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I had no idea what I wanted to do when I went to college. I loved music and art more than anything. However, unless you're someone like Beyonce or Justin Timberlake, don't expect to find work. So, what else did I love? It took me a long time to figure that out. Then it hit me: kids. I love working and taking care of kids. Okay, now we're getting somewhere. So, I decided to become a teacher. I figured, "I'll make a real difference in the lives of children! I'll be set for life!!" Well, six years of college later, reality hit me hard in the face.
I've been a teacher for five years now. Honestly, I love my job. Watching kids grow academically and emotionally brings me a lot of joy. Sadly, with that joy comes a whole lot of pain, stress and heartache. In five years, I've been in three different counties in North Carolina and one charter school. People have asked me "Why do you keep moving counties? Don't you want stability?" The answer is yes, of course I want stability. Unfortunately, there is absolutely no loyalty in this profession and the principals I've worked with could care less about their staff or students. I've had principals tell me that I'm incompetent and that I'm not good enough. I've had principals that refuse to help with students with severe behavior issues. Let's just say, my former employers haven't always been the best. It's very difficult to do a job when there is no support with what you need. I won't even get into curriculum: That's a story for another time.
One would think that this would be the worst of the problems. Unfortunately that's not the case. When I started teaching, I didn't care much about how much money I really made. All I wanted was to work with kids. Today, we live in a world where if you want to be a teacher, you had better be prepared to get another job if you want to survive. Case in point: aside from teaching, I work five other jobs. Yes, five jobs. Why would I ever do such a thing? The answer is simple. I need to be able to survive and make ends meet. It is so sad that I have to work multiple jobs in order to live, buy groceries, pay bills, or just be a human. I literally wasn't able to buy food for three months because of my bills, not to mention student loans. I could barely buy school supplies for my kids this year and needed major help. There were times where I even thought my water and power were going to be turned off. That's how bad it is living with this job.
Now, I'm not here to just whine and cry about being a teacher. But, people need to understand that teachers do really have it rough. We work for not a lot of money, and we are constantly treated like dirt. Do I want to be paid millions of dollars? Of course not. That's insane. All I want for myself, and for my fellow teachers, is to be treated with respect and be able to live comfortably, not in fear of wondering if I'll be able to afford food or power. We deserve to be able to do our jobs and not worry. So, when you take your child to school, do something for me. Go to your kid's teacher and just say "Thank you." Something simple like that can put a smile on a teacher's face. We're here for you, please be here for us.