Educators: Passion vs Paycheck

7:00 AM


For years I've been told that there's no money in the education world. "Are you sure you don't want to be a pediatrician, or child psychologist instead?" "There's just no money in teaching." "A teacher? Are you crazy? They can barely scrape pennies together after taxes!"

These are all real statements that I've heard in the course of my adolescent years, and if this is the common mindset worldwide, you would think that this would help to weed out all of the people that lack the passion it takes to be a teacher. Why teach if you're in it for a paycheck, it's certainly not worth the money we receive.
Although I am currently an instructional assistant (traditionally a teacher's assistant) and not a certified teacher, I consider myself an educator. Clearly IA/TA's make even less than teachers do, but that doesn't phase me at this point in my life: I have a roof over my head, food on my table, working lights, and even a little extra left over to splurge every now and then. In truth, I must say my rewards come from within the classroom: the relationships you cultivate with your students and their families, the progress you help them to make, the goals you assist them in achieving. That's what makes it worth the while for me.

In my experiences, physically being in a school setting is much different than what they tell you in college classrooms. Everything isn't a walk in the park. In many ways, teaching is like any other profession. There's drama, conflicts, gossip, backstabbing just like in other offices/workplaces. However, don't forget to add on the stress of struggling students, racing against the clock to teach countless standards before daunting standardized tests, laws and policies, and parents: angry parents, ignorant parents, careless parents, negligent parents, "push-over" parents, and naive parents.

Teaching encompasses many different components and educators often wear many different hats. We aren't just the teacher in the classroom, we are often moms and dads, big brothers and sisters, confidants, social workers, advocates, and more. It takes a certain type of person to stand in a teacher's shoes, and that requires passion, initiative, understanding, integrity and patience.

My frustration as of late has been witnessing imposters in the classroom. Those that put on the facade of a teacher that only cares about the student and their education, but every time you turn around they are stirring up trouble within the staff,  out the door at 3:00 on the dot, trying to find every break within their rights, or refusing to do extra work outside of the hours they are paid. Any passionate teacher can vouch that no matter what the faculty handbook says, teaching is more than a 8am-3pm job. There's the late night lesson planning, the car rides to a students house because their parent failed to pick them up from school, the student that needs an extra 30 minutes after school to grasp the math concept of the day, and many other "after-hour" situations that occur. 

Certain things just come with the territory, and children are too valuable to us, our society, and our future to allow them to be left in the hands of someone who cares more about payday than they do the complete well-being of a student entrusted in their care. A passionate teacher doesn't fluff scores to make themselves look better because they know that does nothing but hurt the child in the long run. Instead they work hard to differentiate lessons to help close learning gaps and assist with progress. A passionate teacher does not wait until teacher workdays or the 30 minute-1 hr planning period to complete all lesson plans because they know it takes more time and effort than that to create effective, engaging, and purposeful lessons for their students. 

It's time that teacher's really take a look in the mirror and realize that in the education field, selfishness is not an option. Parents are trusting us to serve, protect, educate, and help mold their children and this is not a duty that is to be fulfilled with a half-hearted mindset. Teaching is a full-time responsibility and if you aren't able or willing to take on that responsibility with all it entails, it may be time to find a different career field. 

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2 comments

  1. Wonderful words of wisdom....keep that spirit..."Its not about the Income, Its about the Outcome" ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Amber! :) If only everyone lived by that philosophy! Thanks for reading 😁

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