Finding Perspective: Teacher’s Shoes

Sometimes you have to put yourself in someone else’s shoes to really understand a situation. Recently I had the privilege of volunteering at my children’s school on two separate occasions. My assignment was to lead three different classes in special activities for 45 minutes each. The ages of the kids I worked with ranged from 3 to 11. How hard could it be? I have two kids, 5 & 7 that I watch and hang out with on a daily basis, so this should be simple. Right?

Well, let me tell you it wasn’t easy work. In fact, to be honest at the end of only three 45 minutes classes I was exhausted! Did I really enjoy my experience? Yes. It was great. But I was tired out after only a short time with the kids. I couldn’t imagine teaching and watching them all day long.  Plus at my job I can get up from my desk anytime I want, hit the restroom, grab a drink or even make a personal call. None of this happens when you are with the class. It’s non-stop! And these were small classes. Some schools around town have classes with 25 kids in them!

So this gets me to my point. After my volunteer experience I am convinced teachers are underpaid BIG time. The hours are long, the demands are high, the working conditions are often challenging … and the pay? Let’s just say, you don’t go into teaching for the money. The average teacher salary in the state of Iowa is $48,000. That’s the average. In my children’s school and many others teachers are getting paid way less than that.

If you really think about the responsibility the teachers have it makes the pay seem like even less. Teachers are given the responsibility of guiding the future generation and  sure, with that comes rewards. Good teachers can have huge positive impact on students. They can literally change lives. But is that reward enough or do they deserve more? Cue the person to say “Well, teachers get 3 months off during the Summer”. Is this really time off? Maybe for a few teachers, but if you ask the teachers I know it’s not 3 months off. They are prepping, planning, going to meetings or furthering their education so that they can help bring the best out of your child.

So what do you think? Maybe before you can answer that question you should try putting yourself in a teacher’s shoes. It might just change your perspective and give you a better appreciation for your children’s teacher.


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