Education field doesn’t deserve its negative connotation

Both of my parents earned their degrees in education over twenty years ago, when the field of education was one of the most popular focuses for students. Landing a job as a teacher was a struggle due to few job openings.

Now, in 2019, we see the pendulum has swung the other way.

Education has become a field with a negative connotation thanks to low income, few educational opportunities for teachers and the circulating idea that people shouldn’t go into teaching because “they could do so much better.”

I am an elementary education major in my first year here at SVSU.

Though I have had a passion for teaching my entire life, I only recently discovered that it’s what I want to do with my life.

I was eager to share my excitement in choosing this career path with my high school teachers, but was shocked when I heard what they had to say about my decision.

Being educators themselves, they fully embraced the idea that I had a passion for teaching and were very happy that I was figuring out what I wanted to spend my life doing.

However, they were also very apprehensive about the road I was heading down.

They voiced their concerns about how the pay is low and anyone choosing to go into the career nowadays is not in it for the money, which is a major factor as to why nobody wants to go into education anymore.

Here in Michigan, a job as a secondary or elementary school teacher can pay as little as $30,000 per year.

A salary this low for a profession requiring a college degree (which does not come cheap) is absurd.

Teachers certainly don’t get paid so little because their jobs are easy.

Teachers are responsible for the education of humankind’s youth. The children learning to read and write today will be the ones erecting skyscrapers and discussing international trade agreements in a few short decades.

For the future of our society, our nation and our world as a whole to function properly, it is essential that the field of education receives the attention and care it needs.

Sure, the annual income for teachers isn’t the greatest, but that doesn’t affect the quality of education for the students, does it? It most certainly does.

Teachers often have to contribute their own financial resources in order to provide their students with the tools to learn. Crayons, scissors, markers, paper towels and tissues may sound cheap, but it doesn’t take a math professor to realize those costs add up.

Teachers nowadays are receiving far fewer educational opportunities than before due to pay cuts and school budgets that have been squeezed dry. With schools unable to provide the financial resources for teachers to do their jobs, the students’ opportunities will without a doubt be dampened.

Asking a teacher to pay for most of their classroom supplies is like asking a librarian to pay for the books they store on their shelves.

When I graduated from high school, many people thought that I was a smart kid, and that I should become a doctor, attorney, dentist or businessman.

These are all wonderful professions that others should definitely pursue, but when I told people I was going into education, their responses baffled me.

I was told that someone “as smart” as I was shouldn’t waste my potential by becoming a teacher.

If people are telling me I am “too smart” to be someone who serves as a role model to today’s youth, who educates them in reading, math, science and history and teaches them essential life lessons and skills to succeed in life, then there is something wrong with the way society is perceiving teachers.

The silver lining in the education situation is the fact that we can initiate change.

The negative connotation due to low income, lack of resources and the idea that teaching isn’t that great of a career can be changed.

If we can give the word “teacher” a negative connotation, we can give it a positive connotation as well.

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