Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

What Public K-12 Teachers Want Americans To Know About Teaching

Illustrations by Hokyoung Kim

At a time when most teachers are feeling stressed and overwhelmed in their jobs, we asked 2,531 public K-12 teachers this open-ended question:

If there’s one thing you’d want the public to know about teachers, what would it be?

We also asked Americans what they think about teachers to compare with teachers’ perceptions of how the public views them.

Related: What’s It Like To Be a Teacher in America Today?

A bar chart showing that about half of teachers want the public to know that teaching is a hard job.
How we did this

Pew Research Center conducted this analysis to better understand what public K-12 teachers would like Americans to know about their profession. We also wanted to learn how the public thinks about teachers.

For the open-end question, we surveyed 2,531 U.S. public K-12 teachers from Oct. 17 to Nov. 14, 2023. The teachers surveyed are members of RAND’s American Teacher Panel, a nationally representative panel of public K-12 school teachers recruited through MDR Education. Survey data is weighted to state and national teacher characteristics to account for differences in sampling and response to ensure they are representative of the target population.

Overall, 96% of surveyed teachers provided an answer to the open-ended question. Center researchers developed a coding scheme categorizing the responses, coded all responses, and then grouped them into the six themes explored in the data essay.

For the questions for the general public, we surveyed 5,029 U.S. adults from Nov. 9 to Nov. 16, 2023. The adults surveyed are members of the Ipsos KnowledgePanel, a nationally representative online survey panel. Panel members are randomly recruited through probability-based sampling, and households are provided with access to the Internet and hardware if needed. To ensure that the results of this survey reflect a balanced cross section of the nation, the data is weighted to match the U.S. adult population by gender, age, education, race and ethnicity and other categories.

Here are the questions used for this analysis, along with responses, the teacher survey methodology and the general public survey methodology.

Most of the responses to the open-ended question fell into one of these six themes:

Teaching is a hard job

About half of teachers (51%) said they want the public to know that teaching is a difficult job and that teachers are hardworking. Within this share, many mentioned that they have roles and responsibilities in the classroom besides teaching, which makes the job stressful. Many also talked about working long hours, beyond those they’re contracted for.

“Teachers serve multiple roles other than being responsible for teaching curriculum. We are counselors, behavioral specialists and parents for students who need us to fill those roles. We sacrifice a lot to give all of ourselves to the role as teacher.”

– Elementary school teacher

“The amount of extra hours that teachers have to put in beyond the contractual time is ridiculous. Arriving 30 minutes before and leaving an hour after is just the tip of the iceberg. … And as far as ‘having summers off,’ most of August is taken up with preparing materials for the upcoming school year or attending three, four, seven days’ worth of unpaid development training.”

– High school teacher


Teachers care about their students

The next most common theme: 22% of teachers brought up how fulfilling teaching is and how much teachers care about their students. Many gave examples of the hardships of teaching but reaffirmed that they do their job because they love the kids and helping them succeed. 

“We are passionate about what we do. Every child we teach is important to us and we look out for them like they are our own.”

– Middle school teacher

“We are in it for the kids, and the most incredible moments are when children make connections with learning.”

– Elementary school teacher


Teachers are undervalued and disrespected

Some 17% of teachers want the public to know that they feel undervalued and disrespected, and that they need more public support. Some mentioned that they are well-educated professionals but are not treated as such. And many teachers in this category responded with a general plea for support from the public, which they don’t feel they’re getting now.

“We feel undervalued. The public and many parents of my students treat me and my peers as if we do not know as much as they do, as if we are uneducated.”

– Elementary school teacher

“The public attitudes toward teachers have been degrading, and it is making it impossible for well-qualified teachers to be found. People are simply not wanting to go into the profession because of public sentiments.”

– High school teacher


Teachers are underpaid

A similar share of teachers (15%) want the public to know that teachers are underpaid. Many teachers said their salary doesn’t account for the effort and care they put into their students’ education and believe that their pay should reflect this.

“We are sorely underpaid for the amount of hours we work and the education level we have attained.”

– Elementary school teacher


Teachers need support and resources from government and administrators

About one-in-ten teachers (9%) said they need more support from the government, their administrators and other key stakeholders. Many mentioned working in understaffed schools, not having enough funding and paying for supplies out of pocket. Some teachers also expressed that they have little control over the curriculum that they teach.

“The world-class education we used to be proud of does not exist because of all the red tape we are constantly navigating. If you want to see real change in the classroom, advocate for smaller class sizes for your child, push your district to cap class sizes at a reasonable level and have real, authentic conversations with your child’s teacher about what is going on in the classroom if you’re curious.”

– Middle school teacher


Teachers need more support from parents

Roughly the same share of teachers (8%) want the public to know that teachers need more support from parents, emphasizing that the parent-teacher relationship is strained. Many view parents as partners in their child’s education and believe that a strong relationship improves kids’ overall social and emotional development.

“Teachers help students to reach their potential. However, that job is near impossible if parents/guardians do not take an active part in their student’s education.”

– High school teacher


How the U.S. public views teachers

While the top response from teachers in the open-ended question is that they want the public to know that teaching is a hard job, most Americans already see it that way. Two-thirds of U.S. adults say being a public K-12 teacher is harder than most other jobs, with 33% saying it’s a lot harder.

And about three-quarters of Americans (74%) say teachers should be paid more than they are now, including 39% who say teachers should be paid a lot more.

Americans are about evenly divided on whether the public generally looks up to (32%) or down on (30%) public K-12 teachers. Some 37% say Americans neither look up to or down on public K-12 teachers.

A bar chart showing that teachers’ perceptions of how much Americans trust public K-12 teachers to do their job well is more negative than the general public’s response.

In addition to the open-ended question about what they want the public to know about them, we asked teachers how much they think most Americans trust public K-12 teachers to do their job well. We also asked the public how much they trust teachers. Answers differ considerably.

Nearly half of public K-12 teachers (47%) say most Americans don’t trust teachers much or at all. A third say most Americans trust teachers some, and 18% say the public trusts teachers a great deal or a fair amount.

In contrast, a majority of Americans (57%) say they do trust public K-12 teachers to do their job well a great deal or a fair amount. About a quarter (26%) say they trust teachers some, and 17% say they don’t trust teachers much or at all.

Related: About half of Americans say public K-12 education is going in the wrong direction

How the public’s views differ by party

There are sizable party differences in Americans’ views of teachers. In particular, Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents are more likely than Republicans and Republican leaners to say:

  • They trust teachers to do their job well a great deal or a fair amount (70% vs. 44%)
  • Teaching is a lot or somewhat harder when compared with most other jobs (77% vs. 59%)
  • Teachers should be paid a lot or somewhat more than they are now (86% vs. 63%)

In their own words

Below, we have a selection of quotes that describe what teachers want the public to know about them and their profession.

“We love our kids and love making a difference in their lives.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are teachers because we want to make a difference in the lives of children. We don’t do it for the money or prestige. We teach because we are called.”
– Elementary school teacher
“What we are being asked to do as educators will be more successful with engagement from families with their child and the school.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Appreciate teachers. Sometimes just hearing a ‘thank you’ from families is all we need to get us through our day.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are tasked with being a teacher, guidance counselor, therapist, project manager, negotiator, curriculum writer, special educator. We are given more with less support.”
– Elementary school teacher
“That we are not the enemy. Over the past several years, post-COVID, it seems that the current legislation has worked really hard to demonize teachers. I work 60 hours a week for someone else’s children, often neglecting my own personal needs and the needs of my family. I have been doing this job for 18 years and my pay is frozen for the next 10 years in my state. It’s like no one values how hard we work and how much it takes to be good at what you do.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers do more than just teach kids. They provide school supplies for those who don’t have [them]. They provide food for those who are hungry. They provide an ear for those who need to confide in an adult. And they provide a normal space for those who don’t have that at home.”
– Middle school teacher
“We work 12 months a year but get paid for nine. We love children or we wouldn’t be in this business.”
– High school teacher
“Out plates are full. We have so many duties/tasks that our jobs require us to work more than our contracted hours. Bringing work home is a constant thing. We need more planning time during school hours in order to prepare properly, at least in elementary education.”
– Elementary school teacher
“I would want the public to understand that a teacher’s work is literally never done. No matter how good you get at it, you are never DONE, you have never MASTERED it, and there are always more and more demands on your time. Teachers have to make a million split-second decisions every day, and they do a million things outside their contracted hours and outside their job descriptions that they are not compensated for.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers can accomplish so much more with parental support.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Parents, please encourage your students to respect adults. So much more learning can come from parents and teachers working together to develop students’ minds and character for the future.”
– Middle school teacher
“We do not make the decisions that everyone complains about. We complain about them too. People who DO NOT WORK IN THE CLASSROOMS make these decisions.”
– Elementary school teacher
“To have patience with teachers, as the education world is ever-changing. Also, that learning is twofold: Half of the work is at school and half is at home. Parent support is vital.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Communicate with the teachers of your kids. We need help and support from parents.”
– High school teacher
“I think the public needs to know that teachers need more support from the community. This can be through encouragement, donations, volunteering and much more. Please pressure politicians to make changes in our school systems to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers have chosen this profession to impact students due to them understanding the significance that teachers and education can have on our youth. They have not chosen this occupation for the compensation – they have chosen this profession DESPITE the lack of compensation compared to other professions that required similar education.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We have an extremely difficult job that requires expertise in our subject area, expertise in pedagogy and a tremendous amount of patience. Our job often extends past the school day into our home lives.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are doing our best! Most of us genuinely care about our students and want to see them flourish. We’re underfunded and understaffed, but we are doing our best for our students!”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers are slowly losing their position as independent professionals in the public eye and if we want the quality of our education to continue to improve, teachers need to be trusted again to do their jobs effectively without being told what to teach and how to teach it by people in the community who are not professional educators.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers work way more hours than what they are assigned at their school site. They’re largely left alone to handle the exponential issues that might come up in the classroom, from technology to mental health to discipline, and of course, teaching your subject matter. Teachers feel a deep amount of burnout – to teach is to be on stage all day long. The weekend is not long enough, and teachers deeply need their vacation time. Teachers often work during breaks and passing periods to keep the thread of their lessons organized. Teachers often grade and plan on weekends, early in the morning and late at night.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers work harder and longer hours than any other profession. We give A LOT of ourselves, taking from our own families and sacrificing time with our families to make a difference for other families. We don’t get paid for it, we don’t get recognized for it or compensated for it. Most teachers can’t afford health insurance or eyeglasses. Do you know how many teachers NEED eyeglasses?! We get a 2% raise so our health insurance can go up 5%. Our retirement program is minimal, and we are not entitled to our spouse’s benefits if they die. It’s considered double-dipping.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We really do want what is best for children, and we really do not have all of the materials, support or staffing to do what we know is best.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are sorely underpaid for the amount of hours we work and the education level we have attained.”
– Elementary school teacher
“They do not get paid well for the hours they actually work.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are doing the best we can. Resources are slim, the achievement gap is large and changes need to be made.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are not babysitters, we are professionals and should be treated as such.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Due to government requirements, teachers don’t truly get to teach in public schools. Most ‘teaching’ is scripted or putting students on computer programs. In classes where curriculum is not given, teachers do not get a lot of time with students and are constantly given other duties and tasks. Plus, student behaviors are out of control: kicking and hitting teachers, yelling and cussing. Discipline is so relaxed that students don’t worry about referrals.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are only one part of a child’s education, and any effort to improve public education must take into account the other factors involved – the two most important of which are families and the motivation and ability of students themselves. Any effort to improve public education that does not at least in part focus on the role of families and students themselves will fail.”
– High school teacher
“There is so much more to being a teacher than the actual teaching of lessons. Lessons needs to be planned and prepped for. You need to provide differentiation for unique needs while providing intervention and enrichment. You need to counsel students through social issues and teach social-emotional needs. That’s not even the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more to teaching than people think.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We love our jobs, but it is emotionally and physically exhausting. We are making decisions every minute, planning every minute. We are showing students we care about them and that they are safe, emotionally and academically supporting them – and many times without parental support.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers do not teach for money or fame. Teachers teach because of their passion for education and helping students grow. If you ask a teacher what they love most about their job, the answer will almost always have something to do with making a difference in the lives of learners.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We work very hard every day to do our jobs. This is not a 9-to-5 occupation in which you leave everything at the door. Our job comes home with us, to our family. We never ‘turn off.’”
– Elementary school teacher
“Schools are understaffed and the teacher-student ratio is too high.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teaching is a polarizing position in today’s politics, but the joy of helping children learn is worth the struggle.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers are disrespected and under appreciated. It is the most difficult job in the world where you pour your heart and soul into to get blamed for everyone else’s shortcomings in a broken system with no accountability and low expectations for students.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers want your support. They are partners in your child’s education. It is extremely difficult to teach when your child is disrupting the other students, assaulting the teachers, calling out. It is not the school’s fault that these things are happening. Let’s work together to support the child, come up with a plan and enact consequences when the behavior is not aligned with class expectations.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers go above and beyond every day to meet the individual needs of their kids, but this takes time and support from all stakeholders to be effective.”
– Elementary school teacher
“It has become a low-paying, high-stress job in a broken, unsustainable system.”
– Elementary school teacher
“The politicized stereotypes of teachers are false narratives. Teachers are working hard to make sure children are supported and learning how to function successfully in an increasingly interdependent and connected world.”
– High school teacher
“We need to work together to raise, educate and guide our children. The home-school connection needs to be strong! Teachers and parents/guardians must work as a team to support the academic, physical, emotional and social components of a child’s development.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We need support financially and manpower/volunteers from the community.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Public school educators want students to succeed and are willing to engage with families to do so. We are not adversaries. We are educated, put in long hours (often unpaid) and want to partner with families.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers work hard to educate and build quality relationships with students, but the public has little respect and consideration for this very important but difficult job we have.”
– Middle school teacher
“It is not what it used to be. We do so much more than teach and don’t have time to plan and teach because we are so overwhelmed by everything else that is required of us.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are truly not paid what we’re worth. A master’s degree should mean $70,000 starting wage, but in education it’s $50,000. This needs to change. If we were just teaching classes eight hours a day, we would stay in the industry. Instead, we are therapists, curriculum developers, custodians, interior designers, entertainers and more. On top of that, we are micromanaged and told that our education and experience mean nothing. In past careers, I was respected – I have more experience and training in this field and am treated like I know nothing.”
– High school teacher
“We are on the parents’ side. We just [wish] they would be on our side also.”
– High school teacher
“The world couldn’t function without the foundation teachers provide. So why are the people we teach out there making two to four times the money we make?”
– Elementary school teacher
“We only make enough money to live paycheck to paycheck.”
– Elementary school teacher
“I would want people to see all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into preparing for a single day of teaching. I would like them to understand the emotional exhaustion teachers face dealing with student behaviors and trauma.”
– Middle school teacher
“Collaboration between school and home is critical until the age of 18. Continue to be involved in your child’s life, including social, emotional and personal matters.”
– High school teacher
“The amount of work and multitasking teachers do is not always obvious to the outside world. Good teaching is very hard work. The love we have for our students is what fuels us to work hard.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We should be paid more for all the stuff we have to do besides teach.”
– High school teacher
“The salary of teachers must be competitive with other professions of equal education levels before any improvements can occur.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are grossly underpaid for what it requires to be a good teacher.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are beginning to literally give up due to failed systematic problems involving curriculum, instruction, assessment, special education, etc.”
– Elementary school teacher
“The job of the teacher is an extremely complex one that requires content expertise, an in-depth knowledge of pedagogy, extensive administrative paperwork, and how to gauge the social and emotional well-being of students. It’s incredibly challenging work.”
– High school teacher
“We are not supported by administration or the community, and the current challenges we deal with daily (large influx of ESL students, effects of the pandemic, special education, discipline, violence, the classroom becoming a battleground for political agendas) are either not addressed, no support available, or are simply lumped upon classroom teachers to deal with along with increasing class sizes, increasing class loads, while we are told that ‘there is no cavalry coming.’”
– High school teacher
“Learning and respect just don’t get started in the classroom – it starts at home!”
– High school teacher
“The public wants to influence what teachers can and cannot teach, even without understanding the subject that they are opposed to … administrations are tasked with more and more to put on teachers from the district, state and federal level, and it is causing more and more teachers to leave the profession.”
– High school teacher
“We are tired of being underappreciated and underpaid. A pat on the back doesn’t pay the bills.”
– High school teacher
“A teacher’s job is more than teaching. We are nurses and counselors. We take care of [students’] health and their well-being as well. It is a thankless job, for little money and lots of stress.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are in this field to make a difference for each student that walks into their classroom. We know we won’t be liked by all, but [we] should have the respect and courtesy of any other licensed professional. We work above and beyond the hours we are asked to work, and we put a lot of our heart and soul into what we do … which other licensed professionals do not. We deserve the respect of the communities we work in, and our pay should also represent that respect.”
– Elementary school teacher
“The amount of extra hours that teachers have to put in beyond the contractual time is ridiculous. Arriving 30 minutes before and leaving an hour after is just the tip of the iceberg. … And as far as ‘having summers off,’ most of August is taken up with preparing materials for the upcoming school year or attending three, four, seven days’ worth of unpaid development training.”
– High school teacher
“It is an extremely undervalued job with a lot that is asked of teachers than what is known publicly. Teachers don’t just teach. They have a lot of different responsibilities aside from teaching.”
– Middle school teacher
“It is challenging mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are new challenges every single day when working with kids.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers put countless hours and dollars and emotional energy into teaching every day. We would like the respect of administrators and the community in the form of pay, benefits and treatment.”
– Elementary school teacher
“There is so much happening in the classroom that they are unaware of: Data collection, behavior monitoring, peer problem-solving, lesson planning, prep work, organization, student concern meetings, newsletters, email correspondences … People seem to think teaching is easy, but it is physically and emotionally draining.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are not paid enough to be a single-income family.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Accountability goes both ways, and while parents are rightfully holding teachers accountable to their actions, parents are not being held accountable to their own. Parents and students alike are given a free pass to just disrespect us outright, and there are no consequences they face.”
– Middle school teacher
“We are being overworked to meet goals set by politicians, often without concern for their efficacy in education. There isn’t enough time to complete the extra tasks and teach our students effectively, get to know them and assist them with their health and well-being.”
– High school teacher
“They work extremely hard, care about their students and sacrifice time with their families to provide an education for their students.”
– High school teacher
“It is getting harder and harder. Teachers aren’t paid enough and can hardly make a fair living.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers put their full hearts and minds into their students. We don’t ‘turn off’ on the weekends or over summer because we truly care about the academic, social and emotional growth of our students.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers work as hard as they can to meet students where they are, and do everything they can to get them to where they need to be.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers really try very hard to establish partnerships with parents, but most teachers feel as though the parents aren’t very supportive of their child or their teacher. Teachers these days take on too much responsibility when it comes to teaching. It would be nice if parents actually disciplined their children and taught their children to respect ALL adults. Children these days are in a hurry to be adults. Stop trying to be your child’s friend and be their parent. Stop buying them monetary items and teach your children morals, values and beliefs.”
– Middle school teacher
“We are in it for the kids, and the most incredible moments are when children make connections with learning.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers are underpaid and are the target of constant attack. It is unjust and extremely stressful.”
– High school teacher
“We are dedicated to what we do. We invest in the lives of our students as if they are our own children; our goal is to make them better people.”
– Middle school teacher
“We are passionate about what we do. Every child we teach is important to us and we look out for them like they are our own.”
– Middle school teacher
“We love your kids and we want the best for them. We spend more time with your kids than with our own kids, so just give us some trust to do right by them.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Due to systemic underfunding of various social services, public schools are being forced to handle mental health crises, lack of basic necessities and staffing shortages that make it increasingly difficult to serve students as they deserve.”
– Elementary school teacher
“That we invest so much of ourselves into our students.”
– High school teacher
“True teachers make it their mission to be a light to children.”
– Elementary school teacher
“I have been a teacher for over 17 years. Just know that your child’s teacher needs your support. Without that situation – where the teacher has parent support and both the parent and teacher are on the same team – the child will suffer. A lot of social, emotional and functional negative behaviors stem from the student seeing that they can do whatever they want at home and that their parent does not have time or does not react.”
– Elementary school teacher
“It is becoming increasingly more difficult to handle behavior issues. Parent support is lacking.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers and parents must work together. It can be difficult if there is no communication and teamwork to help students be successful!”
– Elementary school teacher
“We don’t make enough money to live, even after seven-plus years in a public, unionized district. I haven’t been able to pay my bills without supplementary income since I started this job.”
– High school teacher
“Teaching is not a career where you can make a livable salary.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We put in far more hours than anyone could imagine. It is not a job that you walk away from at 5 p.m. Time, money and emotional tolls come with this profession at a rate that cannot be understood unless you are in it.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers care. Funding the profession means keeping teachers that care in the classroom.”
– Middle school teacher
“We too are human. We get frustrated and upset, just as parents do when they have said something for the 50th time. And while parents are, understandably, inherently protective of their children, when they are given data and concrete statements from multiple sources about the state of their child’s behavior or academic level, they may want to take that (instead of their child’s word) as truth. Just because you may or may not pay taxes, we don’t work for you. We work for kids.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We feel undervalued. The public and many parents of my students treat me and my peers as if we do not know as much as they do, as if we are uneducated.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Adults are generally the reason for [teaching] being challenging. It is usually the parents who do not support their children or the administration who doesn’t support the teachers.”
– Middle school teacher
“We care about our students and want them to be successful. We need parent support and a system that really values education!”
– Elementary school teacher
“We need parents to help us and back us with their students. We have to work together to prepare the students for the real world.”
– Middle school teacher
“We know what we are doing in the classroom. Please trust us to know our curriculum and what to teach. Banning books and all these laws restricting how and what teachers can do is not helping and is not giving parents any more choice than they already have. All that is doing is crippling our already overburdened education system that is barely functioning. The world-class education we used to be proud of does not exist because of all the red tape we are constantly navigating. If you want to see real change in the classroom, advocate for smaller class sizes for your child, push your district to cap class sizes at a reasonable level and have real, authentic conversations with your child’s teacher about what is going on in the classroom if you’re curious.”
– Middle school teacher
“I think it’s an amazing and rewarding career, and there are lots of great teachers out there who really care about their students and want to help them succeed.”
– High school teacher
“Teaching is more than a career. It truly is the cliche ‘calling,’ and like any other profession, there are good days, great days, mediocre and terrible days. But the reality is that the profession is worth it all.”
– High school teacher
“Parents need to support teachers. Students need their parent’s support by taking an active role in their education.”
– High school teacher
“We need to be treated like professionals. We are micromanaged, underpaid, not trusted to do our jobs. We are expected to deal with too many things and are not equipped.”
– High school teacher
“The salary fails to reflect the amount of work necessary to be a successful teacher.”
– High school teacher
“For as important as our job is, there is not a lot of respect for what we do.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Our job is not an 8-to-3, Monday-to-Friday job with summers off. In my district, we do 10 days of professional development during our summer. We also work numerous days in our classrooms to prepare for the kiddos returning to school. We are not only educating children, we are with them and see what goes on with them more than most parents.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We work extremely hard in an ever increasingly difficult situation. The number of students who come in with trauma has skyrocketed, but the resources haven’t matched the need.”
– High school teacher
“They are asked to teach way too many things in way too little time with far too few resources. They are basically set up to fail.”
– Elementary school teacher
“We are truly in this profession because we want to serve and help facilitate the education of our students. We lay everything we have out each day to try to help our students. The glimmer of an ‘aha!’ moment is worth every tear and every stressful day.”
– Middle school teacher
“There is a lack of respect that is coming from within the homes in regard to how teachers and the importance of education are being treated. Students and parents no longer view learning as their responsibility but rather the responsibility of the teachers. Students and parents are no longer held accountable.”
– Middle school teacher
“I would like the public to know that this job is very disheartening. The news and a small but loud part of the population consistently speak of us negatively and view us as the source of many of society’s problems. The vast majority of the population is fine, but they do not speak up on our behalf. We are constantly bullied by the same people who vilify us for not stopping bullying in schools despite our best efforts. Like every profession, there are bad apples, but also like most professions, the large majority of teachers are good, hardworking people who care about our students.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers help students to reach their potential. However, that job is near impossible if parents/guardians do not take an active part in their student’s education.”
– High school teacher
“Public educators work tirelessly beyond contract hours and often feel like they aren’t supported due to the constant changing yearly state mandates.”
– Middle school teacher
“They are underpaid, underappreciated, overworked, targeted, made to look like fools and foes to families. Yet, despite all this, they still demonstrate resilience and perseverance. Knowing all the negative energy teachers receive, the best ones overcome, succeed and thrive. It takes passion and dedication beyond measure to enter this profession.”
– High school teacher
“We are not able to do our jobs if parents do not do theirs at home.”
– Middle school teacher
“Teachers serve multiple roles other than being responsible for teaching a curriculum. We are counselors, behavioral specialists and parents for students who need us to fill those roles. We sacrifice a lot to give all of ourselves to the role as teacher.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teaching takes a mental toll on educators because too many decisions are made by legislature/individuals who have never set foot inside of a classroom.”
– Elementary school teacher
“I’m educated. I studied ELA intensely for four years and then two more in graduate school. I regularly participate in professional learning. It hurts to be demeaned and made to feel like my degree means nothing compared to public sentiment about what people not in education think it should be.”
– High school teacher
“Teachers never stop working. They go way beyond 40 hours a week and often purchase classroom necessities out of their own pocket.”
– Elementary school teacher
“The public attitudes toward teachers have been degrading, and it is making it impossible for well-qualified teachers to be found. People are simply not wanting to go into the profession because of public sentiments.”
– High school teacher
“There is very limited support within the hierarchy and structure of education. Our leadership does not respect our training, certification or professionalism, nor our ability to support or derive policy, procedures or practices. We are not heard.”
– High school teacher
“We work hard to make sure your student receives an education that is tailored to their needs, but we cannot parent your student when that is your responsibility at home. Work with us to do your part while we do ours.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers teach because they are passionate about education and have deep concern and love for their students.”
– Elementary school teacher
“The amount of work teachers put in outside of contract hours. Some days, I continue working from the moment I get home from school until the moment I get ready for bed.”
– High school teacher
“That it takes community, local and state support for us to do our job for the good of the students we serve and teach.”
– High school teacher
“That we are professionals at what we do. We are highly educated and skilled workers. We deserve respect from families, parents and students. We are underpaid for what we have to deal with in classrooms, and we need help, support and resources to continue to do a great job.”
– High school teacher
“We work hard every day, but the obstacles in our way – chronic absences, trauma, hunger, etc. – are overpowering what we are able to do. We are tired, overwhelmed and deserve more respect.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers love students as if they were their own. We only want the best for our students, and we celebrate with them as if they were our own children.”
– Elementary school teacher
“Teachers teach more than the curriculum. We teach children how to be good citizens and work together. We work well beyond contractual times and spend money from our own accounts.”
– Elementary school teacher
“I want the public to know that teachers need support. This could be checking in to make sure their child’s behavior and academics are up to par, but also things like dropping off school supplies. Little things to support the classroom in any way make a big impact.”
– Middle school teacher
“We work so hard to provide for your children and strive for their best but it all goes out the window if we cannot collaborate with you to ensure practices are transferred home.”
– Elementary school teacher