I worry about money more than most I would say. I grew up extremely poor. I mean we lived in a pop up camper outside my grandma’s 1 bedroom shack in the country without electricity for a year poor. I’ve shared rooms with cousins and siblings, 11 people and 1 bathroom. More on that in another blog. I became a mother at 19 and a single mom by 25. I worked 3 jobs at minimum wage and put myself through school. I am now at a place where money is something I have, but don’t feel at ease with. I get anxiety at the thought of the what-ifs and me not having the money to cover it.
Within the past few weeks the subject of my finances, salary to be more specific has been brought up in conversations, some without me being a part of the conversation. And while it’s fine to know how much I make, I am a teacher my income is public knowledge, I don’t like being judged by it. I worked hard and have a degree. I made that happen. Don’t I deserve a salary that fits that? Don’t peg me as “well off” by simply knowing a number. It does not tell the whole story. It doesn’t show the cost of health insurance, retirement, taxes, life insurance, and other items taken out before I even receive my deposit. It doesn’t show my student loan debt and other self-imposed debt accrued out of necessity in order to survive. I work damn hard and I don’t like that by seeing a number, you can assume that I think I am better than you. I don’t think that. I know that even in my, what some would call elevated income, I still live paycheck to paycheck. Yes I have a plan and a budget to correct this matter and that there might be the difference you are speaking of. While you are stuck in your situation, I have a means to dig me out and a hope that one day I will be free of it.
But what does my financial status have to do with you? Why are you so concerned with it? I did not bring it up; I did not offer the information willingly. And might I remind you that it is just me. I am not a dual income household. I do not take fancy vacations or have expensive clothing. I have a daughter that I support in her daily life. I pay for all doctors, dentist, and any other type of appointment. I pay for her band activities and any other activity she chooses to be in. Her clothes and meals all are bought through this salary that you have decided is “a lot”.
Live a week in my life and see how hard I work to earn every penny that is paid to me once a month. See how my day does not begin at 8 AM and end at 4PM Monday through Friday. Watch as I stay late and arrive early most days. Join me as I grade papers in the evening and lesson plan on the weekends. Listen in as I make phone calls home to parents or pull a student aside who is crying to make sure they are OK. Notice the extras that I put in my grocery cart: school supplies and snacks for those students who are without. Sit with me in after school meetings and data planning. Analyze charts and stats and seating charts to ensure all students are showing growth and manage behaviors. Help me create small group lessons and enrichment activities for all the different learners in my classroom (I see over 100 students a day). And when I go home at the end of the day, tired from being on my feet all day, note that I do not sit down right away, or if I do it is not for long. I have a daughter of my own that needs dinner. I love my life. I love my students. I love teaching. I am not complaining, but don’t insinuate that I do not earn my pay. That I do not deserve every thing that I have worked for. Do not tell me that I “am lucky”. No I am smart and driven. And above all else: I AM HARDWORKING!!!
That is all rant is over. Thank you and goodnight.