A few days ago, on my post about year-round school, one individual left a complaint about teachers.
You know I am getting very tired of the school teachers getting everything they want, yes there are some very good teachere [sic] but most of them couldn’t get a job anywhere else so they became teachers.
I’ve heard this gripe time and time again, and I still don’t buy it. The vast majority of the teachers under whom I studied throughout my k-12 years were great teachers with a passion for their vocation, dedicated to inspiring. They put in many extra, unpaid hours to accomplish their goal, and many voluntarily spent their own money on supplies. I can’t claim to have done any substantive research on the subject, but I have a hard time believing that my school was unique. I’m sure that there are schools out there, particularly in poor urban neighborhoods, where the teachers struggle to remain motivated and enthused because of the pressures of their situation. But I have yet to see any evidence that the k-12 teaching profession is staffed with the dregs of society.
This sentiment is a consequence of the commodification of our society. Because teachers are not highly compensated in our public school system, we assume their work is of poor quality. What a shameful insult to those who have dedicated their time to helping educate our children! It is a rather black mark on the record of the vaunted market as well. The service our teachers provide is of far greater value than that of the entertainment stars in Hollywood or the moguls on Wall Street. Yet we begrudge them the comparatively modest raises they ask for their services. Perhaps we should get our priorities in order.