During the 2019 session, I heard from teachers all over the state who had to take second jobs in order to pay their bills. I remember the story of one teacher with a master’s degree who left at the end of the school day and headed to her second job at a pizza shop. After that shift ended, she went home and worked on lesson plans and graded papers. Just hearing her testimony, I was exhausted thinking about the amount of extra work she had to do so she could be a great teacher and survive financially.
I heard from other teachers who wanted to make more money and grow professionally, but also wanted to stay in the classroom. These teachers hoped to see options in every school that allowed them to take on leadership roles and continued to allow them to be teachers. These leadership roles would allow them to make more money without having to take a second job.
“Entering my teacher preparation program, I knew I would love nothing other than to remain in the classroom fulfilling my heart’s desire to educate blossoming minds. I was as certain then as I am now that I was not interested in administrative responsibilities outside the classroom.” - Indiana Teacher testimony.
We ask a lot of our teachers. We should support them, pay them and give them options to grow. There’s been a 60% drop in individuals entering Indiana teaching preparation programs since 2008. Nearly all Indiana districts (92%) struggle to find qualified candidates for teacher openings. There are currently 600 open teaching positions in Indiana. These facts add more stress to the everyday lives of our teachers.
While each teacher’s individual story was different, one thing was clear; they all loved their students. Each testimony was filled with passionate pleas for more resources, more support and more pay because each teacher loved molding young minds. Our Hoosier students deserve the best teacher possible – a teacher who is prepared for the classroom, has opportunities for growth and doesn’t have to work a second job.