Show respect to the teaching profession, value of an education

September 12, 2017

Jasmine Nelson

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    Perhaps we’ve heard the saying, “Those can, do. Those who can’t, teach.”

    Perhaps we’ve let thoughts like that dictate the way you perceive the teaching profession and those who choose to develop their career in schools.

    But do we remember who first introduced you to your favorite book? Or how we first learned about your dream job? Do we remember lighting up as a child when we learned something new?

    Our teachers probably gave us all those experiences and more.

    Colorado’s teacher workforce has declined 7.7 percent over the past 10 years, and the number of graduates from teacher-preparation education programs has declined by about 25 percent in the last five years, according to the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

    Colorado schools, especially schools in more rural areas, need as many as 3,500 more teachers. Making the matter worse, about one-third of Colorado’s teachers are at a retirement age.

    Those looking to solve this dilemma cite several factors that are discouraging teachers from pursuing a teaching career in the state of Colorado. These factors include feelings of isolation in many rural communities and a low salary.

    Last week, The Scribe reported that an average salary for a teacher in a rural area was $28,000 a year. This year, there were just 2,400 graduates from the UCCS College of Education, according to Robert Mitchell, assistant professor of Leadership, Research and Foundations.

    UCCS students that attend college to earn their teaching qualifications deserve the utmost respect for the contributions they will make to the world throughout their careers.

    Students at UCCS should reach out to their lawmakers and demonstrate the kind of support that teachers deserve. At the very least, those shaping and guiding the minds and hearts of every child in Colorado deserve fair salaries and regular salary increases.

    Teachers often aren’t respected for the work they do. But teaching isn’t just a job.

    Not only do teachers teach every child that grows up in the U.S., but they often assume the roles of mentor, counselor, friend and sometimes even caregiver. Growing up, all of us have been supported by teachers, probably in ways we didn’t even realize at the time.

    Teachers do not stop being teachers outside of their school’s operating hours.

    Teachers grade papers at home, plan their lessons in bed, learn the most effective ways of communicating with their students and invent solutions to a myriad of problems that can arise in the classroom.

    Teachers must ensure their students meet state-governed criteria, while encouraging students’ natural curiosity and love of learning. They are criticized by parents who feel that their child’s teacher should be raising him according to his parent’s specific standards, and teachers are criticized for issues in schools that are due to much larger system failings.

    As UCCS students, we need to give the teaching profession the respect it deserves, and care about the fair compensation of our state’s teachers.

    And when we become parents (or if you already are one,) respect your child’s teacher. Don’t undermine your child’s teacher for the sake of your own pride when your child gets in trouble, or because you disagree slightly with their techniques of discipline.

    Those who teach your children shape them into who they are for the rest of their lives. Support that.