A new study on teacher pay found that when adjusted for inflation teachers on average are earning $2,179 less than they did 10 years ago — even while educators are still expected to fork out hundreds of dollars from their own wallets to pay for basic supplies.
Polls — including a new nationally representative survey commissioned by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College and conducted by the EdWeek Research Center — find that the job satisfaction by teachers is at an all-time low.
Chronic teacher shortages have worsened in state after state, with policymakers scrambling to find ways to fill classrooms. In Louisiana, there is a bill moving forward in the legislature to bring back some retired teachers for double pay and benefits. “We just cannot have as many unfilled classrooms as we do right now,” KALB5 quoted state Rep. Rick Edmonds (R) as saying. “It’s an urgent need in the state of Louisiana.”
Welcome to Teacher Appreciation Week 2022, an annual event sponsored by Parent Teacher Association designed to, well, appreciate teachers.
So this week, we saw appreciation. There were tweets from political leaders and others saying they appreciate teachers in general and, sometimes, more specifically, with shout-outs to their favorites.
From a nun who helped me with my stutter to a professor who encouraged me to run for the Senate, my life has been shaped by incredible educators. This Teacher Appreciation Day, I encourage folks to take part in @SecCardona’s challenge and thank a teacher who made a difference. https://t.co/CKJgmlx6aN— President Biden (@POTUS) May 3, 2022
In honor of teacher appreciation week, the superintendent sent us an email that ends with: “Think about it—all the folks who are in higher paying jobs are there because of you.”— Nataliya Braginsky (@nataliyabrgnsky) May 2, 2022
Some school districts offered tokens of appreciation to teachers.
Admin asked parents and local businesses for donations to make teacher gift baskets. Almost no participation. It would almost be better to not have a teacher appreciation week at all than to highlight low appreciation.— SageOnTheStage (@sage_stage) May 5, 2022
Some education and other companies offered giveaways and gift certificates to teachers who did certain tasks, such as liking a particular social media post, following a game, tagging a fellow educator.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! We are doing giveaways all week long! Today you can win a $10 Starbucks gift card for you and a teacher you appreciate! Just tag that teacher in the comments below for your chance to win!#esgisoftware #teachers #appreciation pic.twitter.com/enqPtiRl0x— ESGIsoftware (@esgisoftware) May 3, 2021
💥 Let's jumpstart Teacher Appreciation Week! 💥— Brainingcamp (@brainingcamp) May 1, 2022
We're grateful for YOU & we're giving away a swag box to 1 of you! 🥳
Entry: Drop a comment saying what your favorite Brainingcamp manipulative is...Tag a fellow educator for 2 chances to win!#TeacherAppreciationWeek #Brainingcamp pic.twitter.com/YW9wlZMPTs
There were raffles.
I didn’t win one of the raffles for Teacher Appreciation Week today and one of my students said “Mrs. Gazda doesn’t appreciate you…she’s giving gifts away to other teachers”😂😂— Ms. Wann (@WannToLearn) May 6, 2022
There was free food.
There was music.
And there were some unusual gifts.
But mostly, what teachers said they wanted was what any professional wants: fair salaries, proper working conditions, respect and the freedom to tell the truth to their students.
According to the 2022 edition of the annual teacher salary report issued by the National Education Association, the largest union in the country, the national average public school teacher salary for 2020-21 was $65,293. State average teacher salaries ranged from those in New York — $90,222 — to Mississippi — 6,862.
How to appreciate teachers:— Brad Weinstein (@WeinsteinEdu) April 30, 2022
1. Pay them what they're worth.
2. Show them respect.
3. Include their voice in decisions.
4. Give them a more manageable workload.
5. Give them proper resources.
6. Don't make them pay for their own supplies.#TeacherAppreciationWeek
Hey it’s teacher appreciation week and I bet your kid’s teacher would love a starbucks gift card*— Not Angus A. Flint (@pawn_andrew) May 2, 2022
*and by starbucks gift card I mean 10,000k raise, to be able to teach accurate history without being accused of brainwashing, and to show empathy without being accused of grooming.
Nothing says “Teacher Appreciation Week” like republicans insinuating that we are grooming and sexualizing their children 🤩— junnooooooo (@_birdsarentreal) May 3, 2022
What do I “want” for teacher appreciation? How about respect for this profession? Respect from students, parents, society? That would be great. Oh and all year too, not just for one pretend week.— Janis Hedin, M.Ed (@hedin_janis) May 2, 2022
If you only appreciate teachers during teacher appreciation week, don't be surprised if some don't return next year.— 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐝 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐧 (@DrBradJohnson) April 27, 2022
@cher I'm a middle school math teacher to over 100 kids. It's #TeacherAppreciationWeek Can you help me end the year strong with a retweet to help me #clearthelist ? Thanks for the support.— Katie M. (@katlynnmil) May 4, 2022
Self Care/Personal: https://t.co/RABZKQltwn pic.twitter.com/le77zwjN4v
And despite the pressures on them, teachers — at least some of them — remained hopeful.
As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to a close, I want to shout out all my fellow educators out there. We work a thankless job sometimes but our impact is immeasurable. Continue to positively influence the next leaders of our society. #TeacherAppreciationWeek 🍎👨🏿🏫— 1S🅿️izzy (@Im_2_Smoov) May 6, 2022