Michael Manning left a comment on my last post. I've responded to it, but since many readers don't look at the comment section I've decided to print a portion of my response to his supportive comment.
Preamble to the point I want to make. Many people I encounter understand the difficulties of being a teacher today. Many wonder why people become teachers. First and foremost it's not about the money. Not everything in life is. A salary commensurate with the level of education is better in other fields.
I was fortunate to get a college education on an athletic scholarship which did not leave me with a huge financial debt. This allowed me to become a teacher and weather the professions low pay. It takes about fifteen years before the salary really becomes a living wage. None of the other professions requiring the same level of education take this long and many have starting salaries higher than what a teacher makes at twenty years experience.
I fear for the profession and the future generations that need even more eduction that I did at their age, and for the well being of the country that needs a well educated society to advance us technologically and economically. I've seen too many baby teachers take a look at their first paycheck and realize they can't possibly live on it, after they make their college loan payments. The salaries of teachers have not kept up with the basic educational requirement for certification. That is the real problem facing education today.
My reason for being a teacher is part of my answer to Mr. Manning.
Every time I get disgusted with the hassles of teaching I start looking at other professions and figure if it was easy and wonderful they wouldn't call it work. All jobs have their unpleasant aspects. This one has many rewards (seeing students learn and graduate), security (a biggie in this economy), benefits (health and retirement) and summers off to spend with children and grandchildren and write. It may not be many people's cup of tea, but it's mine.