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Teachers deserve a lot more respect and not just on National Teacher Day

Chaunie Brusie is writer, speaker, and labor and delivery nurse. Her first book, Tiny Blue Lines, a guide to young motherhood, was released in May 2014. She writes about life as a young mom of three.

Because teaching is the hardest job ever, period

I think most parents can agree that the educational system needs a little work, but pointing fingers at teachers is not the solution.
Do you know what the problem with education is?
It's obviously teachers' enormous salaries, that's what. Because those lazy bums with summers off don't realize how good they have it!
Look, I get it. Our educational system here in the U. S. of A. could use a little work. I know this, the government knows this, and obviously teachers know this. But pointing fingers at teachers is not only not helpful, it's halting any real progress we could make for educational reform. Teachers get the blame for sucking up all the money funneled into schools, when the truth is, the average teacher's salary is only $36,000 — a number I can attest to, because my husband started at even lower than that, was required to pay out-of-pocket for continuing education to keep his certificate up and then saw multiple pay cuts, freezes and retirement for older teachers pulled out of his paycheck.
Apparently this is the norm. When our schools go south, it's the collective opinion of the general public that paying teachers less solves everything. Tell me how this makes sense? Our schools are suffering, so you want to force the very people who are responsible for teaching your children for eight hours a day to do more with less? You want to drive them to find second jobs just to feed their own families so they have less time to prepare lessons, do grading and keep up on 50,000 Individualized Education Plans?
Right. That makes total sense. Because teachers are saints who are willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of your kid.
I grew up surrounded by teachers and now live the life of a teacher's wife, and it never ceases to amaze me how often teachers are villain-ized. When did it become acceptable to demean the people who spend more time with your kids than you do? Would you hope that the doctor performing open heart surgery on you would be OK with getting a pay cut right before she slices you open?
Um, no. Teachers deserve respect, a fair wage and, maybe more importantly, a little understanding.
In an average workweek, my husband is insulted, threatened and expected to not only teach 30-plus students several different subjects in one class but also to keep charge of their special needs, including students who have issues holding their bowel movements. Call me crazy, but that is a stress level most people cannot cope with without a little bit of support. My mother, who's been a teacher for over 20 years, is reduced to tears on a monthly basis by parents who think nothing of insulting her as a person because their children aren't doing their work. Teachers have been scapegoats for problems beyond the scope of their profession, and it's just beyond my comprehension as a parent. If we want to believe education is everything, then we have to also believe that parents and teachers work as a team.
If we want our children to succeed, if we want our workplaces to create more acceptable family-life policies, and if we want the world as whole to be a better place, we need to start with respecting teachers.
So, parents, here's my PSA: If you have a problem with your child at school, please try to first work with his or her teachers, not against them. Because teachers are not the problem with education — they are the only solution.

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