I realize that this post is going to annoy my friends who have, for years, budgeted, gone through debt, are currently in school, and have had to pay 10 or 20 times in loans what I have paid in my entire educational career. This is not related to the current economic crisis and not inspired by it. This rant is not intended to encourage any of you to feel sorry for me; rather I hope that we can agree on a certain ridiculous fact:
Teachers just are not paid enough.
Jake and I have been lucky to come away from our educations debt free, and largely, we have been budget free. Not that we have spent exorbitant amounts on cars (well, that can be argued at this point, over a previously known issue), rent, clothes, swimming pools, travel, or anything of the like (I would like to point out that I did not put "food" on that list, simply because we all know I spend more money than anyone on food). I generally just keep in mind what we have, what I know we can afford, and what is coming up. We certainly have been able to afford many luxuries. We have been able to save, and we always had enough to cover whatever came up, and I'd like to think that we've come away with quite a bit (in terms of 20-something year olds and no real aspirations in the housing market, not in the rest of the world terms).
So I looked at our current earning potentials yesterday, in light of some recent income (read "pay cuts") and expense changes (increases in gas and childcare needs) in our lives, and was appalled to find that, if we are VERY VERY careful, leaving no room for extras (I am including medical costs here), we will be left with a tiny amount each month to save. Meaning, if we lived in any situation that involved a two bedroom apartment instead of one, we would be going into debt.
I am completely floored by this fact.
I am not expecting to be paid any sort of fortune. When it comes to being a teacher, I expect that most of what I do is volunteer work.
How does the world answer to such a mess? I live in a society where a full time teacher could not afford a mortgage or more than one kid (notice the use of the conjunction here). Absolutely any other profession that requires as much schooling as a teacher would demand more from an employer. Even my salary reflects a higher pay grade (due to credits I've worked up to) and an additional $50 per paycheck to be Department Head. How do other teachers live?
So this is what it feels like to be a doormat.