I'm a Struggling Teacher, and I Need Parents to Care More

Teachers need your help. While I'll never turn down a thoughtful gift from my students, supporting educators is about far more than giving us mugs and chocolates during the holiday season or at the end of the year. To ensure that teachers can properly do their job, they need more from our government, parents, and administrations. Quite simply, if you care about your kids, you really need to be supporting teachers.

The extreme daily demands of being a teacher are often publicized. Many wake up when the sun in nowhere to be seen just so they can get to work and start their day by grading papers, meeting with students, crafting lesson plans, attending department meetings, and continuing their own education . . . all before the actual "teaching" part of their day begins. By the end of the day, which is rarely at 3 o'clock, as some people would like you to believe, they bounce to other meetings with parents, help more students, and grade more papers, only to go home and take their work with them. It shouldn't be surprising then to hear that the average teacher works close to 11 hours a day. And this is the problem.

Educators are fighting for the education of children because it's what they love to do, and it boggles the mind why some aren't supportive of that.

It's wildly difficult to maintain that level of commitment to a profession while being continually devalued and treated as expendable. Teachers are the lowest paid professionals, almost by 17 percent, among any other comparable job. Teaching is not menial labor. To be a teacher in this country, you need a college degree (56 percent also have at least a masters) and some kind of teaching certificate. Better pay is a concern for many teachers who have to work multiple jobs just to subsist, but teachers also want better working conditions that will alleviate some of their daily demands.

Teachers strike for a variety of reasons, and yes, better pay and benefits that are commensurate with the demands of the profession and the level of education required are some of those reasons. However, as demonstrated by the teachers in Oklahoma recently, striking for pay alone is not going to solve education's problems considering that district funding has been slashed across the country. A first grader should not have a textbook that was previously used by a middle-aged country singer, and children should not have to sit in chairs that rip their skin.

Educators are fighting for the education of children because it's what they love to do, and it boggles the mind why some aren't supportive of that. Teachers matter more than any other school-related factor when it comes to student success. Beyond just measurable success, when teachers are stressed and burnt out, students feel it too, and a child who has positive experiences with teachers is more likely to enjoy school. Teachers can quite literally make your kid's life better or worse, so it seems like any sensible parent would want to do everything in their power to help teachers be more successful.

If you care about your children, you should be demanding equitable funding for education. Those children we love deserve to be instructed by teachers who don't have to scrape by every month to pay off their student loans and who are comfortable enough so they can focus on all of the work their job demands of them. If you really care about children, you should support teachers. We fight so hard so that your kid can have a brighter future, and we need your help.

Editor's Note: This piece was written by a POPSUGAR contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of POPSUGAR Inc. Interested in joining our POPSUGAR Voices network of contributors from around the globe? Click here.