By Taylor Gall — That’s the question that I’ve heard from countless students, family members, peers, and random people at the super market when I tell them that I’m planning on being a teacher after I graduate.
It seems that whenever I proudly announce that I’m majoring in Secondary Education and English, my audience isn’t excited- it is instead concerned.
“Well don’t you know that the pay is really bad?”
“Oh this is a terrible time to be getting into education.”
“You do realize that your tuition at Marquette will be more than your yearly earnings, right?”
“Honey, you’ll just have to marry rich!”
All of these responses send shivers up my spine. If I were focused on making bank in my future career, I would have figured out by now that I need to change my major. I haven’t yet come to understand why people think that discussing my financial future is an appropriate response to me expressing my excitement about becoming a teacher.
I’m not naive. I’m a well-educated 21 year old that isn’t focused on having a pit of gold coins to swim in one day. Instead, I’m focused on entering into a career that I’m passionate about. Sure I’d make more money working as an accountant or as a business woman in a Fortune 500 company, but I’d be miserable. Teaching is something that I’ve always been excited about. I wake up every morning excited to go in to work with my students. I know that as a teacher I’m going to be able to impact countless lives, and that gives me a joy that money could never buy.
This may not be the best time to be going into education.
Extreme testing and recent policies passed in the state of Wisconsin are going to make it difficult for me to become the type of teacher my mother is. I won’t have the same experiences as her, and I will have a harder time moving up the pay scale like she has. But since when has it become acceptable to switch your major just so that you’ll be able to afford a BMW one day? I would rather be happy than own a time share in Mexico.
Marquette’s tuition is higher than many starting teaching salaries.
This is true. But my Marquette education is irreplaceable. I’m getting experience in the Milwaukee Public School System, I’m learning from and working with some amazing professors, and I can’t imagine attending undergrad anywhere else. I’m enrolled in a top notch program, one that I believe will guide me throughout my entire career as an educator.
Additionally, I wonder whether or not men entering into the education field are told they will need to “marry rich”. It is insulting to me to hear others speculate over my financial and romantic future as if they are somehow related to one another. This is the 21st century, people. Let’s start remembering that it’s perfectly possible for a woman to support herself on teaching salary and be happy without having to rely on a wealthy partner. Instead of telling me that I should base my future relationships off of whether or not he’s going to law school, how about you tell me “marry happy” or just to “be happy”.
I’d rather be middle class and happy than wealthy and hating my job.