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Friday, January 28, 2022

Opinion

Teachers are the real heroes


Middle school students debate at the yearly Global Classrooms Houston Model UN conference, held Saturday at Lanier Middle School.

Teachers are often overlooked for their achievements, but many of them inspire us in ways no one else can. |File photo/The Cougar

Teaching is in the middle of a crisis. It is important to treat teachers with respect and remember the valuable and difficult role that they possess, because our futures depend on it.

Our memories consist of teachers who inspired us: the ones who went the extra mile to motivate us and tell us that we were special.

I’ll always remember the select few teachers in my life who helped make me the scholar I am. One can only hope that future generations will also have those above-and-beyond mentors in their lives.

All across the nation, enrollment in education programs have seen significant drops over the past five years. According to NPR, California is seeing drops over 53 percent and New York and Texas are not far behind.

With the average national teacher salary starting at $36,000 per year, 68 percent of public schools in the U.S. have at least one vacancy with 15 percent of those reporting the openings nearly impossible to fill, according to a new report by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics.

Teaching is no easy task. From an economic stand point, it is certainly unfair in compensation. It requires extraordinary patience, compassion and a passion for student success. The teachers of today work long hours to effect positive change, so why aren’t they appreciated?

We all know of those few bad apples, like the students who have no interest in learning the subject a teacher so passionately committed themselves to. We see it on the news and the Internet: videos of students being disrespectful toward teachers, shouting and calling them names and making obscene gestures toward them. It’s disgusting, and over the years, it seems to be getting worse.

It’s hard to swallow all of the crappy stuff you hear that happens in classrooms. In those days, we all heard about it: the hallway gossip of students disrupting class and going as far as making a grown woman cry or a grown man hang on quietly in desperation. I can only imagine how humiliated teachers must feel when their own students turn against them.

For those pursuing the career, I beg you to not let this discourage you. One of the teachers who really turned my life around always used to say, “Experience is what you get when you don’t get what you want.”

Always remember that you can make a difference and that you can positively influence a young person for the rest of his or her life. Take it from Emily E. Smith, a fifth grade language arts teacher from Austin, who was recently nationally recognized for her excellence in writing instruction.

Upon accepting her award, Smith said, “As I stand here today, I can declare that I am no longer a language arts and social studies teacher but a self-proclaimed teacher of social justice and the art of communication with words…We, the teachers, are responsible for instilling empathy and understanding in the hearts of all kids.”

Opinion columnist Franco Rosales is a public relations junior and may be reached at [email protected]

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