I'm mad and I'm going to tell you why. I'll start with an anecdote then explain what I mean. Last year I earned and was awarded what is often recognized as the highest honor in the teaching profession, National Board Certification. At the beautiful reception the President of National Boards talked about how teachers should be treated more like professionals, such as doctors and lawyers but we had to present ourselves as professionals and fight for that treatment. Oh, I agreed wholeheartedly when I was listening, I surely did. I swallowed it hook, line and sinker, but the obstacles are invisible and in this society nearly impossible to hurdle.
So here is why I am mad. Maybe you see all those funny Memes on Facebook and Pinterest about how a teacher brings her/his work home and is always working on lesson plans or whatever. THAT IS NOT A JOKE! I read countless emails, professional journals and websites on nights when I don't have any other work to do. I communicate with parents and teachers on my off hours daily. I work on newsletters, websites, promotions and planning hours and hours a week, and I'm not even what you would call hard working. My colleagues do all of this, and grade papers, and papers and papers. Their life is consumed with their work, their practice, their career, however our compensation and level of respect is cursory at best. At the risk of sounding like a cliche, we do this because we love it. We love kids. But heaven help, people need to realize we are professionals.
Another point, I tend to a liberal political view, but this whole pay fast food workers a living wage is bullshit. I'm barely paid a living wage, in fact I would be hard pressed to make it on a single income and I have two master's degrees and am Nationally Board Certified. Pay me a comparable wage! And no, I did not have the benefit of a loving, supportive family that helped me achieve my goals. I worked for them! I paid for them! I am still paying for them! And no, I'm not shocked at the amount of my student loans, I signed the papers. If the bleeding heart commies want people to make a better wage, why don't they work for dully funded schools that offer alternative job training and leave the fast food jobs to teenagers, who need to work and stop living off their parents!
So often I see little quotes about how precious our children are, how they are the future, we must educate them! YES! But put your money where your mouth is! Fund schools! I spent all day telling kids they couldn't afford to buy things in my book fair because they didn't have enough money. Why the hell do I have to run a book fair anyway to buy library books and electronics? Aren't the nations's future leaders in my hands? I should spend 30 hours running a store and dressing up like a funny character to raise money when Nick Saban (yes, I'm attacking the Almighty Saban) makes 5 and one half million dollars a year to coach football! Really?
This whole idea of an educator working in any kind of public school setting just being grateful they have a job is wrong! Teachers as a lot are taken advantage of because we are care-takers, we just want to teach, we don't want to rant and rave. Heck, we don't even mind so much all the extra time we spend preparing for our job. But we are educated professionals, and we should be treated as such. Remember, we are teaching the future. We shouldn't have to fight to be recognized as professionals, but revered because we teach. Every single parent who has enrolled a child in a public school, and has uttered the words I want what is best for my kids, should be fighting for us to be valued as professionals.