I once spent $5 on lottery tickets out of desperation, despite knowing as a math teacher that the probability of winning was essentially zero. But I teach, hoping that it will get better for me, for my students, and for my own kid who falls into that strange not-rich, not-poor-enough no man's land. There is no middle class that we fit into.
The transition from middle to high school is a critical inflection point, and students who fall behind in ninth grade are at great risk of dropping out. That is why I support the Middle School Success and High School Graduation Initiative Amendment, which aims to provide struggling schools with tools to help students bridge this gap.
I have watched fellow educators, my friends, walk into the classroom ready to take on the challenge only to walk out defeated. I am not prideful enough to assume that the same could not happen to me. It's not that teachers are looking for a reason to leave. America, we're looking for a reason to stay.
Imagine if instead of introducing ourselves by the number of years we have taught, we introduced ourselves as the number of students we have helped educate and prepare for life? How would the discourse surrounding public education change if we focused on these outcomes as opposed to simply a matter of attrition or number of years in the classroom?