Today when I logged onto my computer I read this article on Yahoo talking about the most surprising top ten lowest paying jobs. Read number 4. Are you surprised? I wasn’t. It made me wonder why. Are we undervalued? Misunderstood? Why do we always end up on lists like this? Why, when we have such important jobs, are we forced into obscurity and looked down upon in society?
I recently took a trip to go and see my sister. I met some of her friends (all have at least a Masters degree) and when they asked me what I did for a living, and I told them, they checked out. They dismissed me – it was like they felt it was below them to talk to me. I was literally ignored the rest of the evening – it was like I was invisible. That hurt. And just because I teach the very young and only have an AA. And it wasn’t the first time something like that has happened.
Why are we underpaid, under-appreciated, and overlooked? Is it because we aren’t unionized? If so, I think that’s a silly reason! Is it because we’re not part of the school districts (in most, but not all cases)? That’s another silly reason! Just because our children are small doesn’t make our job any less important then a college professor’s! In fact, it’s more important. We are a child’s first point of contact when it comes to education. We have them before their brains are fully formed – we help form their brains and essentially help form who these children become – so why don’t we matter as much as all the other educators out there?!
I’m venting, I know – but lets face it, I’m not the only one who feels this way. I hope that with time people will come to see that we aren’t just glorified babysitters – I hope in time we get the respect we know we deserve. But in the meantime I will continue to do the best I can as a teacher – not for society or those people who look down on me – but for the children who matter the most.