10 Things Teachers Want That Have Nothing to Do With Money

Things teachers want that haven nothing to do with money
10 Things Teachers Want That Have Nothing to Do With Money

It’s easy to say that all teachers want is a bigger paycheck. Who doesn’t? But what teachers really want has nothing to do with dollars and cents.

What do teachers really want? If you ask non-teachers the answer is usually pretty straightforward: teachers want more money. And yes, more money would be lovely. No seriously, I have 4 jobs, 2 kids and a mortgage… more money would be amazing, but that’s true no matter what job you have. What teachers really want are things money just can’t buy (well… mostly anyway.)

1. Respect


Is something that escapes me

Wait, is that not how the song goes? 

Teachers as a profession have gone from being revered members of society to being seen as whiny babysitters. What happened? What happened to parents taking our word over their child’s? What happened to school districts realizing they need to treat their employees better? What happened to society realizing that our job is pretty darn important? Teachers don’t need the red carpet rolled out in front of us everywhere we go, and we don’t need people bowing before us. All we need is a little respect.

And that doesn’t cost a thing.

2. Adequate facilities

Teachers are very good at maximizing their resources. That’s mostly because we’re used to not having any. We’ve all become MacGuyvers, solving riddles like “How can we fit 25 students in a room that really should be a custodian’s supply closet?” 

3. Support

As a teacher, sometimes you feel like you’re on an island all by yourself. Sometimes that island is very lonely and also surrounded by sharks. Teaching is hard enough as it is, but feeling like you’re doing it all on your own can be downright daunting. It doesn’t take much to feel supported either. A parent that works with you to curb their child’s behavior, or administration making sure you have what you need can go a long way in getting rescued from that island.

4. Parental involvement

Hey, we get it… parents are busy too. Most of us are parents so we understand the struggle of keeping up with how our kids are doing in school. But could you at least just answer the phone when we call? Here’s a friendly tip to keep in mind: If we’re halfway through the school year and you have no idea what your child’s grades are… you might want to investigate that. Check out this popular article on parental involvement: Education is a Team Effort Between Both Parents & Teachers.

5. Recognition

Teachers don’t need statues built in their honor or parades trumpeting their greatness in the town square, but it would be nice for someone to occasionally tell us that we’re good at our jobs. Really it could come from anyone: parents, administrators… we’re not picky. We don’t even need gift cards or swag as tokens of recognition (although we do love them very much). Honestly, at this point, we’d take a high-five and a pat on the back.

6. Effort

We’re really not asking a lot on this one either, I promise. Sometimes you’d think I was forcing my class to calculate cube roots while reciting Shakespeare and balancing on a tight rope suspended over a pit of crocodiles. Most times all I really want is for them to try, even if it’s just a little bit. Just give me something.

7. Energy

Students will never know how jealous we are of them for having what seems to be boundless amounts of energy. Whether it’s early in the morning or right before dismissal, students never seem to be wide awake and ready to go. Teachers, meanwhile, drag their carcasses into school every morning and pray the gallon of coffee they just mainlined will wake them up enough to be moderately productive. 

8. Stability

Being a teacher is hard enough as it is. It’s even more difficult when we don’t know what’s happening year to year or sometimes even week to week. Drastic budget changes can leave some teachers out of work, and drastic curriculum changes can leave teachers going out of their minds. Imagine spending an entire year working on understanding what to teach and how to teach it… then having to learn something brand new next year. So frustrating!

9. Silence

It’s a dream that teachers from all walks of life have. That one day where you assign something and children dive right in to their work and are so engrossed in what they’re doing that there is silence in the classroom. No noise except for possibly the scratching of pencil to paper or typing on a keyboard. It’s a nice dream, I’ve had that dream ever since I started teaching. I think so far I’ve had 30 minutes of silence in my classroom but hey, they say the first decade of teaching is always the hardest.

10. Sleep

We, teachers, are a tired bunch. We wake up way too early and stay up way too late, and it’s not because we’re party animals either. It’s because, in many places, school starts early in the morning. Like, one or two hours before most businesses are open for business. And that’s just when all the education starts happening. Most teachers are required to show up well before that first bell. This is why we consume coffee like it’s an Olympic event.

And I know what you’re thinking: “If teachers have to wake up so early, why don’t they just go to bed early to compensate.” And that’s a lovely thought, it really is. But between our side jobs, families, housework, and all that grading we bring home with us, getting to bed on time is a pipe dream.

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David Rode

Dave is a middle school math teacher. He's also a musician, a community theater, dad to two amazing children, and he doesn't get a lot of sleep.

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