By Darby Good | Page One Editor
Teachers are not glorified babysitters and deserve to be treated as the heroes they are. Teachers help make us the people we are today, and I personally was deeply affected by the recent teacher strikes in Los Angeles and now Denver. Teachers should not have to fight for larger wages, smaller classroom sizes and support staff. Administrators need to take into account the value these educators put into their students’ lives because without them, schools could not function.
In high school, the teachers in my life not only helped me figure out what I wanted to do after graduation, but also gave me insight into the person that I wanted to be. Every day, teachers inspire the next generation to try new things that shape their decisions later in life. Teachers elect to do this because they want to help educate others, not because of monetary gain. They still deserve proper compensation for their services, as well as smaller class sizes that allow students to have a more personal classroom experience with fewer distractions. This also gives space for teachers to assess the individual learning needs of their students, and foster a more controlled learning space . This would allow teachers to focus on classroom material instead of acting as a care taker for their students.
In Los Angeles, the teachers went on a six-day strike starting Jan. 14 until a deal was made with the city’s school district. The compromise included a cap on class sizes, full-time librarians and school nurses and a 6 percent pay increase. Denver teachers voted Wednesday to begin a strike for the first time since 1994, according to the Denver Post. Oakland teachers are planning a vote to strike in the coming week. Virginia teachers plan to rally at the Capitol on Monday for more education funding, a USA Today article said.
Teachers need to be made a priority in our society. Before anyone can begin an upper-level degree program, they must start in the fundamental classrooms taught by the same kinds of teachers that are currently fighting to receive higher pay. Teachers should not have to stop working and go on strike to meet their basic demands of higher wages, smaller class sizes and an increase in support staff. Teachers are required to educate the next generation, and without them children across the globe would be left without the needed information to advance in life.
A study conducted by Business Insider showed the effects of teacher salaries in their respective countries. In Luxembourg, where the literacy rate is 99 percent, starting salaries for inexperienced teachers is $79,000 with a peak salary of $137,000. While in America where is the literacy rate is 86 percent, the average salary for teachers in California during the 2016-2017 school year was $78,711.
If these teachers’ demands are not met, then it is not just the lives of teachers that are affected, but the lives of students. In the Denver Post article, one teacher who voted in favor of the strike said she hoped this would never happen, but she’s doing it for her kids. These teachers want the best for their students, and while stepping away from the classroom takes away from their lesson plans, the teachers find the strike to be a necessary risk that will have greater positive effects for their students in the long run.
Teachers care for the kids in their classroom like their own kids, and they should be financially compensated for the work and planning they put into their jobs. We need them, but if we’re not careful we could lose them one strike at a time.