As a child of two educators, I often hear about the issues brought up in this video discussed at home. Most people agree that teachers are an incremental part of our education, but the state that our school systems are in simply don't reflect that philosophy. We don't have nearly enough resources for class, and most of the buildings need repair. However, while we can make do with tattered textbooks and tolerate leaky ceilings, we simply cannot go without our teachers. I've been in the public school system all my life, and I've seen countless teaching positions being emptied as teachers leave, and then filled with new faces a few weeks later. But in recent years, the time that teaching spots remain empty has been steadily increasing. It might be a couple months, or even semesters.
Teaching has become a noble profession that no one wants to get into. One might start out with a strong desire to educate young students, disregarding the low wages and minimal support, but passion can only go so far. Enthusiasm doesn't pay bills or buy groceries. Seeing my parents spend hours pouring over their lesson plans, making sure each topic is covered, thinking up ways to make classes interesting, I realize that teachers aren't paid nearly enough for the work they do, or the additional hours they sacrifice for their students. As a result, even the most dedicated of teachers are leaving education. They need more support, both in lawmaking bodies, and in classrooms. There is a lot of bureaucracy in politics, and the path towards changing our education system is convoluted. But we can't let these challenges mute our voices to speak out, or keep us from advocating for our teachers, peers, and ourselves.
I am graduating this year, and will be driving out of the school parking lot for the last time in May. I might not be back on that familiar campus for a long time, but I sincerely hope that on occasions when I do return, I will see familiar faces in the classrooms, still passionately teaching students, gesturing wildly with the same enthusiasm that once inspired me to work harder, and dream bigger. I hope they will be there.
University High School
(Editor's note: Maggie Zheng is a Flinn Scholarship Recipient. Her letter is in response to a KGUN9 story on teachers discouraging students from going into the teaching profession.)