Opinion | Showing gratitude: A thank you to educators

In the second edition of the four-part series, Opinions contributor Naomi Rivera Morales expresses her gratitude.


Isabella Cervantes

Rachel Young, an associate professor and director of undergraduate studies, works with a group of students in her class in the Adler Journalism building on Thursday, March 24, 2022.

Naomi Rivera Morales, Opinions Columnist

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.

Across the country, public educators work to ensure students succeed and lay the steppingstones for their life trajectories.

The last few years have been especially hard on public educators because of the COVID-19 pandemic and numerous school shootings. Still, they show up for their students each day.

In this second edition of a four-part series, I want to take the time to shine a light on our nation’s public educators.

During high school, a creative writing class changed my perception on life and instilled a passion in me I hadn’t known was there.

At the start of my junior year, I enrolled in a creative writing class for the first time. I had never written in this capacity before but was encouraged by my peers to do so.

In the classroom, I found myself surrounded by several aspiring writers. My teacher approached me with a question I still find myself going back to.

She asked me how I see the world and how I approach it on a day-to-day basis.

I found this question peculiar but decided to think about it. Little did I know, she had laid my very first stone. Allowing the pen to stain my palms, I followed. I took my first step.

I now attend the University of Iowa as an English and creative writing major.

Back then, I hadn’t taken the time to appreciate what my teacher had done for me that day. As a college student, my mind wanders to her often, and I am thankful for her contribution. Creative writing taught me how to find my voice — one of an individual’s most powerful tools.

One’s voice can be used for health, political, environmental progression, and personal narrative. Writing can tell a story the world benefits from hearing. All this to say, I wouldn’t be where I am today without the inspiration of my high school teacher.

Educators work hard in and out of the classroom all year round. Not only do they ensure trust, guidance, and protection, but they provide students with more than the job requires them to. Educators deserve much more than they are given.

In the U.S., the average salary for an Iowa City Community School District school teacher was less than $70,000 for the 2021-2022 school year. This doesn’t include the out-of-pocket costs that the average educator spends $750 a year on.

According to Education Week, an independent news organization, 74 percent of teachers agreed their pay was either slightly or strongly unfair compared to the work they do.

As we near Thanksgiving, I want us to keep our educators in mind. They deserve much more recognition and respect than they often get. They are the ones that are often there for us during our growing period ­— our most crucial time.

They are often taken for granted, but this country would fall without them.

To all educators, I want to thank you for everything. What you do does not go unnoticed, and we are grateful for your heart and role.