What sort of society are we, that we do not value educators? Most of these instructors love their jobs and go above and beyond to see students reach their goals, both in and out of the classroom.
While adding up the numbers for the graph attached to “‘Raising’ discord’” it struck home for me, how much teachers — especially those with a part-time position — must truly love the job.
The average pay for a part time instructor is $5,188 — that’s $1,360 more than the average Pell Grant award and $362 less than the maximum Pell award. It is easy to make excuses for the struggles I encounter while trying to achieve an education — but I have none for why the same obstacles are there for the ones doing the teaching.
In an effort to prove these numbers wrong, I questioned some part time faculty about their lives. One tells me that she teaches five classes per term, and has done so for more than a decade. She also work three other jobs. Two others tell me that they gave up driving a car because it wasn’t affordable on their salary. A fourth instructor – who left CNM to work at a college in another state – tells me that no one speaks up about the wage disparities because getting negative attention from one institution can jeopardize a teacher’s career.
I tried talking to some of my classmates too, to make sense of this. One student tells me that he makes nearly as much as the average full-time instructor by waiting tables. Another tells me that I’ve just convinced her to give up her dream of teaching.
Looking over the list of teachers I’ve learned from in my time at CNM — they were, minus a small few — wonderful, engaging instructors. More than one of them has gone well above and beyond for me. It makes me wonder — why do they do it? I cannot imagine achieving a bachelor’s, master’s or even a doctorate and then receive so little pay and recognition for my time and effort. Do they simply love their job so much that they are willing to overlook the systemic failings?
I care deeply about my education, and the education of my children. To those of you who teach for the love of teaching: Thank you. I appreciate what you do and why you do it.