It is not a good time to be a teacher. Or to be living on a teacher's salary. For some reason, teachers have come under fire from popular media, law makers, and the culture in general. We are painted as greedy, lazy, and overpaid. Let me tell you, no one who goes into teaching is greedy for money. Are there lazy teachers? Yes. There are lazy workers every where and in every profession. It just happens this way. Most of the teachers I know are hard-workers, who want to be good at what they do, and impact kids for the positive. On top of being vilified, which is difficult enough to take, teachers are looking at massive cuts in pay and much higher insurance prices to be paid out of pocket. I know that many people pay out of pocket for their insurance. My belief, though, is that if you want the best and the brightest to become teachers, they need to be able to pay back their loans and support their families with their income.
In Michigan, tenure and seniority have basically been removed. Teachers can be fired for pretty much anything. There is no job security. On top of it, in our district, there is a noticeable level of tension between teachers and administrators lately.
People blame unions for the problems in education, but if there are no unions then districts will be able to hire the lowest bidder. I certainly don't want the lowest bidder teaching my kids, who would?
In Michigan right now, due to choices made by our governor and state legislature, state workers have to pay 20% into their own insurance (my husband's district forced 25%, with a $600 deductible), there was a surplus in the Education Fund, and yet they slashed funding to schools. We find out tonight how much of a pay cut our teachers are receiving (2-5%). In our household, we are looking at near $1000 less a month in spendable income. For a five person family on one income, this is devastating.
And so, I am angry. I am worried. I am sad and frustrated and feeling pretty helpless. I'm looking at going back to work full time, about three years before we had planned. My youngest will have to be in child care instead of spending time at home with me. I feel like he's getting cheated. I hate feeling guilty, and at the same time not being able to talk about any of it because most people still think teachers have it pretty good.
My heart is raw right now, and I feel my faith in God is next to nothing. I know this isn't what Christians are supposed to say. But I'm not going to fake it and say something I'm not feeling. I'm sure there is a purpose to this, I believe God is in control. I just wish I had peace about it, that God will provide, that it will all work out for the good of those who love Him. I know the Bible promises these things. I wish my heart knew them as well.