The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

The student news site of Millbrook High School

Cat Talk

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Teachers Are Struggling, There Needs To Be Change

Teachers are valuable, we need to change our education system.

  One of the most important roles in our education system is declining. We’re losing the people who are both undervalued, yet some of the most influential leaders in our local communities: teachers. It’s no surprise that the decline in teachers has been a trend since the pandemic. In fact, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction found that the turnover rates for beginning teachers has increased by 47 percent for 2022-23 alone. Nationally, about 59,000 teachers have already quit this January. It’s clear there’s a reason why the turnover rate has increased; after talking to both new and experienced teachers here’s why:

  Insufficient pay: TeachNC reported the 2022 starting salary in our state was $37,000. According to NCDPI, the yearly wage for a first year teacher in 2023-24 was $39,000.  Although there has been an increase in salaries, the progression and urbanization happening in Raleigh is impacting the cost of living and can not be supported with a teacher salary. In 2018, N.C. teachers rallied in front of the state legislative building advocating for better pay and better benefits because they could no longer support themselves.

  Brynn Cartier is an English teacher at Millbrook who’s been here for the last ten years,. She believes that increasing pay is necessary “…to [make] the job something that they want to enter into. You have to make it lucrative for them so the pay has to be there.” Cartier further adds, “You have to change the pay because right now in this climate with this job market and really the housing market, it is almost impossible for a single teacher to afford a one-bedroom apartment at the pay that they’re making starting now, even as someone 10 years ahead.”

  Sarika Subramanian is a first-year Math teacher at Millbrook who is originally from Texas. She notices that “Salaries in North Carolina are a lot lower than Texas and [the] cost of living is not different. So financially it’s just not feasible.” Subramanian also adds that not even though not all teachers have the same financial situation “…it has to be a consideration for me.” 

  Lack of support: The amount of support received from students and parents is not enough. Although finance is a big reason why teachers are leaving, it really stems from the support as well. You could be incredibly passionate and want to impact the lives of these students, but when the students themselves don’t want to be there, it makes your job harder than it needs to be. All this stress is what is pushing our teachers to the edge. 

  Teachers have too much on their plate and as Subramanian says, “Having to fight with a kid every single day about their phone is not fair to me. I’ve explained why it’s important to be off your phone but they don’t care to listen to me about it.” She believes that students don’t realize the amount of work and effort that teachers put in and it’s getting to the point where students are forgetting that teachers are human as well. 

  Being a teacher for ten years, Cartier knows what it’s like when students aren’t engaged. However not all teachers know this especially coming in as a first-year teacher. “[First-year teachers] don’t realize just how much power the students have and how much they are able to get away with…and then being held accountable as a teacher for that student.” Students have an impact, they have a role in whether or not our teachers want to stay. Putting aside student impact it’s also acknowledging that our teachers are human.

  Pandemic losses: Since the 2020 Covid pandemic, our education system has not been able to recover. Students are struggling with basic skills like time management, interacting with people in different classes, team work, and how to talk with teachers. And now teachers are now being tasked with rebuilding these cores and to reteach any missing concepts because of the pandemic, further adding to teacher stress. 

The loss our system has faced makes it difficult for situations like Subramanian’s where you try to reeducate students but you get “Kids that are in high school [who act] like they’re in middle school.” Subramanian is proud of her impact within Millbrook but it has not been easy dealing with the stress. While interviewing she points out how her health has been impacted, and how she can not afford to be financially strained. 

    How we can improve: We need stronger policies that hold staff and students accountable; invest in alternative schools and other programs; having new people take charge of administrative roles, and to secure benefits and retirement plans for our teachers. Teachers all over the nation have been treated as a tool, not realizing the stress of the job and it’s time we change that.

   “I  haven’t left but I have watched [our education system] deteriorate for the last 10 years, really the last 4-5 and it’s making me question if I want to stay,” states Cartier. As an educator for ten years, she hopes for true change, “I sure hope it happens sooner than later because they’re not gonna keep me if it doesn’t, and it’s too bad because I do love what I do but I can’t afford this.”

  For Subramanian, she realizes that the system needs to be changed,  “I  need to go in and try to impact the system in a different way. I’m glad that I got into teaching. I’m glad about the impact I was able to make… I’m very grateful…because I realize that equity work is so important to me.”

  Despite the hardships, teachers have been able to make an impact. Making them strong leaders of our community. We should not let the role of teachers remain undervalued. 

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About the Contributor
Alex Lindo
Alex Lindo, Writer
Hi! My name is Alex Lindo and I'm a Junior here at Millbrook! This is my first year on the Newspaper Staff, i'm also apart of NAS here at Millbrook and outside of school I am a member of the Raleigh Youth Council. I enjoy spending time with my friend, family, writing and listening to music.

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