I’m a 4th grade teacher in Hayward, California. Although I do not have a second
job on the weekends or after school, I empathize with those who do.

A group of us (5 teachers) at our school run an afterschool program where we
teach hip-hop, breakdancing, drama, chess, juggling, and visual arts. Our group
services 60 percent of our school’s population (grades 4-6) yet we do not get
funding for this. All of the materials we use, we pay for them. We spend hours
with these children and have shown improvement in the school morale yet when we
applied for a grant, we were denied because our program does not fall into the
Reading or Writing category.

If we want to continue with our program, we might need second jobs just to
support it!

Donna Jaco

Hayward, California

My husband teaches high school math here in New York state. He has been a
teacher for seventeen years, and tonight wrote a letter asking the local public
library if he could be a substitute driver/deliverer for the library over
the summer. He has also applied to teach summer school, and to drive for an
express delivery business for the summer. Last semester, he taught a math class
for a local college as an adjunct instructor, after he was done teaching his
classes at the high school. I, too, teach at two local colleges on an adjunct
basis. Both of my parents were teachers. I’m used to living on the bare
minimum, but prices have gone up, stress in teaching has gone up, but the
salaries are still woefully low. The school districts cut music and art, and
there isn’t enough tissues or Scotch tape. How come people in this country don’t
seem to understand that the children/students in our country need our support?
We are undermining our own futures by undermining their education.

Nancy Mandry

Whitesboro, New York

The author has confused total and marginal value. Yes, teachers undoubtedly have
a greater and more important impact on the lives of kids. A greater total
impact. However, there are lots of teachers vis a vis orthodontists. The
marginal value of an orthadontist is greater, which is why “we” (or correctly,
the market) pay them the amount “we” do.

William M. Butterfield

Fairfax, Virginia

I work in San Jose, CA and teach Biology and Physiology at a high school here. I
have a biology degree and masters degree in science education.

Due to budget constraints, the teachers in my district will be recieving a 5-8%
rollback in salary (a pay cut) as well as recieving more students per period. I
just don’t understand how teachers teach for 40 years under these conditions.

With less money, more students, and more responsibilities upon starting my third
year, where are the motivation and incentives to stay in teaching? In response to
this question, people would say that the reason to stay is for the kids. That is
also my answer, but at what cost? I am lost, and wish that I could stay
intrinsically motivated to teach, but to be acknowledged every once in a while
in this thankless job would assure better teacher retention. It is about the
kids, but I am not a saint.

Amanda Day

San Jose, California

I am a teacher too, in Greece, with similar problems; having to work two or three
afternoon jobs to make ends meet. I just can’t believe this is happening in the
USA, too.

Anna Varna Larissa


What the public often forgets is that we are trying to support families, too. It
is one thing to live like a pauper when you don’t have a spouse and children to
support, but entirely different when families are involved. Were I to solely
support my wife and 3 boys on my taching salary, my children would receive free
breakfast and lunch from the government. That is after teaching for 18 years!
As a nation, the evidence is too overwhelming. We do not support teachers.
Instead, we usually place the blame for the problems of society at their feet. I
am an excellent and caring teacher. I work at school late most nights and come
in on weekends. How much longer should my family “take the back seat?”

Jim Frisque

Cottage Grove, Wisconsin