People often ask me why I teach. It isn’t for the hours; there are hours of work to do after the final bell rings each day.
It isn’t for the pay. I spend hundreds of dollars to put posters on my walls, ensure students have pencils and paper and crayons.
I teach for the middle-schooler who identifies as LGBT and told me no one was “for” her. I told her I was.
I teach for the immigrant student who just arrived two weeks ago and doesn’t know English yet.
I teach for the third-grader who reads on a kindergarten level but wants to learn.
I teach for the student who needs a champion when other adults fail him.
I teach because wherever my students come from, and whatever they may face in their lives, education ought to be the great equalizer. The classroom ought to be the one place in the world where they can come and be known, take risks, make mistakes, be challenged, be loved.
No, we were never in this for the money. What the legislators pay North Carolina teachers speaks volumes about the value they put on what we do for students and their futures every day.