Teacher Shaming Must End

If you are an educator, I would be willing to bet my life you have heard at least one of these statements.

If you want more pay, work a full year like everyone else.

Teachers get summers off, why do they need personal or vacation time during the school year?

Can’t you make doctors’ appointments in the afternoons? You get off work every day by 3.

You knew the salary wasn’t great when you started didn’t you?

Must be nice to get all that money for babysitting.

You could do anything you want. Why would you teach?

Teachers love to gripe but they don’t even work all year like the rest of us.

If you really loved children, you wouldn’t take a day off. You should just wait for summer.

You make more than a lot of people do, be thankful for what you have.

You are just a teacher. You don’t have a real job.

What do you do all day… Just make crafts and color?

Those who can, do, those who can’t, teach.

If you don’t cringe as you read those statements, then you must be part of the public who holds to these beliefs. I will not go into a rant about how invalid they are. I am exhausted with having a battle of wits with unarmed people lately, but I will say this. It is comments like these that are destroying our country. Devaluing educators and education will only lead to further ignorance. Whether you realize it or not, every time an educated mouth speaks these kinds of words, the profession is degraded and the populous loses. An educated electorate is what we all need for a safe, secure future. Further ignorance can only take us backwards instead of forward into the future we all hope for.

Sadly, there is a total lack of respect for the profession and the constant degradation from the public regarding teachers. Hardly anyone is addressing the issue. It is sending is backwards every single day. Potential teachers are seeing the treatment and turning away. Current teachers are quitting because the are defeated and have no options to fix anything because the respect for education and the foundations of who educators use to be have been eroded by the constant negative mindset by our culture towards teachers.

People think our problems in education are wages, funding, bad buildings, personnel shortages, etc. While all of those are huge concerns, The truth of the matter is this… We are tired of the disrespect, and if we address that issue first, then we wouldn’t have to fight for wages, funding, buildings, and more teachers. Educators would have all we need because the public would support and respect the work.

Educators face shaming attacks on numerous fronts. The news media, entertainment industry, business, elected officials, people, and even our own President and his family. Remember Donald Jr.’s comments… “loser teachers.” Just this week the President himself declined to present the award to the newly named National Teacher of the Year along with the State Teacher of the Year cohort. It is no wonder that Jr. said what he did. He learned from his dad. Don’t forget that the President gladly met with Clemson University after their National Championship. He bought them fast food. Teachers weren’t even worth time nor fast food from the highest office in the land. What kind of message does that send to the nation about educators?

Speaking of sending wrong messages, last week South Carolina Governor, Henry McMaster, said that he believed teachers advocating for themselves on May 1st, with an ALLOUT (Click Here) is sending the wrong message to students.* I hope the Governor will redirect his comment to his friend, President Trump, to let him know that it is he who is sending a wrong message to students. So unfortunate that the leader of the free world would be more respectful to college sports teams that he is to a group of the nation’s finest educators.

Mr. McMaster should also tell legislators at the State House that they too are sending the wrong message to students. The things I have read coming from elected officials the last few days should make every teacher, parent, and business outraged. Business community, we need you now more than ever to pressure these people. You want stronger businesses? Stronger schools are the way to get them. Your tax breaks won’t be any good if you have to close shop because an unqualified work force. Even our State Superintendent, Molly Spearman, joined in the teacher shaming today as she questioned the loyalty of countless educators to their students in a very public way. It is no wonder there is a shortage of teachers in South Carolina. With this kind of leadership, who wants to do it?

I was actually considering a return to the classroom next year as an Art teacher. Not now. Not under these conditions. Teacher shaming must end.

*For the record here… Teachers aren’t walking out of their jobs here this week. They are taking days off they have earned, or in some cases unpaid leave, to march through the streets of Columbia to demand respect from our officials. Some legislators are calling it a walk out to fire up the conservative base of the state to speak out against teachers.

*** This post conveys my personal opinion and is not the official position of my employer, PSTA. 🙂