Some background: my late mother was a teacher; my sister is a teacher; my aunt and uncle are retired. She was a teacher, and he was a principal. I didn’t think at first that I wanted anything to do with education, but fell into it, and realized it was in my blood. So here I am, 13 years later, teaching middle school and loving it. I’ve also taught high school and college. That said, I moved from Louisana where I made $11k a year with a MA and 2 years’ experience. Here in California, I make $50k more. Life is unbelievably better. My father said, either change jobs or move to where the money is, so I moved. Plus, it’s more important for me to make middle-class money and have great vacations, than it is to make fabulous money but have no time. To be a teacher is more than a job; it’s a vocation or a calling. You have to have specific skills, and yet you have to be incredibly adaptable and resilient at the same time. Teachers make the most decisions per MINUTE than any other profession. Not everyone is cut out for this. Those who can adapt and bounce back and change tactics, who can listen and respond appropriately, are good teachers. Yes, some ignorant people (usually those with intellectual insecurity, or issues about strong, articulate, highly educated people) still denigrate teachers. Without us, where would society be? Having said that, I think that because what we do has such value that mere money can’t match it, some people don’t know how to express their gratitude Personally, I never put up with anyone telling me that teachers are unappreciated and not paid well. I personally — and all teachers I know — don’t hesitate to fight, scream, kick and bite to get the recognition we naturally deserve. To hell with stereotypes! I’m appreciated as I should be, and I always speak up — without being a control freak, either. As with everything, there’s always a happy medium.