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I was with the president until he said one line. One line that caused rage to boil in my guts, caused me to rise up and scream at the television.

"Become a teacher, your country needs you."

My reaction wasn't pretty:

I would if you'd F!$#ING PAY ME!

My reaction was so ugly because my wife is a social worker, while I'm an IT professional with a history education degree. I'm making more than the entry salary for teachers, and I'm in an area that just fired half its teaching staff. I still don't make very much.

For those of you out there who are teachers, god bless you. I don't know how you afford to do it.

My student loan payments are $600 a month. I know people paying almost 1300.

My wife works long hours making almost nothing. And we're supposed to be building savings, especially if we want to have kids. My car is falling apart, and we don't know how we'd afford to get another one.

I can't afford to be a teacher. Yet, because my country needs me, I should condemn myself to what, outside of certain select states, would be a life of crushing poverty.

I will not. And neither did most of the people I went to school with who also wanted to be teachers.

Six of my friends have given up on teaching. It doesn't pay. It's hard work. Our skills get better pay elsewhere. And we have massive student loans.

If you want more good teachers, then pay us.

We want to teach. We're good at it. We've done service learning in the classroom, and all of us got quite high praise from experienced teachers.

Because for all your talk of following dreams, Mr President, it's terribly hard to follow rainbows of when we're busy paying off our student loans.

* * *

Another story, from WiseFerret, that needs to be told:

I retrained to teach!

High school science, no less.

But I cannot get a job. In rural Oregon. Where classes typically have 30-35 students because they can't make them 40+/class without violating room capacity fire laws. Where they've kept the good teachers they have got by making them part-time. Where parents voted to renew an expiring bond for desperately needed upgrade and maintenance on 50+yr old building with leaking roofs, when they could have gotten a property tax break that many need.

I can't get a job teaching because the state demanded 10% cut across the board. People in my MA program, offers at graduation last June, had jobs rescinded. The budgets are more than 10% down in the rural area because people have left the area needing a job, depressing the tax base.

I want to teach, but I can't. No one can afford to hire me. The job is not there for me to even apply for.  While class sizes explode and students suffer because a teacher has to waste time on classroom management.

Originally posted to Writing by Will McLeod: A Better World is Possible on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 01:26 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ding ding, sir. (5+ / 0-)

    As said elsewhere, we'll know we take Education seriously when we pay out teachers as well as we pay our garbagemen, or give them even half of the respect.

    We don't, we don't, and we don't.

    neca politicos omnes; deus nullos agnoscet.

    by khereva on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 01:29:42 PM PST

  •  Not just the pay, the respect a professional is (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, WiseFerret, OllieGarkey

    due, a school admin that values their teachers over pleasing parents and their monstrous snowflakes, etc.

    There was a great teacherken diary last week I think that had a 7 point list of why people don't want to teach.

    Zombie Reagan gives the most peachy speeches.

    by The Dead Man on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 02:05:59 PM PST

  •  I retrained to teach! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil, OllieGarkey

    High school science, no less.

    But I cannot get a job. In rural Oregon. Where classes typically have 30-35 students because they can't make them 40+/class without violating room capacity fire laws. Where they've kept the good teachers they have got by making them part-time. Where parents voted to renew an expiring bond for desperately needed upgrade and maintenance on 50+yr old building with leaking roofs, when they could have gotten a property tax break that many need.

    I can't get a job teaching because the state demanded 10% cut across the board. People in my MA program, offers at graduation last June, had jobs rescinded. The budgets are more than 10% down in the rural area because people have left the area needing a job, depressing the tax base.

    I want to teach, but I can't. No one can afford to hire me. The job is not there for me to even apply for.  While class sizes explode and students suffer because a teacher has to waste time on classroom management.

    I just wanted to vote in the primaries. Honestly, I am much too liberal to be a Democrat.

    by WiseFerret on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 02:17:59 PM PST

  •  What always make me angry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    (and I'm not even trained to teach, let alone a teacher, but I honor all of the teachers who have touched my life) is the Free Market Argument.

    "If teachers aren't being paid as much as you'd like them to, then obviously they're not really worth as much as you think they are."

    No, what that proves is that our society has the most fucked-up priorities of any Western democracy, not that your precious Free Market religion is true!

    The one saving grace of American politics is that the Libertarian Party invariably makes the Democratic Party look like a highly organized hive mind.

    by jayjaybear on Wed Jan 26, 2011 at 02:53:24 PM PST

    •  The best response: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Tonedevil

      So when the free market decides that we're all citizens of the Empire of China, are you going to sit back and be satisfied?

      Because their education system might exceed ours soon, and we're going to need better scientists and engineers because, due to population, they will always have more.

      I don't actually think the chinese are evil, but most of these people are sinophobes.

  •  And as the depressed values of properties (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonedevil

    make their way through the property tax rolls, and state incomes consequently drop even more precipitously, school budgets, which are tied most directly to property values, are going to continue to be in crisis. We're far from the bottom of this valley, because the lag time in assessing property values for tax purposes is so great.

  •  my daughter (0+ / 0-)

    recieved her teaching credential last semester and cannot find a job....

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