Support your local teachers


Why do teachers get so little respect in this country? Frankly I am tired of it.

Being a teacher has always been a demanding job. Your knowledge base, no matter what you teach, must be very wide and deep. You are expected to be mentor, sometimes a friend, a psychologist and even a shoulder to cry on.

All of this while often not being paid close to what you deserve and buying your own supplies for your classroom.

And teachers must have a college degree and continuing education. In some places a master’s degree is necessary after so many years in the profession.

Of course, not every teacher is a great teacher, there are certainly some bad teachers out there. But there are bad people in every profession, like law enforcement and sales and people who work at the convenience store.

But teachers truly get little respect in this country. And it is just getting worse.

The Florida Legislature recently passed a bill making it legal for military veterans to teach without a degree. They need to have some college and pass a test. But they do not have all the hours of training that regular classroom teachers do, they do not have teaching certificates and they have not completed a long stint as a student teacher.

In short, to me, they are well underqualified to teach.

I understand that Florida is trying to address its teacher shortage, but it can do that by paying teachers in the state much better and respecting them. I am a military veteran myself, and I went to college. But that doesn’t mean I am qualified to be a classroom teacher. Far from it.

To me, this is just another example of the disrespect that the teaching profession gets. Talk to any teacher and they will tell you they get it not only from certain politicians, but parents these days are rude and confrontational. They don’t hold their kids to a high standard, and often treat professional teachers like they are the enemy. It is never the fault of their kid.

It is sad and pathetic, frankly.

My home state of Arizona is also changing the rules for teachers for the worse. Now you just need to be enrolled in college to be a teacher. So really, sign up for some classes and start teaching, no matter how little you actually know.

Again, Arizona could attract great, experienced teachers if it paid them what they are worth and treated them with respect.

This is just a new chapter in the attack on teachers and education in general. Banning books, telling teachers to ignore certain history that makes those in power uncomfortable, hiring people who are clearly not qualified to help teach children – this is a recipe for disaster.

It seems to me that in some states, politicians are trying to dumb down the populace. But that can’t be true, can it? Well, the evidence that it is true is pretty strong.

I respect teachers and the work they do. In Ogle County, there are so many great schools and teachers. Parents here are very fortunate.

But in some states, teachers seem to be looked at as the enemy. Even education itself is looked down upon. Why do I need to go to college, people ask, it doesn’t make you smarter?

Well, I don’t buy that. A great education, including upper education, can make you a more thoughtful, well-rounded person. Being forced to think critically on a wide variety of topics is great for your brain and the development of your intellect.

If you don’t care about education, fine. But we cannot let education and educators lose their importance in this country. We will see our standing as a world leader fall, that is a guarantee.

Support your local teachers. Appreciate them. They help make our communities, our states and our country better.  

Brad Jennings is the editor of the Ogle County Life.

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