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 People in my MA program, offers at graduation last June, had jobs rescinded.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.