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Give teachers the respect they deserve

By McKenzie Ward

Opinions Editor


Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8 - 12. This week is dedicated to appreciating

and thanking teachers for everything they do for students.


Teaching is one of the most underappreciated jobs in our country. Teachers are often not given

respect by administrators, students, parents, and even the government.


Just recently, Meghan Trainor, an American singer-songwriter, welcomed Trisha Paytas, an

American Youtuber, on Trainor’s podcast, “Workin’ On It.” During the podcast, Trainor and

Paytas shared their thoughts on the United States’ education system.


Trainor said, “Everyone on TikTok is like, ‘This is what it’s like having kids in America. I have a bulletproof backpack.’ I was like, ‘F*** all that.” Paytas agreed and said that she is planning to

homeschool her children and that for her, it was her teachers that caused her trauma.


Trainor responded with, “F*** teachers.”


When I heard Trainor’s comment, my blood began to boil.


Is the United States’ education system perfect? No.


Are there some teachers who might not be the right fit? Yes.


But, to say “F*** teachers,” is beyond ignorant.


We ask a lot from our teachers.


We ask them to educate at least 20 growing minds each day. We ask them to follow the

individualized education plans of many of their students. We ask them to use their own money to fund their classrooms. We ask them to stay late after school to tutor struggling students. We ask them to protect students from school shooters.


And teachers do all of this knowing they won’t be rich or famous. But they pursue this

profession because they care about students.


So, to say “F*** teachers” is just downright disrespectful.


As of October 2022, after the school year had already begun, 45% of U.S. public schools had at

least one teacher vacancy, according to NPR. Many teachers are leaving because of unsupportive leadership, lack of compensation, and their overall well-being, according to McKinsey and Company.


We need to find ways to support our teachers because, without them, our nation’s children will

lack education.


First, they deserve more compensation.


In 2021, the average compensation for a teacher in the United States was $65,090. And while

some states pay more than others, almost across the board, teachers, in my opinion, deserve

better compensation.


Someone with a master’s degree deserves to make more than $65,000 annually, especially with the conditions teachers are currently working in.


Second, as a society, we must start giving teachers more respect.


Currently, the Republican Party is making being a teacher in the United States extremely

difficult with book banning, the lack of funding, and a strict curriculum that puts restrictions on

what teachers can teach.


And at the same time, parents are attacking teachers for their child’s behavior rather than holding their child accountable for their actions. In January, Abby Zwerner, a teacher from Virginia was shot and wounded by a 6-year-old student.


Zwerner was shot by a child with a known history of behavioral problems and on the day of the

shooting, the school administrators had multiple warnings that the boy might have a gun and be a danger. However, despite these warnings, the school did nothing and this innocent woman got

hurt.


And while Trainor has apologized on TikTok for her comment about teachers, the most important part of an apology is someone’s actions and how they change moving forward.


So, if Trainor truly “fights” for teachers like she claims in her apology, then I expect to see

Trainor donating supplies to teachers, speaking out against bills that will negatively affect

teachers and the classroom, and just all around supporting things will support our teachers.


As I near my undergraduate commencement ceremony, I have been reminiscing about all the

amazing teachers and professors I have had over these last 16 years. Some of them have made life-altering impacts on me and my identity and I will forever be grateful for their role in my life.


Without each and every single teacher and professor I have had, I would not be crossing the

stage on May 21.


Teachers can have such a profound impact on students and deserve so much more than what they are currently receiving.


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