My first five to seven years of teaching were extremely enjoyable. I loved teaching. Eventually, like every career, I was ready to shift or move forward in Education. That shift required student loans in order to get more formal training that set me back around $15,000, but I thought it was worth it. Soon after gaining more formal education, the budget cuts and skipped raises started to have an effect on my quality of living. When the economy crashed and the prices of gas and milk rose, my salary stayed the same. I had even been temporarily laid off at one point although the school system managed to place me before the beginning of the next school year. It is not surprising that my morale as a teacher began to dwindle.
Tackling Low Pay, Pay for Performance and Common Core
As it stands today, I make $11,000 less a year than what I am supposed to make according to the salary schedule from when I was hired, due to budget cuts in North Carolina that affected teachers’ salaries. Now to some, that may be peanuts, but to me, that is peanut butter! To make matters worse, although I dabble in changing careers all together, I have another dilemma. My income now is a little too much to go into an entry level position, but it is too low to maintain my family for the next few years, especially as we continue to grow.
Every year for the last five years, teachers get excited about the possibility of getting a 1% or 3% raise here or there. This year, I feel like I am worth more than that 1% raise. I have fought hard to push the Common Core content that was pushed on me into my classroom. To add to that, the Pay for Performance evaluation system pushed by Obama administration has become more insulting to experienced teachers as myself only lowering our morale even further.
Now, I somehow regret not listening to my aunts, all former educators, about going into the teaching field. They warned me that if I invested myself in the field long enough, that it would be hard for me to transition out of it. I had all of the warnings, but I wanted to try it for myself. Some days I do wonder what it would have been like if I had gone on to law school as planned. Then, on some days I hope that the teaching climate in the public school sector will get better and every year, I choose to wait it out just a year longer hoping that lawmakers stop making new legislation to impose on teachers and just let me teach. A raise wouldn’t hurt as well!