by Barbara Gleason
A student once asked me, "Do you think teachers get paid enough?" My first thought was sure. I love what I do, I'm lucky enough that it pays the bills and hey, I get the summers off. What more could I ask for? Then I sat down and did the math.
Being that I teach health, I thought maybe my math was just a bit rusty. However, no matter what mathematical equations I used, the figures just didn't add up to the amount of hours that I put in every year. Summers off? The extra time I put into work each day, all totaled up, exceeded the amount of time I had off during the summer. No wonder why teachers need the summer to recharge their batteries (and students too!). So, it got me to thinking...how much is enough?
In the past, I used my summers for curriculum work, taking courses and working side jobs. Along with coaching during the year, making the extra money certainly helped make ends meet. Now, my time is filled up with changing diapers, feeding children and finding ways to occupy their time all day. This means no more coaching or working extra jobs. On top of not making extra money, I need to spend more of it on the wee ones. Do I have enough?
Heading into this next year is going to be scary, paying for 3 kids in daycare/preschool. I have managed to try and find some time to create a job for myself that I can do at home by writing children's books.*
Though this hasn't turned out to be profitable yet, it certainly has been quite a worthwhile learning experience. I have had to learn about accounting, marketing, social networking, web design, writing, editing and simply how to build a business. Well, I certainly have learned enough in the last few years!
This brings me to today, a rainy afternoon. I find myself turning on a Music Choice Channel on TV to get my children up and dancing. Carly Simon is belting out, “Well you’re where you should be all the time….” This gets me thinking again. Then a little ditty called, “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns N’ Roses fills the air. My oldest daughter is hula hooping and Irish Step dancing (her version anyhow) to the music at the same time (she’s got skills). My son was switching it up between playing the air drums and air guitar.
Watching him, you could see by the look on his face that he was in his own little world on stage just rocking out. And me? Well, of course I’m dancing with my baby girl and taking charge of the lead vocals. Here we are singing, dancing and laughing on a rainy, summer afternoon.
So, I go back to that question again, “Do I think teachers get paid enough?” Financially, I would have to say “no”. Yet, because of the choices I have made in life, I have had to branch out, step out of my comfort zone and learn creative ways to make ends meet.
I also get to have my summers, weekends and nights off with my children. Being a teacher may not be giving me the best financial benefits at the moment, but I have gained time with my children and an education I never thought I would have. I have to say, it certainly would be nice to be paid a bit more. However, as for right now? It’s enough.
* Check out my Kickstarter Project to see how I'm trying to make enough to fund my latest children's book, "great esCAPEs": http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/641232339/find-your-great-escape
We have less than 2 weeks to raise all the money, so whatever you can give would be fantastic!! $20, gets the book in your hand though, so keep that in mind! :-)