I am going to be honest. My initial reaction to the New York Times article The Fight to Keep Teachers in Tech Hubs From Being Priced Out was a little frustration mixed with anger. My reaction was so strong that I began writing. Then I stopped writing. I needed a few minutes, hours…days… to digest. Now that I have had that time, my feelings have not changed.
In the article Dana Goldstein writes about an age old tale of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. Teachers don’t make a lot of money. We just don’t. Most of us accept this fact despite how disparaging it is. We have come to terms with our “have-not” status. The teachers facilitating the education of Silicon Valley students are no different. They don’t command the pay of the “haves” employed by the tech giants. They just ask that they don’t have to commute an hour or more to teach the ‘haves” offspring.
Gibson states that the “average rent [in the area] is over $3,500.” I wonder if any of my fellow teachers can afford that price tag on their salary alone. If so, is your school hiring?
As a possible solution the local school districts are attempting to provide affordable housing to staff members. Sounds like a decent idea right? Not to many. The ‘haves’ don’t want their hired help’s housing to impede on their bottom line. That is right. They are concerned about their property values going down at the sight of “affordable housing.”
Here is what upsets me. Many teachers sacrifice just to do the job. We spend money, we invest time, and the emotional toll of loving and caring for so many students is taxing. It is something you don’t understand until you do it. I won’t even attempt to explain here. Despite it all we do the job we love.
So many people say they support their teachers. They say they want a great education for their child. When it comes down to it though, many don’t. What I am starting to realize though, is that despite our skill set and our level of education, many see us and treat us as the glorified help. We are not to rub shoulders or break bread with the ‘haves’. Like the nanny, the housekeeper, and the lawn boy, we come in, we do the job, and then we are to go away not to be seen or heard of until it is time to do our job again.