Teachers Need Love Too
Updated: May 26
I was substituting at a charter school when I happened upon the ‘regular’ teacher’s pay stub. It seemed to leap into my prying little hands as I rooted around the drawer for a highlighter. Curiosity got the better of me as I unfolded the document to scope the details. I was appalled at the annual salary…$35,563. According to the attached pay scale print out, this was the top salary awarded to a teacher with a doctorate degree and five years of teaching experience.
Out of all the thoughts racing through my mind at that moment, I recall two very vividly. 1. OMG, a doctorate degree only grosses $35,000 a year?! 2. How does he support a family on this pittance? I also remembered scenes from the documentary “American Teacher,” which revealed just how severely teachers are underpaid. One poor man lost his family to divorce, because he was hardly at home. He taught history, coached a sport and worked at Best Buy part-time to make ends meet. In the end, his dedication to a low paying profession proved too stressful for his wife. Such a fate could befall $35K guy, I reasoned.
If this hypothetical man behind the paystub were single, how would he fare on the current dating scene where women have not recession-proofed their ideas of courtship? A simple movie and dinner for two is quite an investment these days. Modern women are still taught that ‘real’ men pay for dates and provide the lion’s share of income to the household. So, what happens when the harsh realities of the education sector shatter the fantasies of love and marriage? Although an honorable profession, classroom teaching is generally not a moneymaker. Would this man’s low salary make him a less attractive candidate for a relationship?
As I pondered these questions, an unsettling thought snapped my brain. Have men bypassed me as a potential mate because of my low paying survival job as a teacher - nay - substitute teacher? Over the years, I have considered the fact that the gap between my earning potential and actual finances has swayed potential suitors in other directions, but I never seriously entertained the idea until recently. I have no verifiable proof of this, but how terrible would it be for financially challenged teachers to be dismissed as romantic partners on such shallow grounds?
Of course teachers, adjuncts and substitutes rub their nickels together to get married and start families. However, I wonder to what degree their options for mates were influenced by their salaries? Hopefully, listing ‘teacher’ on dating profiles under profession will read as passionate and dedicated instead of broke. After all of these considerations, one truth rings clear, as Valentine’s Day approaches. Teachers - at all grade levels - need love too!
Ashan R. Hampton has worked as an English instructor in higher education for over 20 years. She is a proud graduate of the Donaghey Scholars Program at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock under the direction of Dr. C. Earl Ramsey, Emeritus. With her doctoral studies on hold, Ashan has found success in online education. She is also a published author of 14 nonfiction books on grammar, writing and inspiration for women. Get ordering information and view samples of her work at: www.arhampton.com.
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