A good friend of mine recently resent this video to me. He, his partner, and I had recently had a talk about teaching at a local munch. And after I said something (witty, I’m sure), he chuckled and asked me if I had seen this video. He couldn’t tell me the name, but said he would email it to me.
Now I remember it.
Why do I like it?
Because a good teacher – a good teacher makes students who want to learnt, who want to remember what they have been taught, that rise to a challenge and meet it head on. A good teacher knows how to deal with something that a normal adult can’t – they know how to deal with a kid who is frustrated and lost – and they don’t do it by spoon feeding it to them, they do it by making them find their own way.
I could never be a teacher. I often look at what G does in awe. There are bad teachers out there, but the good teachers – they are there. And they are the ones that we always look back on fondly. And I can guarantee you – they challenged you.
Yes, the Chicago teachers are on strike. And while I’m not a proponent of unions, I am a proponent of paying people what they are worth. Teachers (at least in Oregon) require a master’s degree. They require a certain number of college credits each year to keep their license. Outside of being a doctor, what profession requires that educational commitment. And don’t give me the bullshit about how much time they get off. I’m married to one, so I can tell you how many hours a week they work – and I can guarantee you – it is more than most people. Do the math (that a teacher taught you to do) and you’ll realize they don’t make that much.
I recall the first contract G signed when he started in public education. We looked at what he would make in his final year of teaching – and it was what I made 13 years ago. At 30 years of employment, he could make $55K if he was lucky. And don’t give me the BS about their benefits because his benefits aren’t that great.
I guess, for me, we cannot take this job that most admit they could never do – and we can all agree is incredibly important – and pay them a salary that does not reflect it’s importance. How fucked up are we as a society that we are willing to make sure divorce attorneys make a good salary but we aren’t willing to pay our educators a decent salary.
What do you make in the course of a day? Is it as important as the person educating the youth of America? Sure they aren’t perfect – but educators are no longer the unmarried women who are happy to be able to live with a roof over their head with a periodic meal. It’s about time we move from the time of the pioneers in our thinking and put our money where our mouthes are.