Teachers are important because they not only provide instruction to children in one or more academic areas, depending on the grade level, but they also stand as an additional source of encouragement in the life of a child. Given the socioeconomic and family unit challenges that face so many students today, there are days when a child may only see a smile from his or her teacher, as all the other adults have so much stress going on that they are not able to convey love and acceptance.
Teachers have long had a complex relationship with the society they serve. In rural America during the 1800s, schoolteachers often boarded with a family at a time for several weeks throughout the school year until they either married or saved enough money up to purchase a home of their own.
Today, the pension funds and salaries that teachers receive have been a frequent target for those looking to cut public spending. Too many teachers have been portrayed as leeches draining public funds at a rate that is not commensurate with the benefit they bring to society. The problem with this sort of portrayal is that it reduces the respect with which society views teachers, tarnishing the education system as a future profession for the next generation's best and brightest.