Why teach?



Many classrooms are without a teacher following a national teacher shortage.

Cristian Lopez Cisneros

   Teachers are restricted, underpaid, and disrespected by their community, so it’s no wonder that fewer people than ever are looking to teaching as a career. 

   Even knowing all the negatives that come with teaching, there are still people that find value elsewhere in the career and choose the path while trying to find ways to adapt to the new teaching landscape.

  The average salary for a public school teacher ranges between $46,827-$68,378 per year according to Salary.com. Considering the amount of work teachers must do and the large responsibility they hold in educating people, they are underpaid. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) states that “Teachers earn 23.5% less than comparable college graduates.” The significant difference in pay drives many people away from teaching, as the average student loan debt is $37,574, and average housing costs in the U.S. are $348,079. Without the monetary incentive to back up teaching, there has to be an intrinsic motive to go into a teaching career. 

   Adolfo Magarin, a security guard at West Ottawa High School said “If you don’t know what’s out there in terms of education it can be hard to see many ways to get out of an economic situation you might be in.” Magarin feels that helping students find school and education as a way of changing one’s economic status is an extremely fulfilling thing to do. Knowing the impact that an education can have on economic status can be an amazing spark that drives future teachers to continue in their pursuit of helping others.

   There has always been censorship of information within the education system. Examples are the censorship of topics that are deemed controversial like American history. An article on NPR states “Since January 2021, researcher Jeffrey Sachs says, 35 states have introduced 137 bills limiting what schools can teach with regard to race, American history, politics, sexual orientation, and gender identity.” Many teachers have voiced their opinions on how negatively these restrictions can impact the teaching process for both students and teachers. These developments in teaching can be very frustrating to both teachers and students who don’t think that education should be censored. 

   Magarin said “I want the students that I teach to be able to think and make their own opinions on topics and even with restrictions I wanna be able to find a way to help them do that”. He believes that being able to formulate personal opinions and thoughts relies heavily on how much you know about the world around you. He hopes to find ways to help students figure out their views and see the different perspectives of those around them. Even with the censorship of certain materials, teachers try to find different ways to help their students expand their knowledge and explore topics.

   In recent years the respect that teachers receive from the people around them has seemingly declined. Along with the lack of respect, teachers also receive a lack of recognition from their community. The amount of negativity that teachers endure on a daily basis can easily deter people from the field. An article on District Administration (DA) says “Overall, two-thirds of teachers said they feel less respected post-COVID”. Despite the tremendous amount of adaptation that educators had to do during COVID, it seems like for the most part, these efforts have gone under the radar.

   “I wouldn’t be here like standing here or living here if it wasn’t for my teachers,” says Magarin.

He believes that the path to a good future can be paved by education and especially by the teachers who motivate and support their students. Although the respect that teachers once received is diminishing, future teachers are hoping to breathe new life into their work to inspire and gain more respect from their students and community.

   Teachers are the backbone of society, educating entire generations and preparing them for the future in hopes of providing their students with the tools they need to realize their full potential, changing the world for the better. Without teachers, there wouldn’t be anyone to pass knowledge to the younger generations. Teachers take on multiple roles, from an educator to support systems for their students in some of the most crucial moments of their lives. With how important teachers are, they deserve far more than they receive. Future teachers may face plenty of challenges in the new landscape of education but with the amount of dedication and care that they wish to bring to their students, there is no question that there will be amazing teachers to teach and guide future generations.