the pay for teachers has gotten better, but it is still far from the mark for services rendered. I know teachers that regularly have to take work home with them to finish. They are doing lesson plans, emailing parents, and grading their papers even on weekends. Then they “get” to spend time with their family. Some of these teachers are single parents too. Nobody has their back.
No wonder teachers are tired and burning out at an alarming rate. Here are some suggestions to consider:
- What is a fair rate to pay someone you have entrusted your children to? They are not baby-sitters. These are trained, well-educated professionals that are helping your child develop. In my mind, they should be in the 6 figure range for a full time teacher. Mark my word. There will be a school somewhere that gets this and the best of the best teachers will be flocking to them. There will be no shortage of quality teachers in that school. There will be a waiting line to teach and to sub, because the subs will also be paid double what they make elsewhere!
- If you are an administrator, please try to quit putting all the extra duties on the backs of your teachers. It seems that it is not enough to be an outstanding teacher. You have to take on things like managing the Cheerleaders, heading up the yearbook project, or a host of other odds and ends that no teacher has time for. Here again, if the pay is commensurate with the duties, that problem is solved.
- If you are an administrator, try to find more tangible ways to show the teachers that you are in their corner. Find out what are the little things that you can do to give back to them. Do they need a coffee maker in their rooms? Maybe you get one coffee maker that serves a wing of the school. Do they need snacks? Put in an affordable machine that takes cash and credit and has the types of snacks they love. Do they like free dress days (no uniforms or corporate attire)? Give them more of those.
- Few teachers enjoy doing lunchroom and recess duty. Give them ways to rotate in those jobs or have volunteer parents to assist where needed. A strong PTA can pick up a lot of slack for the teachers in this area.
- Consider giving teachers who have difficult students some special perks. Give them bean bag chairs, captain’s chairs, mini-tents, fun stools to sit on, rocking chairs, special lighting, etc. Note of warning: I bought 2 round balls for the kids to sit on and they were punctured within a week. Whatever is bought has to take daily beatings and still stand up. This should NOT have to come out of the teacher’s pocket! Special seating has proven to be a GREAT way to manage classrooms. Kids get to choose their seats and keep them for the day as long as they stay on task and don’t disrupt others.
- Consider giving kids MORE recess time. It is a proven fact that kids who are allowed to expel more energy on the playground are then more focused in the classroom. Better that energy be expended on the playground, don’t you think?
- Hire more Teacher’s Aides. As an Aide, I do lot of things for the teachers. I sub for them, make copies for them, and assist with classroom management and teaching. I am there so they can take occasional bathroom breaks. I currently work with five 3rd grade teachers. There is another Teacher’s Aide that works with me. I primarily work with 3 of the teachers and she primarily works with the other two, but we often float back and forth to cover one another.
Let’s do our part to start appreciating the Teachers and Educators in our lives. It has to be more than just words.