Last Thursday I had the privilege of being a featured speaker at the New York Times’ Schools for Tomorrow conference. There I was sitting in the green room next to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher of the New York Times, and columnist David Brooks. For a journalism teacher, it was nirvana.

I enjoy having the opportunity to speak about teaching and public education, especially to a larger audience. The public needs to see more real faces of real teachers to understand that when the word “teacher” is bandied about, there are actual human beings representing that word. Too often the classroom teacher is overlooked as THE expert when it comes to student learning.

The main point I brought up at the conference was that teaching is viewed as a second-class profession due to the fact that 75% of the kindergarten through 12th grade workforce are female, and female-dominated professions earn less money and respect than male-dominated ones.

Let’s hope that more politicians will recognize the importance of the teacher, not through proclamations but through actions, putting real teachers in positions of decision-making.

BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of "Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher." He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.