Why We Need to Invest More In Our Teachers

2 min


If you ask any teacher what they love about their job there are a lot of answers you won’t hear. The salary, stress, and bureaucratic nonsense aren’t what drive people into this profession for sure. However, teachers routinely point to the fact that they get the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. That’s a pretty special and rare opportunity if you think about it. We’ve all interacted with thousands of people in our lifetimes, but how many of them made a lasting impact?

The most direct way a teacher influences their students is through, obviously, their education. A research study done by the University of Tennessee in 1996 examined how much impact a teacher has on a student’s learning. The results showed that effective teachers not only improved their students’ scores, but those improvements carried over for years afterward. Not surprisingly the lowest-performing students get the biggest benefits, which is why teachers always seem to bend over backward to help that one student who never seems to “get it”.

The effect a teacher has, however, lies far beyond what we find in textbooks. During a typical school day, students see teachers more than they see their own parents. That means they are not only their teacher but also their life-coach. Teachers are the Yoda to students’ Luke Skywalker, dispensing “real world” wisdom whenever needed. Despite their best attempts to keep everyone focused on whatever lesson that they’re teaching that day, occasionally the outside world bleeds into the classroom and that’s when students will look to their teacher the most.

A survey done by the ING Foundation found that 88% of Americans said they had at least one teacher who made a positive impact in their life, and overwhelmingly the sentiment was that outside of immediate family, it’s teachers who most directly impact the life of a child. According to the same survey, over 80% of Americans say a teacher helped to build their confidence and self-esteem, while roughly the same amount said a teacher was responsible for encouraging them to pursue their dreams. In an era where children have a more negative view of themselves than ever before, can you even quantify how important a self-esteem boost can be these days?

One of the exciting aspects of being a teacher is never knowing just what kind of impact you might have on your students, or which students you helped without even knowing it. Every experienced teacher has at least one story of a child who seemingly learned nothing, only for them to come back years later to thank them for their positive influence. Teachers can change lives in ways they could never possibly imagine.

“There was a math teacher, Fred Wright, who asked me to push a little bit harder. And Ann Stephens taught English and also drama—and I got to be the star of the play. There’s no way there’d be a Microsoft without them doing what they did.”

-Bill Gates

During your school-aged years, you go from a small child still trying to figure out how to speak properly, to a young adult attempting to carve out a niche in this world, all on your own. And at every step of the way, there are teachers helping you accomplish those goals. Whether it’s the elementary school teacher who showed you the proper way to hold a pencil or the science teacher that encouraged you to ask questions, teachers are vital to your growth and development. It’s safe to say that none of us would be where we are without the teachers we’ve crossed paths with, and that’s why so many dedicate their lives to this profession.

Teacher's influence Pinterest


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davidrode

Veteran Member

I'm currently a Middle School Math Teacher which means I'm also a glutton for punishment. Honestly though, I am keenly aware that Middle School is basically the worst 3 years in the life of a child, so it's my mission to make it suck less. I'm also a musician, a community theater, Dad to two amazing children, and I don't get a lot of sleep.

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