Education students raise concerns about teachers’ working conditions – University Press | Team Cansler

Teachers are essential to improve the education and knowledge they impart to students around the world. In the US, however, they are underestimated.

according to a to learn Researchers at Brown University’s Annenberg Institute published in August that there are more than 36,500 teaching positions nationwide. With over 3,900 open apprenticeship positions, Florida has one of the highest positions.

Pay is an important issue for teachers in Florida. That National Education Association, the country’s largest labor union, reported that the annual salary of a K-12 teacher is $54,311. Regardless of the $44,040 starting salary in Florida, the average total salary is $51,009, beating only West Virginia, South Dakota and Mississippi.

states like Ohio and Washington have recently experienced teachers’ strikes. The teachers there demanded higher salaries and better working conditions.

Those enrolled and employees at FAU noticed these events Pedagogical collegewhich prepares educators and educational professionals to serve in six state public school districts.

Joshua Katz is a 49-year-old Ph.D. Student in the College’s Department of Counseling Education. As part of his internship and internship for his master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, he worked in public schools as a behavior analyst assistant. He saw firsthand how underfunded the schools were for both students and teachers.

“It’s unaffordable, and [the schools] cannot provide the services to these students. Then it’s left to the teachers who aren’t trained to work with these students with disabilities,” Katz said. “And then they already have a classroom that’s overcrowded with more students than they’re supposed to have. And then it becomes almost impossible to actually teach the class, so I totally understand where they’re coming from, why they’re frustrated.”

Economist Sylvia Allegretto has been studying the pay gap for teachers nationwide since 2004. (Courtesy of Sylvia Allegretto)

Sylvia Allegretto, senior economist at a progressive think tank called The Center for Economic and Policy Research, did research with the Economic Policy Institute on how teacher salaries in the country have evolved since 2004.

According to a study by Allegretto, as of 2021, teachers will earn 23.5% less weekly wages than college graduates who are not teachers. In Florida, the gap is 19.6%.

Even if students do want to become teachers, Allegretto says they’re less likely to do so because of the opportunity cost.

“The teacher pay gap says that, on average, teachers are always falling further behind than the other professions that graduates work in,” Allegretto said. “One has to imagine that university graduates are increasingly choosing not to become teachers, but to choose other, better-paid professions.”

Elizabeth Shelby-Davis, a sophomore with a major in social sciences, agrees with the teachers’ demands.

“The work required of them to teach [and] Creating lesson plans is definitely something that gets tiring, and I think extra pay would help with that,” said Shelby-Davis. “I have seen some of my teachers having problems in their work environment and complaining about it [are] less supplies and how it’s unsafe at times, especially with the recent gunfights and stuff. It’s definitely a struggle for them and they’re scared, which is affecting the students as well. So I definitely agree with their strike.”

For students interested in an education, Katz said, they must be passionate about teaching. He blesses all teachers who stay and look past the politics, the pay, and everything to do with the job.

“They’re really there for the kids and they’re willing to put blinders on anything else that happens because they’re just going to do what they can to make a difference. But it’s hard to find people willing to do that,” Katz said.

Portrait of Elizabeth Shelby Davis. (Brand Connelley)

Notwithstanding the current conditions for teachers, which make Shelby-Davis cautious, she wants to continue in the profession.

“I think with the field of study and the pay, most people aren’t going to go there. They’re moving toward economics, where they can make more money, Shelby-Davis said. “I think it definitely focuses on what your heart wants, and not [just] look at the money aspect, but also ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do with my degree?’”

Allegretto believes that more worker voices and action in general would help solve the country’s teacher shortage, particularly in the form of unionization.

“I think when teachers go on strike, the children, students and the community around them learn about this process and what it might look like,” Allegretto said. “There is a lever that can be pulled one way or another and unions and collective voices have helped create a fairer and fairer economy.”

Katz said one of the most rewarding things he’s ever done was going to Washington, DC, up Capitol Hill to campaign for LGBTQ+ rights. Although it had nothing to do with education, he got to experience what it was like to lobby and found it rewarding.

“The more people that are proactive about things like this, the more opportunities there are to make a difference and create more awareness and raise those salaries and get the resources and funding that’s needed to make schools better,” he said Cat.

Allegretto cannot think of many jobs that are as important in everyday life as teaching. For them, teachers have a future ahead of them every day.

“It’s not just that the kids are learning and that the family structure is going to do better with good teachers and good public education and communities, but it actually has the future of America and the future of our workforce before it every day,” Allegretto said.

Despite the current working conditions for teachers, Katz does not want to deprive students of their interest in starting a career. According to him, schools across the country are desperate for teachers.

“It’s one of the few jobs [where] You can get a four-year degree and then literally go out there and there are endless job opportunities,” Katz said. “We heard about it on the news. They’re importing them from other countries right now because we just have such a shortage. So I would encourage people to consider going into the field.”

Richard Pereira is the news editor of University Press. You will receive information about this or other stories by e-mail [email protected] or tweet him @Rich26Pereira.

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