Matthew Kennard

BetterLesson Chief Executive Officer

As Teacher Appreciation Week comes to a close, it’s imperative that we engage in candid conversations about the challenges facing our educators, particularly when it comes to compensation. As the CEO of a company deeply committed to supporting educators, I feel compelled to address the pressing issue of teacher pay with honesty, pragmatism, and a sense of urgency.

Let’s start by acknowledging an undeniable truth–our teachers are the backbone of our society. They dedicate their lives to nurturing and educating the next generation, shaping young minds, and instilling a growth mindset and passion for learning that lasts a lifetime. Yet, despite the immense importance of their work, our teachers are too often undervalued and always underpaid.

This isn’t just a matter of economics. It’s a matter of respect and recognition. Teaching is a profession that requires specialized skills, expertise, and a deep commitment to serving others. It’s not just a job–it’s a calling–one that deserves to be compensated accordingly.

Unfortunately, our current system fails to adequately pay our teachers for the invaluable contributions they make to our communities. According to recent data, teachers earn significantly less than other professionals with similar education and experience levels, and they are earning even less than they did ten years ago. This wage gap not only undermines the morale and well-being of our educators but also perpetuates inequities within our education system.

But let me be clear: this isn’t just about the numbers on a paycheck. It’s about the message we send to our teachers about their worth and value. When we fail to provide teachers with fair and competitive compensation, we send a signal that their work is not worthy of recognition or respect. We diminish the importance of their role in shaping the future of our society.

So why does this injustice persist? Why do we continue to prioritize other things over investments in our teachers and schools? The answers are complex and multifaceted, rooted in a combination of societal attitudes, political ideologies, and historical precedents. But one thing is clear–it’s time for a change.

We cannot continue to expect our teachers to do more with less. We cannot continue to ask them to shoulder the burden of our society’s most pressing challenges–from systemic inequities to the academic and social fallout from the global pandemic – without providing them with the resources and support they need to succeed. We cannot continue to ignore the undeniable link between teacher compensation and student outcomes.

But change won’t happen overnight, and it won’t happen without a concerted effort from all stakeholders. It will require policymakers to prioritize education funding and allocate resources equitably. It will require school leaders to advocate for fair and competitive compensation for their teachers. And it will require all of us–parents, students, community members–to recognize and appreciate the vital role that teachers play in shaping our collective future.

At BetterLesson, we are committed to being part of the solution. We believe that investing in our teachers is not just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing to do. It’s an investment in our future–in the next generation of leaders, innovators, and change-makers. And it starts with acknowledging the importance of teacher compensation and working together to ensure that our educators are valued, respected, and paid for the incredible work they do each and every day.

So as we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, let’s go beyond that coffee mug or Amazon gift card. Let’s take meaningful action to elevate their profession and support their well-being. Let’s send a clear message that we value and appreciate the vital role that teachers play in our society. And let’s commit to building a future where every teacher is compensated fairly, recognized for their contributions, and empowered to thrive in their profession.