This week I’d like to borrow some information on a post from the U.S. Department of Education on their blog site called “Homeroom.”  They have some interesting statistics that most of us “old teachers” already know:

“Great teachers build nations.  They inspire, awaken and raise our children’s expectations.  They coax imaginations and lead students to discovery.  Teachers shape the next generation of decision-makers.

While this work is deeply rewarding, teaching is also incredibly hard–as intellectually rigorous as it is emotionally draining.  Over the next five to ten years, at least one million teachers will be eligible for retirement, roughly one third of the work force.  Schools are finding it increasingly difficult to draw talented folks into a profession that, in many cases offers:

  • the 50-50 chance they won’t last through their first four years,
  • the likelihood of underwhelming support and development,
  • a lifetime of low and moderate pay, and
  • the strong likelihood that they’ll reach a point where continuing to teach poses substantial financial hardship.”

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  While I can’t triple the salaries of teachers all over this country, I can make a modest suggestion, a suggestion I always make when I speak to audiences of college students:

If you had a teacher, teachers, coach, or principal who made a difference in your life, drop them a note or an email.  Tell them what they did.  I promise you it will give them the fuel to make it through the rest of the school year and beyond.

It will not pay them back what they deserve in poor salaries for the degrees they hold, but it will honor their work.