Teaching, at its core, is selfless and extremely demanding. An excessive amount of work both in and out of the classroom is needed to keep up with the burdening demands of the job. Yet, despite knowledge of these struggles, our school, from the student body to administration, often undervalues teachers, and that is entirely unacceptable; teachers are, undoubtedly, the most integral piece to the education puzzle and deserve to be treated as such. We need not wait for an arbitrary appreciation week to celebrate our teachers. As recent events have shown, we do not know how much time we have with them, so we must value them while it counts.
For one, administration must do a better job at accommodating teachers’ needs. Recent actions, most notably the elimination of Teacher Assistant classes, have proven burdensome; teachers can spend up to an extra hour per day making photocopies and doing clerical tasks, on top of grading and lesson planning. Additionally, teachers voice concern about arbitrary and disparate treatment from administration.
There are many ways in which the school can improve on this front. A study by Pennsylvania State University found that mentoring, workplace wellness, and stress management programs for teachers all result in a happier, more effective staff while also saving money on teacher turnover. Schools should seriously consider implementing plans of this nature. However, general programs should not be the only support that our school provides. Teachers have their own individual needs and our school should address these on a case-by-case basis in addition to with the broader “one size fits all” solutions. To accomplish this, a dynamic communication system should be put in place that gives teachers a meaningful voice to express their concern without fear of retaliation.
The problem also extends outside of administration’s reach, however. Students frequently and ruthlessly undermine the importance of teachers in a myriad of fashions, from using profanity to disparage some to speaking disrespectfully to others to even being threatening in extreme situations. As a result, the student body needs to reevaluate how it treats its instructors. Simple actions, including friendly greetings, polite classroom behavior (see “”How to be polite” on page 8), and direct appreciation, can go a long way toward reassuring teachers that they are invaluable members of the school. Students should also refrain from constantly bashing their teachers among themselves; it does little more than perpetuate an unhealthy culture of apathy toward teachers within the student body.