Settling the Debt
©2012 Susan Noyes Anderson
She set the stage carefully, from soft lights and Kenny G to sweet-smelling candles and lemon water. Everything was in place; there would be no reprieve. Serena sighed, breathed through the feelings…relaxed her body, shrinking but resigned. Girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, she reminded herself, sliding into position. Debts must be paid, no matter the cost.
Still she flinched...recoiled and then surrendered. Her chair was cold, her desk a booby trap of unpaid bills. Did other teachers hate to write checks, too? Of course, she decided, snorting unequal parts hostility and amusement. Most months, she wondered why she taught at all. The answer never changed:
“Not for profit. For comfort…” Everyone else’s.
My sister's birthday was yesterday, and she is a wonderful teacher. When I called last night to wish her everything she deserves, more came to mind (and discussion) than gifts or birthday cake. I couldn't help wishing she (and all who make sacrifices to teach our children) would get everything they deserve, in salary, for the work they do day after day. When she isn't staying after school to help kids out, she's staying at home grading papers. It's a travesty that a woman with a master's degree and countless years of experience must struggle to make ends meet. And she is not alone.
People jump through a lot of hoops to become a teacher, and then they jump through a whole lot more to stay one. Maybe, just maybe, they should get paid for their efforts.