In the state of Texas, the minimum teaching salary for a teacher with 4 years of experience is just over $30,000. Most districts pay more. If you get into metroplex areas, a teacher with 4 years experience might make closer to $50,000. As you move away from the metroplex, you will find most teachers are on the lower end of the pay scale. Any teacher that is actually teaching solely for the money is clearly in the wrong profession.
Teaching has never been about the money. Sure, I have to have money to pay bills and to fuel my shopping addition, but I didn't chose teaching for the money. Clearly. I chose teaching because I want to make a difference. On days that I realize that I have made a difference, I get the biggest paycheck ever. And today, was one of those days.
If you've followed my blog for a while, you might remember a little boy I had last year when I tought kindergarten. This little boy was not happy to be in my room, he said it was "stupid." He couldn't talk to me because his mom told him not to speak to strangers. He hit, bit, pushed, and cursed. I remember him crawling under a table one day and refusing to come out. No one loved him or believed in him, including himself. He's the kind of student that most teachers truly dread and secretly hope will be absent (I know, it's sad, but very true).
Anyway, I refused to give up on him. I set forth to do whatever it took to get through to him because I would not allow any child to spend a year in my class and still consider himself stupid. So, I worked at it for about 6 weeks. He had learned half of his letters in six weeks and he now called himself smart. I had made a difference! And then I found out he was moving. I was devastated. I thought of him frequently and was always worried that his new teacher wouldn't get to know him and see how great he was. I learned this fall that his mother had passed away and my heart broke even more. I just prayed that he had someone who would love him and believe in him.
Well, God decided he needed to be back with me. Or maybe I needed him to remind me how much I love what I do. When he walked in my room today, it took everything I had not to cry. He gave me the biggest hug and just held on. I have never been so happy to see a student. He later told me that he had cried when he was at his house. I asked him why and he told me because he missed me. It may not be easy, but I know this kid needs me and I know God knew I was just the person.
And today, I feel like a million bucks. Not because I got a nice paycheck to put in the bank, but because I made a difference.
1 week ago