TED Conversations

Virginia Harper

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Teachers are called not hired.

Teaching may or may not be a profession worth pursuing anymore since the profession is apparently no longer respected. Great teachers are called. That idea seems to be lost on our current culture. WE can't just manufacture great teachers. There has to be an intuitive call to the profession.


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    Apr 5 2011: As a High School student, I believe teachers are undervalued and harangued by much of society. The majority of my teachers work hard and are very bright individuals who bring a sense of optimism into the classroom. Teachers are constantly bombarded with complaints from parents and are inundated with problems from students and teachers alike. Unfortunately, teachers don't control state requirements and can't change the curriculum to fit each individuals needs. I think society as a whole should have more respect for the effort most teachers put in on a daily basis. Teachers work for decades and receive pensions once they put in 30+ years of teaching. I understand that most people don't receive pensions once they retire. However, more generous teacher pensions were created to attract more intelligent individuals. Shouldn't intelligent individuals who go into an undervalued career get a satisfactory pension? Teachers are rewarded by the government for making the difference in the lives of hundreds of kids. The problem is not the pension. The problem (particularly in California) is that states are taking away millions of dollars from education. As a result, many young and enthusiastic teachers are being fired. I feel like many of the younger teachers are more personable and technologically adept. This year, 15 of my teachers were pink slipped. Many of them won't be coming back next year. Collective bargaining is truly a shame. The most talented teachers in the classroom should get to keep their jobs regardless of their stature. To see many of the intellectually stimulating teachers leave is a shame. The public education system is falling apart. I told my parents that in 20 years public education will be a thing of the past.

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