What Do Texas Teachers Really Need To Thrive? It’s Not More Pay
Texas is critically short on teachers, in fact, "some districts reported hundreds of openings for teachers just weeks and days before the school year started," according to Raise Your Hand Texas, a non-partisan nonprofit organization that advocates for better public policy when it comes to Texas school.
Raise Your Hand Texas advocates for better pay for teachers, which I believe they clearly, obviously deserve. But what do teachers really want?
From talking to my teacher friends, and reading threads on semi-anonymous places like Reddit in which Texas educator speak their minds freely, teachers mostly want one thing, and that's not to be completely burnt out.
One teacher on Reddit laid it all bare, and it is eye-opening:
No matter how much you pay a teacher it can not make them a superhuman that meets 24 individual social, emotional, and learning needs. Plus, poverty, special needs, lack of parental support, and all the other things the poor state of our society throws at us.
This teacher didn't want pay, they wanted more teachers hired so the classroom ratio would be closer to 12-14 students, instead of 24. I'm sure most parents would be thrilled at this prospect, too, as we all know more individual attention helps kids tremendously.
Teachers work 54 hours a week as a "standard" although my teacher friends have told me they've had 80-hour work weeks before. This has led to nearly 75% of teachers reporting that they often feel stressed at work. Almost 77% of teachers have reported they have seriously considered leaving teaching.
Yes, they need better pay. They also need better benefits and better retirement, too.
But in order to fix this problem at the root, we need to put way less on our teacher's plates. We need much smaller class sizes and better and more support staff.
And, if I may add one more thing, I truly believe we need way more well-trained mental health counselors and school nurses actually in schools (not shared or telehealth) to help these kids as well. You can't expect a teacher to be all those things and more to 24 or more human souls. It's too much, and those kids are the ones who won't get the education they deserve.
And it won't be the teacher's fault.
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