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If there is one thing that the pandemic of 2020 really showed us it is how underappreciated, underrepresented and how underpaid educators are in this country. This story addresses the challenge that many if not all educators have experienced in their careers, the idea that in the grand scheme of the amount of money that they are being paid versus the amount of hours that they put in unfortunately, they are not far from living under the poverty line. Sadly, in some states and some school districts teachers are being paid under the poverty level. Education is often seen as a job of passion. A job where the superheroes are in front of children making a difference daily because it is their dream. This educator is no different. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a math teacher. It had been her complete focus her entire life and she lived that dream. But it wasn't until after the tragic loss of her father, her graduation, and her landing her first job, that she really began to understand the financial challenges of teaching. As she sat looking over the amount that was deposited her account from her first month teaching versus the amount of bills she had to pay she realized that her dream job would not allow her to live without getting a secondary income. It was heartbreaking to realize that dedicating over 40 hours in the classroom was not enough. Her passion and love for her students was not enough. Her determination and energy to live life was not enough for her to actually live and enjoy life. She finds herself in the spiral of working multiple jobs to make ends meet, and finally wonders if moving in with her mom would make her happy, content, allow her to be a happy teacher. Unfortunately, this is the story of survival and realizing that sometimes the biggest dreamers must make difficult decisions because they are in a profession that doesn't recognize just how great and important they are.

Making Ends Meet

  • This is what I do with my free time, constantly looking for a side gig. My students laugh at me because when they come in class in the morning there's always a newspaper sitting on my desk. They think it's hilarious that I still read the newspaper, but I tell them there's a lot of information in the newspaper and there's a lot of information online. I love my kids, there is no other job that I wanted to do in life other than teach. My mother was a teacher, that's how I grew up and that's what I knew. But it wasn't until I got my first contract that I really understood why my childhood looked the way that it did. I remember what birthdays and Christmas looked like. I remember my parents debating and sometimes even arguing over whether or not they wanted to have more children. And the argument was always the same my mother would ask, and my father would tell her that “Kids are just so expensive. We can't afford them. We can barely afford the one that we have.” I'll always have that playing in the background of my mind, “we can barely afford the one that we have.” But I was a kid, you know. I didn't really understand the concept of finances or that the room that I had wasn't free or that electricity was something that my parents didn't get at the grocery store every month but rather something that we used and had to pay for. Now I was an adult, finally as a teacher with a college degree I found myself spending more time searching for a way to just… live.

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