By Richard Gill
Our K-12 education system is the backbone of our society. And yet we are experiencing a crisis in education that positions the education system we have on the border of failing.
Currently most states are experiencing a teacher shortage, because of the plethora of issues that educators encounter doing their job.
In the first place, teachers don’t get paid enough. They are talented and high skilled workers yet they receive low pay for the workload that they have. Sometimes entry level workers get paid more than teachers, which is incredibly unfair to the teacher who has had to work hard toward getting a degree in order to teach.
This induces teachers to work multiple jobs to get the bills paid and to pay off their student loans. I personally remember there were some teachers in my high school that had to work multiple jobs to earn a steady income.
If we paid teachers more I’m positive that it would attract more talented and competent people to work in the field. Right now teachers in Massachusetts are getting paid between $40,000 to $120,000 on average depending on the district, according to the Massachusetts Department of Education.
Higher pay for teachers would also induce more men to get into the profession, and it is important for the education system to have more men because it increases people's gender knowledge, and teacher diversity is shown to improve the performance of schools, according to Brookings.
Furthermore, students are struggling to regulate their behavior, and it has especially worsened over the pandemic, according to Brookings. This is one of the top reasons teachers are quitting their jobs, according to a report by The Chicago Tribute. The students don’t know how to regulate their emotions and in turn take it out on teachers. Students were put through a trauma during the lockdown and the results of it are showing up.
I remember when I was doing volunteer work at an elementary school in my town. Where I was a tutor for a second grade class there were students who would have meltdowns during the class.
And the teachers are put in a helpless position where they can’t do anything except wait for the student to calm down. This is very problematic for the classroom because the learning that is supposed to be going on is getting interrupted.
Also, dealing with parents can be problematic in a variety of ways.
Some parents are neglectful of their children and expect the teacher to be doing all the work, but in reality teachers and parents have to work together to rear the children onto the right path.
It takes a village to raise children, and teachers definitely shouldn’t be expected to raise 20-30 children all on their own.
And some parents are entitled and overbearing. They carry around an attitude that their child is the only child in the class.
This is something I experienced when I was volunteering to teach elementary school children about theater. A parent came up to me and started asking me detailed questions about their child when there were about 20 children in the class, and I didn’t have the time to closely observe their child alone. It was a frustrating experience but through this I only saw a fraction of what teachers have to deal with in terms of overbearing parents.
Moreover, teachers are currently at the center of a culture war about what things regarding race and gender should be taught to children. And educators are being called “groomers” because of attempts to create a solid education regarding gender, like teaching children that gender is a social construct and teaching children about the existence of transgender identities.
Right-wingers also claim that the education system is out to indoctrinate the children into being “little social justice warriors,” and as a result they want to get rid of the U.S. Department of Education. The politics that the right has created around being a teacher negatively affects teachers where respectability is taken away from them.
They are being compared to people that want to rape children, which is a wild accusation to make for just trying to teach children about the basics of gender.
Students are nothing without their teachers, so for the sake of the kids we should be supporting teachers more.