As a former teacher, I listened to my district superintendent remind us that "without kids we (teachers) would be out of a job." The teachers applauded him. But, as years have brought so many changes and burdens on teachers, I am reminded of the rhetorical question, "Which came first, the chicken or the egg?"

My administrator chose the egg (student), but I'm inclined toward the chicken (teacher). Without my teachers, I wouldn't have become aware of so many things. My teachers encouraged, rewarded and inspired an insatiable lifelong journey to keep learning. Their influence is unending.

Today, as I see parents critical of teachers, school boards and administrators unsympathetic to teacher's burdens — i.e., class size, discipline, bureaucratic and union-supported mandated curriculum and testing — and government and media satisfaction of their low pay and lessening benefits, I long for the days when teachers can get back to teaching rather than facilitating, when teachers come first and students feel lucky to have them, when parents and community praise them and reward them.

Reward them not only in pay, but also in prestige, like our academic-competing countries have. Most of our teachers are great and deserve more of everything. My view? The chicken came first.

Rick Carlson