Teachers aren't 'second-tier'

February 04, 2010

As a teacher for many years, I was deeply offended by the letter by Arthur Pierce, "Until we change pay, we'll get second-tier teachers" (Readers respond, Feb. 3). His assertion that only second -tier college graduates choose teaching as a career was an insult to all of us who are in this profession, not for the pay, but for the love of teaching itself. Anyone who decides to become a teacher knows beforehand that it is not a well paying career.

Many are drawn to it because of its challenging and rewarding experiences. Each day a teacher faces a classroom of students with a huge variety of abilities and personalities. Teaching lessons which make demands of the brightest students without overwhelming the weakest requires tremendous problem solving abilities, a quick mind and a willingness to try new ideas. A "second-tier" college graduate would find herself/himself unable to meet the expectations of this profession.

Additionally, for certification, teachers are required to continue earning college credits indefinitely. Many have masters degrees and beyond. Mr. Pierce, I agree that teachers need to be better compensated. But the truth is, teaching is unique in that those who choose it do not do it for the money. Though better pay may attract more bright students, this profession does not need people who merely want to be paid well; they need dedicated individuals who select it for the intrinsic rewards it offers.

Rae Ellen Virgilio, Parkville

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