Tonight, I gave an extra hour of my time to my tutee. For free. So she could finish one of her regular assessments. This assessment brought her up to 52% in her Algebra II class. She was at 18% a month ago. I can't think of a tutoring session with this kid where I haven't stayed at least ten minutes more - also for free. Tutoring counts time to the nearest 5 minutes. That adds up to about $100 of my tutoring pay that I've given pro bono.
I don't know of any teacher who won't give more than required for the benefit of their students.
I don't know of any teacher who hasn't shelled out their own money to supply their classrooms with field trips, decorations, pets, books, and paper.
I don't know of any teacher who won't give a bit of their health/personal lives/sanity in order to create a fun and exciting learning environment.
I don't now of any teacher who isn't willing to do all these things. They will complain, oh yes, they will complain. But in the end, they will suck it up and do it anyway. I hope I never meet a teacher who isn't like that.
Teachers deserve more pay, although they can live without it. Teachers deserve more praise, although they can live without that too. Teacher's deserve more respect, and yes they can live without it.
Because all that sacrifice is worth it when I saw how happy my student was when she finally began to understand Algebra 2.
P.S. Notice I said "worth it," NOT "rewarded." My REWARD as a teacher comes from the satisfaction of knowing I teach well, and knowing I'll keep improving with hard work. What is OWED to me as a teacher is decent pay, decent working conditions, and decent respect from the community.
Reward, owed, and worth. Three very different things.