In 2016, the average salary for a high school teacher was $58,030. This may seem perfectly reasonable for someone who stands in front of a board and instructs students in a monotone from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.. But, it’s not.
A teacher’s day is far more than eight hours of instruction time during the school day. High school teachers are usually required to arrive an hour before school and most stay an hour after the last bell rings in order to help students who need it. Then, you have to factor in all the other tasks teachers do such as grading, planning, answering emails and professional workshops — the list goes on.
When I was in high school, which wasn’t too long ago, all of my teachers taught six classes a day. If a teacher was especially unlucky, they taught for all seven periods of the day. High school instructors in Louisiana have an average of 22 students in their classrooms. Multiplied by the six periods usually taught, this means high school teachers are charged with grading 132 tests, 132 quizzes, 132 homework assignments and more. The list of work teachers have to give in order to help ensure successful instruction is extensive.
Many people think teachers only work their designated nine months of the year, since they have summer breaks off. This thought is wrong. In an article from the National Education Association, “Students have summers off. Teachers spend summers working second jobs, teaching summer school and taking classes for certification renewal or to advance their careers. Teachers are only paid for the days they are contracted to work.” Even when teachers are supposed to be off, they’re not.
Teachers are beyond unappreciated. Teachers are constantly ridiculed and treated as if they have no value in the world. Teaching is one of the most noble professions in the world. Teachers are the ones who get up every morning and teach our future scientists, world leaders and more. They play a large role in the molding of the minds of the future.
In addition to the heavy tasks they’re dealt, teachers also carry heavy emotional responsibilities. High schoolers are, quite frankly, ridiculous. They’re over-emotional, irrational and hot-headed. Their teachers end up having to deal with the results of their issues more often than not. Many high schoolers have a teacher they think of as a big sister or brother, or surrogate mother or father.
Teachers play therapist, nurse, protector, adviser and many other roles students aren’t always able to get at home. Yet, students choose to belittle these teachers, take out their frustrations on them, and some have even resulted physically attacking instructors. No member of any profession deserves this treatment, but teachers even less.
Looking at all these factors, it seems ridiculous people still even want to go into this profession. Yet, they do. It’s obviously not because of the salary or the “easiness” of the job, but because they want to. An educator’s choice to enter this field deserves significantly more respect and appreciation than it currently gets.
Maya Stevenson is a 19-year-old English and economics sophomore from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.