In the U.S. yesterday was National Teacher Day. This is the day once a year that everyone is supposed to honor teachers, which is what they do in this country instead of paying us anywhere near what we should be getting paid for job that requires such a complex set of skills to do it well.
I know, I know, there are a lot of bad teachers out there, or so the critics of public schools are constantly reminding us. I can honestly say that most of the teachers at my school are pretty good, but there are a couple who should be doing something else. But I find it interesting that in a world where businesses routinely offer insanely huge salaries to lure CEO's, people don't seem to make the connection that as long as teachers' salaries are still relatively low, taxpayers will be getting what they pay for in many cases.
Not that there aren't some brilliant people teaching school. Not to brag or anything, but I'm certainly smart enough to have a "real" job, and I have a number of friends who are way up there in the I.Q. points who are good teachers. But there are a lot of average teachers out there, just as there are a lot of average students. Maybe it's the law of averages? But I can't help but think it has a lot to do with the below-average salaries of teachers.
I've been teaching school for 27 years now, with four years out of the classroom serving as president of my local teacher's union (that's a topic for another time!) There have been days I loved the job and days I hated it, days I worked hard and days I hardly worked, days the kids were adorable and days they were horrible. I would have to say that most of the time it's a job that has given me a lot of satisfaction, but maybe not quite as much intellectual stimulation as I might have liked. (Note to self: in next life plan to teach high school civics.)
But there are some perks of the job you just can't replace. Yesterday I was standing in the hall, and I had on my new white jeans (size 6) and a pretty snazzy new teal blue top. A little first grade girl came up and tugged on my shirt. I had never laid eyes on her before, but I looked down (way down!) and said "Hi." She looked up at me with big blue eyes and said in a kind of dreamy sounding voice, "You're pretty."
Now, you just can't beat that for a good work environment can you?