The moment you start a degree in education, is the moment you begin to understand certain realities of the profession.
- You will work long hours
- You will receive low compensation
- You need to have a passion for this field to survive.
You would think that the last one would be obvious. It’s not.
Over and over again, moving from class to class, those three “Need — to — Knows” are inescapable. They ring true on the first day freshman year to the moment you’re standing in front of family and friends accepting that university diploma.
I knew this going into teaching. I accepted it, and I tried to prepare for it.
My passion for students receiving quality education fueled me through the negative account balances, late night lesson preps, and monotone professional developments.
All of this was doable, because it was for the kids.
What I didn’t expect was when I had children of my own, how that phrase “ do it for the kids” seemed to fall short.
Teacher’s are encouraged to be there for each individual child’s needs making sure to craft our skills to best serve their style of learning. The word differentiation is gold in the world of education.
The lingering question, that rattles back in forth in my mind, unable to shake is;
“I give so much of myself for my students, my school, my district — where’s the care for my own children?”
When I say care. I don’t mean love. I mean childcare.
My daughter entered our lives already at the age of six through the foster program. A year and half later, adopted, and already at school, we were able to avoid the hassle. However, finding affordable childcare for my son has been a full-time job in itself.
In my district there are 6,400 currently employed educators, 55 schools, and of that 55 only 2 offer childcare for teachers with kids who are 3 years of age and under.
My son was placed on a waitlist before he was born for the campus closer in proximity. As of this year has officially made it to 3rd in line. He turns 3 in November.
He was, however, accepted to the second location, a 32 minute drive from the campus I teach at.
So, unless I can get bit by a radioactive race car, it is impossible to drop him off at 7:00 am in the morning (when the doors open) and to make it to my own campus by 7:15, when students start to walk into my classroom.
When looking at neighboring districts, to see if maybe a transfer would solve my problem, most didn’t even offer a childcare option until the child turned 3. Even then there are specific criteria that must be met in order to qualify.
Child care is not cheap in Texas, ranging from $750.00 — $1,300.00 per month. Some places are even higher!
If teachers are not going to be compensated monetarily for their efforts, then why not compensate them in other aspects: Start by providing more campuses that offer childcare for teachers?
It’s a rewarding job, but a stressful one.
A district can eliminate some of that stress for their educators, by looking at the individual needs of their teachers and making a change by providing care for their kids.