Teachers do not receive the amount of recognition they deserve, especially in America. This confounds me because teachers are some of the most selfless, devoted, and inspiring people I have ever had the privilege of meeting.
Teachers work with difficult students, sponsor clubs and school activities, and help shape their students’ lives. They put up with many challenges and persist where others would lose hope. I think this demonstrates how demanding teaching is and how dedicated America’s teachers are despite being deprived of the same respect and pay their counterparts receive in other industrialized countries.
America’s education system poses many problems for teachers. When I talked to a couple of my teachers about this issue, one mentioned the general lack of esteem for teachers, along with this compelling fact: No other profession could exist without teaching. Another teacher discussed educators’ attitudes toward flaws in the system, noting, “If good teachers quit because they don’t like the education system, then there’s nobody left inside to change anything.”
Even in the face of such challenges, many teachers are united by their commitment to help shape the next generation. Their objective is the same—teachers want to challenge students, motivate them to learn, and inspire them to make a change in the world.
I wouldn’t be half the person I am today without the guidance of my teachers. Many of my teachers encouraged me to grow not only as a student but as a person. I know that 10, even 20 years from now, I’ll remember the ones who most profoundly impacted me (such as my 3rd grade teacher, who inspired my passion for writing).
In spite of everything teachers do, we give them little recognition, respect, or pay. But we shouldn’t forget that teachers are educating children who will one day make our laws, cure our ailments, and propel our world into the future.
The future is the clay, and teachers are the sculptors. It’s time to give our sculptors the tools they need to create a masterpiece.
Isabel Song is a high school junior at a public high school in Colorado Springs, Colo. She currently blogs for the Huffington Post and hopes to become a pediatric oncologist.
The opinions expressed in Teaching Ahead: A Roundtable are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.