"Just a Teacher" - I hate that!
There have been many times in my life, when I felt inferior b/c I am "just a teacher". I went to college with no specific plan of being a teacher and entered with the intention of majoring in accounting. This stemmed from my intense interest in high school with business; I was a major FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America) geek! My senior year I was the president of the club and competed at the state level for Miss FBLA (unfortunately, I only got 2nd)! This was a tough competition that needed a variety of experience and knowledge in all business areas. Accounting was always my strongest area and I loved math. So, majoring in accounting seemed like the natural decision to make.
Skip ahead to freshman year at Marietta . . . I was enrolled in Accounting 101 and HATED IT! This was very traumatizing for me, since I was "Miss FBLA" and thought that this was my future. At the same time, I was enrolled in MicroEconomics, a requirement for my accounting major, and LOVED IT! So, I decided to pursue the Economics (and much less job-friendly) side of business. Then Sophomore year, I took my second speech class due to the core area sequences that were required by my liberal arts college. This introduced me to a different side of public speaking and I was hooked! Let's just say that I have never shy, love talking, and have never minded being the in the spotlight. After a few more speech classes, I realized that I was really close to a major and decided to double major in Economics and Speech Communications with no clue what type of job I could get with this! (This fact ALWAYS amazes my husband . . . "how can you go to college with no career path" . . . again, not everyone wants to be an engineer!)
Jump to junior year . . . I had declared both majors and was really getting into the college groove. A.K.A. - I now knew how to party and get good grades! This is when I went to my first conference for Residence Life for being a Resident Assistant in the dorms. I fell in love with it and realized that this was a possible career path for me. Senior year, I become the first Head RA for Upper-Class Housing and was preparing to go to graduate school after Marietta. *** NOTE: I still never thought I would be a teacher. *** Thankfully, I did decent on the GRE Test and I was amazed to get accepted into one the best programs in the nation for Higher Education Administration at The Ohio State University. Unfortunately, reality set in that I was broke and considered an out-of-state resident, so I could not afford to go there. Needless to say - I was devastated.
Stagger ahead to Spring Break; Panama City, FL; Senior Year . . . during one of my many drunken stoopers, I met a guy that was attending Texas Tech University for a Post-Baccalaureate Degree in teaching. He described the one-year program to me and I saw a possible career path. Hell, I was one month away from graduation and needed something! My love for student affairs included a love for teaching and mentoring students and I always held a special places in my heart for my past teachers. Could I be a teacher? Would I be able to afford this additional year of schooling? Where could this take me? I had so many questions and not a lot of time to decide.
Well, I ended up going to Tech for one miserable year and got offered a job with the first school that I interviewed with. I accepted this job, paying $25,000 per year and barely had enough money to live off of and pay back my student loans, so I had to wait tables in the evenings/weekends to make ends meet. At this point in time, I was just happy to have a consistent SALARY! But, it always nagged me that I settled on my alternate plan and was not doing what I really wanted to do.
Unfortunately, other people's attitudes do not help my "complex" about "just being a teacher". It really is sad, though. Just because I am not making six-figures (or even above $50,000) - does that mean I don't have a real job? Teaching is a tough, underpaid profession that many people would never survive doing! I know this, but I still allow myself to feel lower on the career totem poll. My husband's attitude doesn't help the situation - every few months, he gets a hair up his butt and will comment about how I need to get a "real job that pays something" or how I "wasted years of schooling and a Master's degree to just be a teacher"! These comments really get to me, especially b/c they are from my husband. Isn't that the one person that should accept you for you? I know this is his version of motivation, but it does not accomplish the goal - it just hurts me & my pride.
So, to people out there that might feel that teachers don't measure up to your big career and better raises . . . F-You! I suggest that you be nice to me and all the other teachers out there! Many of us could be doing other things (and be damn good at them), but instead we choose to shape young minds and contribute to our future generations. The intangible rewards from that are better than a big check any (okay most or I won't have a complex) day!!!!!
There is no such thing a "just a teacher", I am so much more than "just".