© 2024 Louisville Public Media

Public Files:
89.3 WFPL · 90.5 WUOL-FM · 91.9 WFPK

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact info@lpm.org or call 502-814-6500
89.3 WFPL News | 90.5 WUOL Classical 91.9 WFPK Music | KyCIR Investigations
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Stream: News Music Classical

Commentary: Salaries Aside, Teachers Are Priceless

Last week, Jefferson County Public Schools released a report saying its teachers were paid higher than those in comparable school systems. JCPS is expected to recommend a pay freeze for all employees earning $14 an hour and above.

The author teaches ninth grade at Iroquois High School.

When people ask me how many kids I have, I say three. But the truth is, I have 100 or so.

If I miss a day of school, I am bombarded by teenagers asking me where I was the day before ... how could I leave them .... thank God I'm back. I am a constant in their lives -- for some, the only constant. To them, I am comfort. I am consistency. I am safety.

And that's really only the beginning.

I am an encourager, motivator, manager of conflicts. They don’t usually have their own pencils, so I bring pencils from home. When lunch seems too far away and they didn’t eat breakfast, I give away my last granola bar. I break up fights. I give second, third and fourth chances.

I call them on their nonsense and try to teach them how important it is to have integrity in this world. I am the person who believes in them, whether or not they believe in themselves. Their trust is not easily given, so I have to work extra hard to earn it. Because when they trust me – when they realize I want what is best for them – then I can teach them.

I spend countless hours every week finalizing lesson plans, producing materials, grading assessments and executing interventions. I continually ask myself: What more can I do to ensure the success of each student?

Because each student’s success – academic and otherwise – is monumentally important to me.  I collaborate with fellow educators in order to be a better teacher – the teacher each of my students deserves. And when my students don't care about their own success – and sometimes they don’t – I care for them.

I do not do this for the money. But I am proud to work for a school district that offers competitive salaries. Because the most cutting-edge technology, best-written textbooks and most capable administrators are irrelevant without caring and skilled teachers to connect our students to learning.

We must continue to communicate that teaching is a valued profession. Because teachers are priceless.

WFPL News runs commentaries regularly. To read more, visit this page.

Stephen George is President and CEO of Louisville Public Media. Email Stephen at sgeorge@lpm.org.

Can we count on your support?

Louisville Public Media depends on donations from members – generous people like you – for the majority of our funding. You can help make the next story possible with a donation of $10 or $20. We'll put your gift to work providing news and music for our diverse community.