Discussions about the U.S. economy and budget cuts have turned ugly, with increasing criticism of teacher unions and the teaching profession. In the media, critics depict public school teachers as living a "life of luxury" with a nine-month school year and early workday. As a teacher myself, I find such depictions hurtful and dishonest.
I am reminded of a few hadiths in which the Prophet Muhammad reminded his followers about the respect and rights owed to teachers. In Islam, teachers are held in high esteem. The Prophet Muhammad said:
"He is not of one us - who does not respect the elderly, is not merciful to the youth, and does not know the rights of those who teach us."
"Venerate the ones you learn from, and venerate the ones you teach."
"Seek knowledge, train to be dignified and and calm while learning, and humble yourselves with those whom you learn from."