Appreciating teachers

With a nationwide teacher shortage it poses the question of how well do we really treat our teachers?

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Graphic by Tiger Times staff.

With a nationwide teacher shortage it poses the question of how well do we really treat our teachers?

Madelyn Lerew is a junior and a reporter for the Fishers Tiger Times. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper. 

   Overworked and underpaid, this is the reality of being a public school teacher in Indiana. New teachers in our district are being paid a starting salary of $42,832, which is not much when considering that their job goes much farther than teaching from 8:30 to 3:00. Teachers are required to attend administrative meetings, grade student work, and sponsor a club on top of teaching their classes. 

   In a report by the Economic Policy Institute it was stated that teachers are paid on average 21.4% less than those in other occupations with similar education and experience. Teaching requires an arsenal of skills like the ability to maintain interpersonal relationships and create creative and engaging lessons. These attributes are necessary to advance in a career, so why should they be undervalued when they are being used to teach students?

   Along with teachers, substitutes are also being paid meager wages in our school district. A sub working in the HSE school district only makes $85 a day, which is about $13 an hour. For comparison a team member at Mcdonalds makes $11 an hour.

   When school districts lack an adequate number of subs, other teachers are forced to pitch in to help teach their coworkers’ classes. This doubles the number of students that teachers are responsible for.

   In the state of Indiana, we are in dire need of an array of school faculty. As of August 24, the Indiana Department of Education has 2,934 job openings across the state. This means that in the first month of school almost all Indiana schools are in need of more staff. 

   When schools need more teachers, subs, janitors and bus drivers it puts an increased burden on the existing staff. One impact of this is increased class sizes, which yet again means more work for teachers. 

   In an article by Education Review, teachers were interviewed and asked their thoughts on the amount of preparation time they receive as it relates to class size. The responses explained how teachers don’t receive more PPA (planning, preparation and assessment) time with increased class sizes. It was expressed by teachers that they are expected to do as much as possible in prep work, creating and leaving them with a never ending amount of work. 

   Teaching is a profession that requires limitless amounts of time. Teachers are being asked to shape and build future generations with little support or pay.    

   Think about the teachers that had the greatest impact on you, as a student but also as a human being. In my case, I have experienced teachers that are passionate about teaching and pour every ounce of themselves into their students. These teachers are taking the time to get to know their students and create a warm welcoming environment for all that enter through their doors. The amount of compensation and support teachers receive is something that we should be striving to correct, especially if we want to keep capable and hardworking teachers in our district’s classrooms.