Recently, I worked at the Switch Innevation Center for a Student Showcase. Watching the students from work present their projects made me proud and realize that the best thing about being a teacher is exactly this–seeing them be proud of their own creations. Photo Credit: Victor Taksheyev

Talking to my co-worker, I feel a tug at the hem of my Code Central uniform. I look down and see an 8-year-old girl’s doe eyes gaze up at me. She says, “Can you help me on my coding activity, please?”

Recently, my title at work switched from Receptionist to Center Coordinator. Now that I’m a Center Coordinator, I have to distribute snacks, update the learning management system for each individual student and–most of all–teach.

Hearing my manager say I could start teaching made me grin from ear to ear. I got excited over the thought of being able to teach students, rather than just communicate with parents or follow up on clients. As an instructor, I felt like I could make more of a difference.

However, after my first day of instructing, I felt burnt out. Whenever I’d be troubleshooting lines of code with one student, another would tell me to check out a project they made or ask, “How much longer until snack time?” Turns out, teaching several students at once isn’t easy–it requires a load of patience, quick problem solving skills and the ability to multitask efficiently.

By the time I got home, I started to wonder how my own teachers manage to teach for six hours a day. If I had to teach kids for longer than my usual four-hour shifts, I’d lose my sanity. The most mind-blowing part is, compared to real classroom teachers, I have it way easier–and that says a lot.

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In my realm of teaching, I receive a gift every day for the week of Christmas, students are allowed to call me by my first name to establish a more casual bond and the student-to-teacher ratio is 4-to-1. My teachers have to grade over 20 students from each of their class periods, dedicate their time towards clubs or other programs and get taken for granted–all while being underappreciated and underpaid.

With a job as tiring as this, educators deserve to be more appreciated. Over 40 percent of teachers leave the profession within the first five years, while many of those who remain are left feeling burnt out, unsupported and undervalued in their work.

The duties of a teacher are difficult and require more stamina than their minds or bodies can ever handle. They deserve more than constant complaints from students about minuscule issues and should be compensated for everything they do to mold young learners into great thinkers. Thank some teachers and show some appreciation–it’s the least one can do.

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