This has been discussed by a lot of people, many of whom are more intelligent and knowledgeable than I am, but I think it still needs to be said: teachers, especially those of younger children, are incredibly undervalued.
Professors teaching at a higher level are given a great deal of respect, but the lower one looks, the less respect teachers receive. Glance at a few pre-school teachers and no one thinks anything of them, which drives me crazy because the younger a child is the more capable they are of learning and the faster they learn. With each passing year, children mature, gain experiences, and their brains becomes more firm and less versatile. Most people accept that it’s easier to learn a second or third language when quite young vs as an adult, and yet, for some hapless reason, we still completely dismiss and disregard all the people responsible for those young minds.
Those first few years at school (and the time before, of course) are some of the best times to help children advance, to encourage them to go beyond simple rubrics. They are far more capable than the school systems in the U.S. allow them to be and this is demonstrated by the low salaries, low appreciation and dismissive behavior concerning teachers.
Teachers put in a lot of themselves, much of their own time and money outside their typical hours are spent on their classroom, their students and even correspondence with parents. The good ones put their students first and are obvious by how those kids will continue to stop by long after they no longer have those teachers.
They are some of the first ones to introduce concepts, explain how things work, and acknowledge children’s potential, dreams and ambitions. They deserve far more respect than my culture gives them because, in my mind, they have one of the most important jobs in the country–that of educating the human capital/next generation who are going to go on and one day lead in all walks of life.
Good luck to all those starting school this fall!