Negative teacher stereotypes — fueled by social media — contribute to teacher shortage


Education is a right that people should not be denied. Around the world girls are fighting for the opportunity to receive an education and explore that right. Here in California, students’ right to education is mandatory. There is no guarantee, however, that students will have enough qualified teachers to help them learn to their highest potential.

A teacher shortage is unacceptable. There is no end to the benefits of a higher education, and everyone should have access to a fair education. A fair education cannot happen, however, if a teacher is stuck with too many students and cannot therefore spend time to make sure that each one succeeds.

A teacher’s job, after all, is to ensure student success. Teachers shouldn’t just be people who couldn’t decide what other job to pursue. Teachers should be people who are intelligent and like working with kids, people who want to dedicate their lives to educating future generations. Not everyone should be a teacher; teachers should be smart and patient and kind and understanding. Teachers shouldn’t have short tempers; they shouldn’t lash out in the face of conflict, no matter how strong.

Teachers should be motivated and should exert effort in doing their work so that students can learn by their example and set goals and ambitions for themselves. If teachers themselves weren’t motivated to learn when they were younger, then they can’t exactly expect students to be, and motivation is a large determinant in success, so teachers must be willing to try in their jobs in order to effectively shape a generation of hard-working, inspired adults, chasing their own dreams.

Videos circulating of negative interactions between students and teachers, such as the video of biology teacher Jerry Myers dragging a student out of class, can discourage people from pursuing a teaching career in their future. Some may see that video or social media efforts like the Twitter hashtag #getridofher aimed at a teacher and think that the students — especially teenagers —are too rowdy and disruptive to work with. Others may not want to become teachers at the center of attention and possible lawsuit for losing their temper when trying to discipline students who frequently disrupt class.

Teachers need to receive more training before entering the profession to ensure that they are as qualified as possible and able to do their job at or above the current standard. This training should ensure not only that teachers are knowledgeable enough about their subjects to teach them but also that teachers are able to handle high-pressure, tense situations such as those that can sometimes occur in classrooms.

Requiring more training for teachers may mean more money needs to be spent on public education, but that loss to taxpayers is worth the benefit that they will reap from a more educated populace. Additionally, teachers’ salaries need to be increased to show future teachers that their job is respected and appreciated as a profession.

To make sure that teachers are all qualified for their job, we must get more people to consider a career in teaching so that schools can be more selective in who they choose to educate the youth. To do so, California needs to reframe teachers as educated, successful people that effect change and influence the future.