Image from Pexels.

Image from Pexels.

By now, you’ve no doubt heard of the brave Jeff Bliss for calling out his teacher for doing her job poorly. Since the video went viral, Bliss has appeared on the news and been interviewed time and time again. All around our 21st century information superhighway, Bliss has been praised as the one student to finally speak up about an injustice in our educational system.

I’m not one to deny Bliss’s concern. I don’t think I’m the only one who’s had their share of teachers less than engaged in their job, but just how often have we tried to look at the situation from the point of view of the teacher? Surely, we can’t place the blame solely on them when it comes to the flaws of the American education system? What defines a teacher’s job anyway? If handing packets out day after day gets the lesson drilled into some students, has the teacher done their job effectively? Is it a necessity for a teacher to inspire their students day after day?

What are teachers dealing with?

It’s no hidden surprise that a teacher’s salary isn’t much to brag about at only 30k a year. While it isn’t much, this is the future of a nation right? These teachers are here to do their job because they love to teach, and nothing will discourage them right?

Well, it turns out not every student is a Tracy Flick. If a 30K salary isn’t enough to knock the wind out of a teacher’s sails, then the attitude of just one disrespectful student and the extra tasks to go along with the job just might be more than enough.

Imagine Ted, a teacher only into a week of his job, eager to start a new day, has woken up early in the morning, ready to tackle anything that comes charging at him. Sure, he may have anticipated going to work at 7, but he’s been assigned to offer early morning prep courses. Coming in a bit earlier isn’t much right? By the middle of the day, although Ted has had two wonderful classes so far, he’s had to put up with Jane’s snarky attitude for 45 minutes while trying to teach the rest of the class physics. By now Ted’s mood has been dampened, and by 2 PM, things have gone pretty downhill. Don’t forget the homework corrections and tests he’ll have to go home and grade if he couldn’t finish them during his lunch hour. Ted will go through this several days in a row; some being a delight, others being just as stressful. No doubt about it, the job is weary, almost to the point where Ted may feel like handing out a packet and take a period to catch up on the latest episode of  The Walking Dead. It goes without saying however, that my examples varies by school quality, but isn’t too far out of the realm of reality.

Can money motivate?

Relevantly, popular myth seems to float around that Finland, which has been known to produce a properly educated student body, pays its teachers the equivalent of doctors, leading to a better job done for the students. CATO’s study seems to prove otherwise, claiming that teachers aren’t paid much when taking Finland’s average cost of living into account and curriculum based around the PISA.

The completely radical idea of paying students for high grades has come up before and shown it’s success, should the students be paid more instead? The idea isn’t practical at all, and would be impossible to integrate. So then, what can be done to get the most out of our teachers?

Well, in the end…

When you get down to it, the situation can’t be fixed with one quick swoop, or else someone would’ve caught on years ago. What’s certain though, is that the issue can’t be blamed on one group. Despite this, it’s been pretty rough finding defence in support of the teacher. No doubt about it, some teachers aren’t engaged with their students, but does that stop students or even the parents from supplementing their child’s education? Should they even have to? In the meantime, the best thing that can be done is to encourage students stuck with bad teachers to take control of their own education and self-study if there’s really no other choice. The internet opens the door to thousands of resources, and not to mention, it’s really inseparable from our technology centered world.

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