Substitute teacher gave up six-figure job for the sake of family

This working professional quit a six-figure job to have more time with her children. She then pursued an opportunity as a substitute teacher. In this flexible and unpredictable role, she finds the opportunity to teach others and build relationships.

What is your job title and what industry do you work in? How many years of experience do you have in that field?
I am an Associate Teacher, with 3 years of experience.

Would you describe what you do on a typical day?
I help teach the class assigned for the day. It might be Kindergarten through 12 grade, any subject. I also teach children with disabilities. First, I arrive at the school and pick up lesson plans. I review them as well as I can while trying to remember the front desk’s instruction. I wait for students to arrive and greet them. I take attendance as often as needed. I execute lesson plans and make sure that students know and FEEL that I am willing to help them one-on-one.

What is your ethnicity? How has it hurt or helped you?
I am Hispanic. People tend not to think of me as Hispanic when they see me, because of my name and my looks. This bothers me sometimes that people automatically assume I am just white. I was brought up in South America, spoke Spanish first, and still speak it fluently, and was educated in that language. Being Hispanic has helped me because not only can I understand Latino culture, but I also think it makes me more tolerant of other ethnicities and cultures. Additionally, speaking Spanish opens so many doors of trust with students. I have seen many Latino students instantly brighten up when I pronounce their names correctly or when, for example, I sing to them in Spanish.

If you’ve experienced discrimination, in what ways have you responded and what response worked best?
I have experienced discrimination from people who knew I was Latina, and have also seen it happen to other Latinos. For me, I have been looked down on by a fellow Latina because I did not “look” like her and her version of what Hispanics should look like. I have also endured derisive remarks about Latinos from a few non-Latinos.

I responded to these people by explaining my Latino background and my love of my Latino side. I try to convince others of the value of diversity and the importance of looking at people’s hearts instead of automatically making assumptions because of their looks. Explaining the facts, showing empathy yet standing firm to defend Hispanic values and culture works best for me.

What languages do you speak? How has speaking another language helped you?
I speak Spanish and it has helped me tremendously. I have been able to help Spanish speaking parents navigate the intimidating process of enrolling their child in school. I have also been able to translate documents in Spanish and read and interpret them into English. The biggest advantage is the feeling of trust generated when a Spanish speaking person realizes that you are reaching out to them by speaking their language. That is priceless!

What did you learn the hard way in this job and how did that happen?
I learned that politics exist in EVERY job and that it is important to safely navigate the political waters in order to attain one’s objectives, such as empathy and assistance to Latino immigrant families.

What don’t they teach in school that would’ve been helpful to you?
They don’t teach the importance of identifying early on those who are powerful enough to make the changes one desires and how to go about befriending them. I was very naive until I actually worked for a couple of big organizations with hierarchies.

How did you get started in this line of work? If you could go back and do it differently, what would you change?
I left a six-figure salary to stay home with my children. I wanted a flexible job, and also wanted to learn new techniques for educating and managing my four children (three teenagers and a child). If I could change things, I would have researched substitute teacher opportunities and applied much earlier!

On a good day, when things are going well, can you give an example of something that really makes you feel good?
The most important thing is to realize that a student suddenly “gets” the lesson I am imparting. I live for these moments especially since I am not a teacher by training and am not as gifted as some of my peers.

When nothing seems to go right, what kind of snafus do you handle and what do you dislike the most?
Sometimes I will arrive at a school and another substitute is already there for the same job. I stay calm, offer myself for another opportunity, and if all else fails, graciously go home. Aside from trying to remain polite, I want them to invite me back!

One of the things I dislike the most are administrators who offer to help with a potential discipline problem and then resent it when I actually have to call him or her.

How stressful is your job? Are you able to maintain a comfortable or healthy work-life balance?
Some days are stressful and others are not at all. I try to remember that I am only there for the day or two, try to focus on what I helped the kids learn that day, and try to look forward to something fun I will do later.

What’s a rough salary range for the position you hold? Are you paid enough considering your responsibilities?
I earn about $12.64 an hour. If I worked full time, this would equate to about $25,000 a year minus about three months of summer and holidays that no work is available. Substitutes’ salaries were cut ten percent last year in my district; I feel we should be paid at least what we earned last year. We not only have the responsibility of teaching the kids, but we also ensure that teachers can take time off for emergencies and vacations.

What’s the most rewarding moment you’ve experienced in this position? Of all the things you’ve done at work, what are you most proud of?
The most rewarding moments are those when the students have thanked me for helping them learn something. It’s an unbelievable feeling. These moments taught me that expressed gratitude is so rewarding to the recipient, and it’s so cheap! It doesn’t cost anything to say thank you. I am most proud of my perseverance and struggle to become at least an effective (if not, superlative) teacher. When I started the job, I was literally petrified for about a week. I had to force myself to calm down, to patiently read handwritten plans, and to manage my time adequately so I could absorb the lesson plans in time for class.

What’s the most challenging moment you’ve experienced? What would you prefer to forget?
I worked in one class for three days where students were swearing and trying to engage in a physical fight. This was very stressful and I would love to forget it!

What education and skills do you need to get hired and succeed in this field?
You need a four year degree and teaching experience (not necessarily in a traditional classroom). A love of children and learning is also essential.

What would you tell a friend considering your line of work?
That it’s tough but rewarding, and you learn skills that will help you manage your own children.

How much vacation do you take? Is it enough?
Very little. I don’t work certain days because I am a single parent with four children. I keep thinking of future vacation plans and that keeps me going.

Are there any common myths you want to correct about what you do?
That teaching is a grind and is very rigid. Teaching can be exhausting but there are many things one can do to ameliorate any stressful situations that come up. There are so many new ways to learn; it’s amazing! Kids can learn through the computer, the Internet, in a garden. Current students are so fortunate to learn in the current environment.

If you could write your own ticket, what would you like to be doingin five years?
I would be an immigration rights lawyer/advocate.

Is there anything unique about your situation that readers should know when considering your experiences or accomplishments?
I am a parent of three teenagers and an eleven year old. I was single for many years until I recently married, yet my husband lives in Chicago, so I am still on my own a lot. I try to give the best I have in my job. I believe every job, even if it is not earning you gobs of money, can teach you something that you will find useful now and forever. For me, teaching taught me how to be more patient with my children, how to discipline them more effectively and foremost, how to help them grasp learning concepts.



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  • My name is Terika Redding as a single parent I have turned down many jobs that require long hours and crazy schedules for my children. I feel their education is more importan and being there for them during the day meant so much. I have turned down many jobs and took short shifts to be able to give my children the time they need to be successful. I wanted to be able to raise my children not have them raised in a day care facility.

  • I was unable to finish school when I was younger and the next thing I knew, I had a family so I thought it would be impossible! I have built my “career” around my family only taking jobs where I could drive my husband to his job. My husband only has one eye, he was born with bi-lateral glaucoma. I have never been satisfied with the work that I do. I have always dreamt of becoming a teacher. I know that this is the only way I will feel fulfilled and U of P is making it possible!

  • Family is the most important thing to me. As a parent we strive to provide the best life we can for our children and for some that means passing on jobs that earn a higher income. Our children are growing up in a time where they need to have a good education and work hard to provide for themselves. Going back to school after being out for almost ten years has been a challenge, but i wanted to give my child a better lifestyle. I also wanted to be able to educate my child and not just depend on the school system because I think that is a part of being a parent. Parents wear a number of hats and we do it for our children. Completing my degree at University of Phoenix will give me the skills and education I need to futher my career as well as provide the education my child will need for the world she is growing up in.

  • I relate quite a bit with the lady who answered these questions because I also am an English/Spanish speaker. I am Caucasian but grew up in Ecuador and people do tend to look down on me when I engage in Latino functions as they think I am clueless and do not know Spanish. I also have 4 children and am trying to juggle work and raising a family. I work as a medical interpreter which has allowed me to use my language skills to help others overcome difficult situations. I am going to school to pursue a Masters degree and hope someday to be able to perform a professional role in a large company, while still having the ability to help others cross cultural barriers.

  • I can relate to this woman as a single mother, who also chose to leave a well-paying job to spend more time with my children, and in the process I found my passion for teaching. I also struggle to make ends meet on a salary that barely covers the bills, but it is worth it for the sake of my children; I know I am doing the right thing when I see my children growing into successful, productive, intelligent, compassionate, caring individuals.

  • I can relate to this woman because I too am a mother of four children. However, mine are younger: ages 1, 3, 10, and 16. I also work a job that provides a comfortable living for my family. I make mid-5 figures. But as she indicates, I too spend very little time with my children and feel that I have missed so much of the lives of my older children. As such, I find myself, as I have gotten older, not wanting to repeat those same mistakes with my younger children, while also, wanting to be there more for my older children. In the last year I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. It was the biggest life or death scare I have ever had. Going through the experiences I have undergone in the last year caused me to get to a point of re-evaluating my life. Ultimately, I realized that I work long hours in a job, often with no appreciation and it is very stressful because I am a woman executive. All board directors on my board are men and there is such sexism, lack of respect, by both the board and staff members who are male, that it is absolutely ridiculous. I found myself yearning for a way out. Economic times are hard for the entire country! I know I cannot leave a good-paying job with four kids before preparing myself for another. Therefore, I enrolled at the University of Phoenix about four months ago and is presently enrolled in the Adult Education program. I feel, as this woman expressed, that there is such reward and self worth found in teaching and helping others, that I am compelled to pursue this degree, and consequently seek employment as a teacher. I have a desire to teach at the junior college level. I feel that it will be more rewarding to help steer others on right paths in their lives and feel teaching opens the doors for me to do that.

  • I started teaching early childhood in1994 and at the time did not realize that it was my passion. I ended up working in the medical field and did ok financially but realized that i was not happy and had not been able to spend lots of time with my children and as a single mom that was very important to me. In 2008 i chose to return to teaching and i have now realized that i have an extreme passion for the education of our children, to make sure they have what they need to accomplish and succeed in life.

  • I started teaching tennis in addition to my part-time job in order to make some more money for myself. Then there started to be conflicts with the two job schedules and I had to make a choice on which job to work when scheduling conflicts arose. I decided to teach tennis to the children instead of working my retail job that paid more because to me, teaching tennis to children was and still is a lot more satisfying than selling clothes to people. Despite the steep amount of money that I would be losing it was so much more satisfying to me to teach tennis. It also made me leaps and bounds more happy than working at a retail store.

  • I have always worked two if not three jobs. I recently got engaged and quickly found that planning a wedding and working more than one job was not going to work. At the time I was working as a supervisor of a grocery store and I was a classroom aide at a school for students with special needs. Teaching and making a difference is my passion. I gave up my grocery store position and put my focus on my classroom aide position.

    I have found teaching to be the most rewarding experience. When I arrive at work every morning, I have four smiling faces looking at me. My students are not always happy and they are not always easy to work with. It is how we handle the situations and get through them that matter. My job has really taught me a lot about patience, love, care and understanding. When I see that one of my students finally understands something, I am very excited or them. It makes my job worth it! It is very exciting when a sixteen year old can finally count to five. I could do that long before I was sixteen. This has taught me not to take life for granted.

    My work experiences are helping me prepare for when I have my own children. I will have a great deal of experience that has taught me patience, kindness, love, care and understanding. There is not one single person on this earth that is perfect. It is our imperfections that make us unique and lovable.

  • It is BEAUTIFUL to know that good people still exist in the world. Society has become a money hungry, distasteful world with less ethics and morals. No longer will you find the majority of people doing things out of the kindness of their heart especially if they do not benefit in some way. To change into a career field that decreases wages will affect a family monetarily but will be replaced with priceless quality time with family. Lives will be enriched and society will be happier if we all find our passion and stop chasing the money.

  • Its great that you have chosen to put your family first. I know for myself, I have had to the same thing before due to the employer would not change my schedule to fut around my children. That was one of the hardest decisions to make after being with the company for over two years. Knowing that the job market is hard to land a job that has “family friendly” schedules. I can say now, with my new employer I do have the option of choosing my schedule whether it be “family friendly” or late nights. Another advantage that I have with this company is the pay and benefits, that were not all that good with the previous employer. However, if giving the opportunity to go back to my previous employer I would gladly because the job was great and not as stressful as being a CSR for CVS Caremark. It good to see that there are still some people who actually do put their kids at the top of their priority list.

  • Parents sometimes become wrapped up in their jobs and leave litte time for their families. I am a stay at home mother of four children, make very little money,and attend school full-time to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. I am rewarded with the presence of my children and the ability to be active in their lives. I would not change my life for anything.

  • Teaching can be an incredibly challenging profession. Considering the low wages, lack of support and resources, and increasing professional demands, it is almost baffling that anyone would choose this career. However, those of us who have felt the calling, and have experienced the immense fulfillment that comes from making a difference in a child’s life, know that teaching isn’t simply a job.
    I, too, am inspired every day by my students and my children. Working in public education in a densely-populated urban area with high crime rates, I continue to be amazed that despite all of the obstacles in their lives, my students push ahead to improve themselves and obtain the education necessary for a better future. There are times when I feel that my students teach me more than I can possibly teach them.

  • This is a great story. It is very inspiring to see that this woman has taken the many challenges life has presented and has made the best of her situation. I can see quite bit of myself in her. I recently moved 2000 miles from my hometown, leaving behind family, friends, and a job that I loved. It is hard to adjust to changes, especially financially, but I am making the best of it. I know the best is yet to come. I am very close to completing my degree plan and I am determined to find a job that I love and can use to help people. I am a Business Administration major and worked at a financial institution; that the field I hope to stay in. Although it may be different from a teacher in some ways it is also very similar in others. I plan to use my experience, knowledge, and education to help people with their finances and reach their goals financially.

  • I can relate to this article in many way. I left the business field which I know I could have easily moved up the ladder and made a lot more money becasue I wanted to do something with mat y life that would be beneficial both to my children and to our community. It has not been an easy transition as I had to learn a whole new field of work. I really enjoyh the extra time I get with my children at home. I also take great pride in knowing that I am making a difference in the lives of my student every year.
    I am also a hispanic but many people may not know it just by my looks. Many people I have worked with in the past have treated me indifferently once they found out that I was a hispanic and it has made things a little tougher. But I continue to move forward and take pride in who I am as I have a standard to set for all those little children who look up to me. I truly believe they are our future and if we can show them how to be strong and overcome the struggles of this life then they will be able to make a more powerful impact in our world.

  • This is exactly why I am going back to school myself. Being a single parent and then not having enough time with your children is very difficult. What better way to make sure that you get the most time with them and support them at everything you do than by being a teacher. You learn so many great things on how to teach your child and be able to be there for them when they need you. Teaching is a very challenging job, but as stated very rewarding. This is why I chose to become a teacher is for the rewards and to be there with my daughter. Thank You so much for sharing your story and we can now all share this story and know that we are not alone in our struggles to become better for our children.
    In so many ways single parents are having to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet and going to school means less time with our children. We may not have gone about life the proper way ( going to college and then starting a family, or in some cases we did that but the economy forced us into other means to make ends meet). Our children deserve to have parents that will make sure they feel loved and not a burden, and in many cases we are forced to make them feel like a burden. Going to school to become a teacher will help us reach out to not just our children but other children who might be int hat position.

  • I really am happy that there are some people who are willing to put forth the effort to educate our younger generation. I know when I was growing up there was always a compassionate teacher that did whatever they could for you and I believe that is how it should be. Currently there are more teachers that are just looking for a paycheck and wanting to put fourth the effort to teach the kids. I too love to give my best in my job because that is respenstation of who I am as a person. I feel we are the same when we put our mind to something it gets done.

  • This was a very inspiring and encouraging story because I left the corporate world to care for my disabled son. I am using this time to go back to school so that I can remain marketable when I return to the workforce.

  • I can relate to this story because I dream of becoming a teacher. I aspire to teach in communities that are considered hard to fill. I also live in a community that is considered at risk and populated with minority groups. Teacher’s work harder than most people give them credit for. Sometimes sacrificing their weekends, money, and as I have seen happen, their lunches for the students they teach. The most awarding aspect of being a teacher is making a difference in a child’s life, in the community, and in the future generation. I could choose any career for myself but I am working toward become a teacher. I am not choosing this as a career because of the money. I am choosing this as a career because I have children I want to spend more time with and because it is one way for me to leave my footprints on this world long after I have left it.

  • I respect the fact that she puts her family over her career. I am currently in my second year studying Early Childhood Education. Although this job is not as high paying as other, I choose to go into this field of work not for the money but for the ability to be able to make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that others should follow in the footsteps of this woman. She is a living example that you do not need money to be happy. She has made several sacrifices in her life not only for her children but for those that she teaches. This story has reassured me that being a teacher is a very successful and rewarding career.

  • Being a parent comes with a lot of sacrifices. There is no job that should come before you family, no matter how many figures it is. She has earned my respect on so many level, as a mother, a professional, and as a woman. I have been a teaching assistant for the past 8 years, a decision I made in to be able to spend holidays and vacations with my children. Being able to watch your children grow and being there for them is a feeling that words can not explain. With many other careers that is not 100% possible because you may have to work long hours or different shifts, even work holidays if you have no seniority.

  • What a wonderful story. I feel too many people dont that the time to concider what is really important in life. At times they think the thing that is right in front of them is the thing that is most important but really in the long run it is not. Bless you for having the courage to make the change you did and put your family first. I am a substitute teacher who choses that as my profession so I could be there for my children. I wanted to be there for them in the morning and when they got home form school. I wanted to be on the same schedule they are on. I have turned down jobs in the neighboring county because although it is more money a day it would not be on the same schdule as my children.

  • I can relate so well with this women. I am also a substitute ESP personnel special ed worker, I would sub for Teacher Aides, Seekers, bus aide, and CWA’s, so I have had my share of substituting for school staff, I been a substitute for 10 years now off and on being full time and laid off, so I decided that substituting worked best for me to retaining work.

    Everything that she went through with, discrimination, student fights, the disciplinary person telling me to just bring the kids to them when they are behaving badly to me saying the same thing wrong mistake to doing that cause it did not work out for me the way the administration made it to be, and foul language use, and right down to given me assignments and I show up and theirs another substitute their also for the same position I would be calm also and just call my boss to let him know what’s going on, but the great thing about my boss he makes sure that when something like that happens that the school finds me something to do so that I could get paid for that day.

    You said it right the rewards of are students learning something new from us being there just for that one day is so rewarding, The hugs, and the smiles and all the thank you’s are so rewarding it’s like love food to your heart to know that you have made a difference in a child’s life. Her giving up her high paying job for children shows that she a great mother, I too love this job because of the flexibility it give me with my child.

  • This story really remnds me of myself. I too teach in Special Education as a paraprofessional. The money aspect is not great, but the knowledge garnered from the children and the work is what makes the difference. The fact that I too obtain different learning strategies to help my children learn and grow is what really sealed my choosing of this article. I am a single mom to four children; one boy and three girls.
    I was also just speaking to my advisor about becoming an advocate. I was inquiring about how to do so, what schooling was needed, so on and so forth. My brother was killed by a drunk driver on July 18, 2012, the pain his passing has thrust upon his four children and mine has been almost too much to bear. I want to help others who have gone through the same type of loss and aid them in their journey to seek justice for the wrong that has happened in their lives. Great Story!

  • I can relate to this story on many levels. First and foremost, I would like to say that leaving a six-figure job to work in the school system is extremely brave and a “step out on faith” decision. I am also a single mother of three, one going into middle school, one going into college and one in the Navy. There were plenty of times as they were growing up that I did not know how I was going to make it through the next crisis. It seemed I was more of an usher….ushering them to do their homework, take their bath, eat dinner, wake up and do it again. It could not have been much fun for them and it was no cake walk for me. There were many times when I contemplated reducing my mediocre salary to have more time with them and the elementary school crossed my mind as being a place where I could make a difference for my children and others. More importantly, I was dogged with the idea that time began to be much more important than the money. I applaud you, myself and the many others that are Mom and Dad to our children even when their fathers are in their life. Your children look to you for all things at some stages in their life and we never want to fail them.

  • I can relate to this story in that I have been looked down upon because of the man I married and the fact that I gave up a career to be a stay-at-home mother. I am White and married a Puerto Rican. I lost friends and family over my decision. My father disowned me and has refused to have anything to do with his grandchildren. When people, (all races), find out I am married to a Hispanic, their whole attitude will change and they seem to be in hurry to get away from me. People have actually stopped me in public and asked me what my children were mixed with, right in front of my children. My children are constantly questioned about their race and one of my sons told me he did not know how to respond anymore. I told him to start saying he was part of the human race. I have three sons-(26, 25, & 23), and one daughter (22). My sons all have dark skin and hair while my daughter is very White like me and has light brown hair. My children are equally proud of their Hispanic and White heritage. I raised them to not see a person’s skin, but to see the person. I have been married to the same man for 27 years and while family members that frowned on my choice of a marriage partner saw their marriages end, mine has not.
    When I became pregnant with my second son I was offered a management position but turned it down because I did not want strangers raising my children. Being a stay at home mother was the best thing I ever chose to do. All four of my children are healthy, well rounded, and we remain very close. I decided to go back to school when my two youngest were seniors in high school and I am three classes away from my Bachelors degree in Criminal Justice. My goal is to work with children and teens caught up in the criminal justice system and hopefully help them make better choices before it is too late.

  • I can relate to this story because I know that there are career options available that have a much bigger paycheck than teaching. However, as a special education teacher, I know that I do make a difference everyday in the lives of my students. I know that without people in the teaching field who genuinely care about their students, the specialized population I work with would have difficulties learning necessary skills needed for them to lead a successful life. The degree of success may be different for these students but they can be successful.

  • Leaving a higher paying job can be very hard and stressful on a family. Sometimes though having that higher paying job doesn’t mean happiness. At the time, I was working for a janitorial company making a decent amount of money for a young full-time college student. I worked third shift Sunday through Thursday and attended classes every morning Monday through Friday. It was taking a toll on my schoolwork, family and myself. I continued this pattern for almost a year, before I took a good look in the mirror one day. I was constantly falling asleep in class and forgetting assignments. My teachers became worried about me, because I am normally an “A” student. At home I was useless, because all I wanted to do was sleep. My step-daughter wasn’t getting my full attention and I am sure she felt as if I didn’t have time for her. My realationship with my fiance was falling apart and all we did was argue. You know what we argued about? MONEY! Finally, I had gained a ton of weight and became increasingly sick all the time. So, after talking with my family and a school counselor, I realized that it was time to make a career change. Shortly afterwards, I was called for a retail job that paid much less then what I was currently making. I was wary at first, but plunged right in and now everything is starting to improve. My relationships are healthier, I graduated with honors, and I am happier. Moral of the story is that more money doesn’t necessarily mean more happiness.

  • I can certainly relate to this woman’s story. It is difficult being a parent, even more difficult being a single one. We have to make sacrifices at times that no one else can understand. As for this woman, it took an extreme amount of courage to leave a higher paying job to work for peanuts almost. I have been there and am still there, but it will be worth it in the end. I know it will be. I currently work in the education field as a substitute teacher, student activities clerk, recruitment specialist, and anything else that comes along. I plan to one day have my degree so that I can continue to encourage my students to continue with their dreams. I work at a charter school where about 98% of the students are at-risk and predominately Hispanic. I can understand their challenges and setbacks, but I always tell them that they can do anything they put their minds to and the most important thing to remember is to never, ever give up. As long as I can remember, I had promised my own girls that when they started college that I would go back to school as well. I kept that promise to them. As a single parent all of their lives, it was more than one can handle in a lifetime. Although it is difficult raising children on a single parent income, it has been rewarding. When I was able to see both my daughters cross that stage at graduation, I was not only proud of them, but also proud of myself. I told myself, “We did it.” “We made it!” “I did this!” This is the one thing no one can take away from us, this moment, and their education. There are times when you think you cannot go on living paycheck to paycheck, not knowing if you will be able to continue giving them all that they need, all that they deserve. But, somehow, you manage. As if the financial struggles were not enough, I became extremely ill. I was hospitalized for a year because of a tumor that was growing on my liver and pancreas and then for an additional 2 years battling stage 4 lymphoma (back to back). A few months after going into remission, my brother was diagnosed with brain cancer and died a year later, my dad suffered 2 strokes and my mom suffered a stroke all within this same time. But, even through that, my girls and I pulled through. I am proud to say that we never gave up! This made us stronger. My girls graduated from high school, started college, and I started college even through all the drama in our lives. I have kept up with school and I will finish my degree. These are the stories I share with everyone who will listen. I share it with my students. This is to show them that everyone has their own struggles, but these struggles should never be what define us. We are greater and stronger because of our struggles.

  • 3 years ago I found myself in a similar situation. I was making GREAT money but was absolutely miserable. I woke up one June morning sick to my stomach, I could keep anything down and my ankles were swollen. At the doctor’s office later that afternoon, she asked if I’d like the good news or bad news first. Of course, tell me the bad news immediately. She proceeds to tell me that my symptoms may last for 9 months but the good news was that I was only pregnant. I was in complete shock. Excited but schocked. How could I raise a child when I traveled 3 weeks a month, work 50+ hours a week, and barely found time to sleep. But how could I walk away from a career that I had been so successful in. It paid well. What could I ever do to maintain and now, with a baby coming, there was no way I could afford a pay cut. I am proud to say, I am now the proud parent making 70% less then waht I did before and loving my job. In the education world I am home daily by 3pm to share that quality time with my daughter. A decision that I am grateful I made.

  • Although I have never found myself giving up a six figure income to pursue a lower paying job, but I have been working in the educational field for 10 years. I have worked in different settings as a tutor, teacher assistant, substitute teacher, and teacher. I am also Latina and I can relate to this story on a personal level. My favorite part of being in education is the feeling I get when a student or parent comes back to you and is thankful for what you have taught them. There is no greater feeling than that of helping someone. This is why I have decided to stay in the educational field. Having a Masters in Secondary Education, I loved being a teacher so much that I decided to return to school and earn my second Masters in Adult Education. I want to help Adults be more successful through continuing their education. I cannot imagine myself in any other profession. I have a BA in Communications, and worked at a Public Relations office for a year and decided it was not for me. I know that if I was put in a similar situation as the person in this interview, I would pick teaching also. There is no other profession that is more rewarding than education.

  • Thank you for your inspiring story. I can relate to your story because I am also currently working as a substitute teacher and I love being a sub. Like you I have also experienced some form of discriminaion being an African immigrant with an “accent”. I have been laughed at and asked all kinds funny questions about animals and diseases but that does not stop me from loving my job, infact I sub 5 days a week except on no-school-days! I am always delighted to stand at the door and greet students as they walk into the class, though sometimes some of them do not acknowledge your greetings because they are probabaly not in the mood, or wired up with their cell phones and earplugs and what have you,but that is it, they are kids and still learning how society works, you just do your job and have fun doing it!

  • It is refreshing to know that you too decided to choose your children’s well being over your full time profesion. I’m also a single parent of five children and I gave up working so that I could for see that my children would have a chance in today’s society as they are African American children. It is not easy raising children without a job and no hubsand. It leaves your family to have to do without many things except for love. My oldest daughter lives on her own and my 18 year old twins are off to college this August. I’m in school and will be graduting next year with my bachlor’s degree. My son who is 11 and my daughter who will be 10 this year will be the last two left at home and now I feel as though I can branch off a little more from home to provide us with a little more income. I hope too guide other young adults to achieve their goals no matter what it may be.

  • A wise man will consider that you never fail in life until you give up. Those who believe in God will agree that you should not be selfish. After reading this article, I believe that this woman acquires these qualities. I admire her because she gave up a six-figure job to dedicate more time to her children. In the eyes others they will consider her actions absurd, but to individuals who cherish family, she is considered to brave.

    I enjoy reading this article because I too have children, was a substitute teacher, and love working with children. I also work in a school setting and agree that it is rewarding to help children achieve their academic goals. I appreciate reading the sacrifice she made for her children and it made me feel better about the choice I made. It is hard making a huge pay cut knowing you have to provide for your children. However, molding your children to be successful with excellent characteristics are worth six figures. Additionally, I have learned through personal experience and working in schools that children need their parents growing up. Quality time is important for children to have because it helps develop their character.

    I like when she stated, “For me, teaching taught me how to be more patient with my children, how to discipline them more effectively and foremost, how to help them grasp learning concepts”. I agree that teaching gives you these qualities and you can reciprocate this to your children. Therefore, this article inspires me to continue to educate children and be a part of my children life because quality time, patience, and love is worth money.

  • This article resonated with me because of its honesty. Perhaps my biggest take away lesson would be that of servitude to one’s community.The woman in this article leaves a six figure job and assumes the role of a substitute teacher in the hopes of spending more time with her family. In the process she develops a passion for teaching children making a difference in the classroom. Although she is not being as monetarily compensated as her previous job, the smiles and knowledge the children in her classroom are retaining are compensation enough. I am appreciative of this article because it reiterates that contrary to common belief money does not equal happiness. We live in a society where we are constantly bombarded with untruths about wealth and this article shows the empowerment of one woman who chose to go against the status quo. Going into my last year of college i can only hope that i can be as brave and determined to find a career that feeds the soul rather than my bank account.

  • I never left a big salaried position because I was never fortunate enough to have one. But, of all the jobs I have had, teaching was the greatest one. Growing up as a poor, black child in a farming family living in South Georgia, in the 1950s made life hard. I promised God that if He helped me, I would not live all of my life as my parents did.

    He helped me to attend college, earn a degree and get a teaching job in a poor county. I loved my work and all of the children I taught became my children. Not only was I a teacher, I became surrogate mother to a lot of my students. I became tutor, bus driver, and whatever else I needed to be to show my students that they could succeed and that they did not have to live the life that their parents lived. I knew because I was a living witness to that point.
    I experienced a lot of illness during my teaching years. I underwent major surgery several times, but God strengthen me and I was able to return to a position that I loved. Recently, I have undergone three eye surgeries and presently suffer some vision loss, but I know with God’s help, I can do anything. I have had to sit out of school off and on because of financial reasons, but I am back in again.
    Being a recipient of this scholarship can help me to continue to reach for the goal that I have struggled so hard to get. I had to give up my teaching position because of vision problems, but I do believe that I will once again return to what I love doing.

  • I personally think a lot of people in today’s society would pick money over family. I however was never offered a 6 figure job, but I did put all of my school and dreams on hold when I found out I was going to be a mom. I never thought at the age of 24 at the time I’d be living at home, not finished with school, and working in a dead end job. But I knew as a mom I had to make some choices that would affect my son and I chose to stay in Michigan at my moms house, put school on hold for a year and continue to work the job I was working. Today I am almost finished with my associates degree and working towards my bachelors so that I can fulfill the dreams I once had of teaching inner city kids down south.

  • While I love money and being able to spend it and had the opportunity to move away for a better job, I stayed in my hometown to help my friend and her three kids with bills so they can have a roof over their heads. Sometimes I do question myself though if I made the right decision, but when I look at how happy the children are, I know I am in the right spot no matter how hard it may be at times to help someone with their own children. I would never question my decision at all, once she is done with school and can support them on their own

  • As a former Chicago Public School (CPS) student and as a future teacher for CPS there are allot of changes that needs to be made. Students spend most of there time in school with their teachers and they look to them as role models. There is allot of violence going on and many students do not have all of the necessary materials needed for school. I can relate to the students because I went through allot of changes growing up as a child. My mother and aunt worked for CPS and treated students as if they were their own children. I grew up watching the bonds the students were making with them and it is a rewarding experience. I want to teach because I enjoy helping children and I know that I will make a difference in their lives. From what I experienced growing up, there will be children who are less fortunate and teachers sometimes have to spend their own money on their students. I like helping others because I know I will blessed in return. Teachers sacrifice allot of things to help their students and the substitute teacher is a great example.

  • I am currently a substitute teacher for the School District of Philadelphia. I left a full-time job with benefits for this position which is per-diem with no benefits. I thought that I wanted to be a teacher and I thought why not substitute first to see if I really like being in the classroom. That was almost 2 years ago and I really love substituting!

    As mentioned in the story, substituting is very flexible and unpredictable. I am currently a graduate student and this position allows me the flexibility to work when I want to and take off when I need to. If I have a lot of school work during the week then I can plan accordingly and work only a couple of days or even do half a days.
    I have learned so much as a substitute about public education, urban schooling, teaching, classroom management, and even student learning. I can relate to feeling frustrated about the politics associated with working. At the end of the day you have to really have a passion for helping students if your going to teach, because there will be obstacles.

    The most rewarding experiences for me are when I can get through the day’s agenda. I know that it is only because the students respect me and work with me. They are cooperative because they know I respect them and sincerely want to help them, .


  • I have been in a similar situation, though I have never been a teacher. The job I left to spend more time with my children was in management. I was paid very well, enough to save a little money for a change. The job, however, was just too stressful so after being employed there for 5 years I made a decision. Even if it meant taking a large paycut and changing the way we lived in small ways, I was leaving that position. My body was plagued with aches and hurts, my head always seeming to be splitting open. I knew it was time to go. I left there and after a few months of searching, found a position that allows me to make my own schedule as a representative for a marketing company. They provide a list of projects to be completed and I choose which ones I want to do and when. This is an amazing opportunity, although I make considerably less money now. The purpose isn’t money, though. The purpose is getting to see the smile on my three small children’s faces when they get a “stay-at-home” day with Momma, or when I pick them up early from daycare. The other benefit to this change? I can attend college to get the degree I have always wanted! Thank you for sharing your wonderful story.

  • I know what it is like to have those of your own culture look down on you because you don’t match the stereotype of what a Latina/o should look like. I am a chicana and just by looking at me I look white. I don’t speak spanish fluently but I don understand it and can read it a little as well. My mother is white and my father is Mexican and he left so it was all on my own to learn about my culture.
    I had a good paying job but not as good as yours but still very good pay and I helped pay for some of my families struggles. And going to school and working took me to a breaking point to give everything up. I quite school and two ther jobs to focus on the good paying job. Being there hurt so much because i had to quit what i loved to do. So i took on school again and graduated back in May. After graduating I quit the good paying job of making 11.25 an hour to nothing. Now that things have settled down; quitting that job has now come to hurt me for funding school for my bachelors degree.

  • I have learned first hand that money is not the most important goal in life, for myself at least. I had a good paying job that required about 8 hours a week in overtime, so I was bring home some very nice pay checks, the problem was that at the time I had a 1 year old daughter whom I did not get to see to much. One night when I got home from work, my daughter shunned away from me and wanted to be around her grandmother instead of me, that is when I realized there was a major problem.

    While I was so concerned about making money for my daughter so she would never have to go without I was missing out on the most important thing in my life, building a lasting relationship and bond with my daughter. Since then I found another position with reasonable hours and my daughter is now 5 and tells me I’m her best friend. Based on my own experience with my child I learned that no amount of money is worth giving up what precious little time you have with your family, which is why I enrolled myself back into school so I can make more money but still do it while reasonable hours in a position that I will enjoy so I can home happy and at a decent hour.

  • I worked in sales in a wonderful company with amazing health benefits. When I got pregnant with my son, we figured I would return to work after maternity leave. After all, I was on my way to making six figures. Unexpectantly, my son was medi-vacked to a children’s hospital after only spending about an hour with us. During the next week, we spent every waking minute at the hospital. We also decided that I would be home to raise my children even if it meant struggling for a couple of years. We now have 3 children (12,3 and 1 1/2) that I am able to be home with.

    I decided that I was going to earn my degree while home. I just got my associates in November and am now back for my bachelors degree. Money is very tight but we make it work. I know that we will make it through. My family is very close.

    I plan on going back to work in the medical field once my little ones are in school. It is tough juggling school and a family but it is all part of God’s plan.

  • I think that this is a wonderful article! She turned down a job where she was making a lot of money for what she viewed as important; her children. I think this article is even more amazing because she is now working with people that need help. Yes, she goes through obstacles and sometimes is frustrated. However, her job is worth it in the end because she is actually helping people out. We need our American work force to not just be workers, but to be passionate workers. She seems to genuinely care about the children that she teaches and I believe that this is what the country needs in order to take the next step forward.

  • I didn’t have an awesome job making awesome money or anything like that, I however worked at Wal-Mart where I had the opportunity for advancement. I started out as an Associate working in the wireless center where I sold cell phones and set up new contracts, I also did upgrades on existing plans. I got promoted right at my 90 day mark to CSM ( Customer Service Manager). I also attended a community college full-time. The entire 6 months of employment and school I maintained a GPA of 3.9. I am unsure how I managed that and got promoted, because I was also married with two young children. I missed my family a great deal and felt that I had to choose either my job or my education. I chose (with my husband’s support) to make a financially unwise decision and I quit my job. I felt that my education and my children were more important than my job. I suffer from it a great deal financially, but my husband and I are still together, my two boys are happy, and now I have a third child. A baby girl. I’m not done with school, but my family is happy and together.

  • For me family means everything and it was nice being able to
    read about someone who put their family before money. Growing up my mom worked
    hard so my brothers and I could have things she did not when she was growing
    up. What she is now realizing is that we valued the time we got with her more
    than physical possessions. I am glad she has finally come to realize that but I
    wish she had realized it sooner.

    What makes this article even better is that she is not just
    doing right by her kids but others as well. She truly helps those she comes in
    contact with. It is not always easy and there are obstacles that she faces but
    she seems much happier working for less money. She knows what is really
    important in life. A person like her is a rare find. Those in her life should
    feel lucky.

  • Thanks for sharing your story. I also left a well paying job to spend more time with my children and care for my elderly inlaws. Substitute teaching allows the flexibility to work and spend time with family. The school year also coincides with my children’s schedule and it works out well for our family. I think that you handled the diversity and the mistreatment very diplomatically.

  • Reading your story inspires me more to keep pursuing my goals, even though I may not get all the money, the career choice is healthier for my children, as a struggling single mom it is very helpful to know I am not alone. Thank you for your story and encouragment to enjoy the little gestures and moments they do mean more then anyhting fancy and expensive.

  • I think as a mother, wife and substitute teacher you have had to make many sacrifices and it truly demonstrates your passion and love in all fields of your life. And although I do not know you personally, but I know that having you shared your story has helped others and because of this I would like to thank you for that. I am bless by educators around me who care and want to see me succeed.

    I attend UC Berkeley now, but before that I was an Asian American female from Los Angeles with no drive or plan. My college counselor and teachers pushed me, in order for myself to have the confidence to do the things that I have and to make it where I am today. As educators they have assisted me through guidance and gave me the tools to have a bright future. At times they are my parents and older siblings who are mentoring me and teaching me life lesson they have experienced.

    Your work as an educator is so often overlooked, I know first-hand the tedious work as an educator. I worked two years as a tutor in an elementary working with kids ages 4-10 in high school. And kids are tough! But exactly like what you say, when you shed some light and take the moment to talk to them and share knowledge and experience and you see that they have understand what you were trying to deliver to does make the world of a difference.

    I would like to wish you luck and continue sharing your passion with your students and maybe one day you will become a immigration rights lawyer.

  • I love the fact that this individual followed her passion instead of just a paycheck. Too many people today chase after a paycheck and stick with their current occupation because of job security and let their dream wither. Having a job security is great; however I would rather live my life pursuing my passion and leaving a dent in the world.

  • I love her sense of pride in her culture, even when others put her down. I also love that even though the road was rocky, you kept going. Leaving a big paycheck for a smaller one isn’t easy, but you seem happy with the rewards of substitute teaching and I am very happy for you. Not many people would have the guts to make that choice. This article makes it apparent that it is definitely worth it to pursue the career you want, not the paycheck.

  • I believe that family is always first. Even though I understand it would be a tough decision to make when you are in spot to make a decision that could both affect you and the family. However, I believe it is the best idea to make a decsion where you choose your family first. Because if it wasnt for your family, you wouldnt be where you are now. It would have been extremely difficult it you didnt have the support from your family. So, I think she made a very good decision.

  • It is not often that individuals would leave a job making such a large amount of money to spend more time with their family. I like the ethics that this lady has shown. She chose her family, culture and values over money. She is a great example of what it means to have strong values and moral beliefs and stick to them. Many individuals have strong beliefs and values but when they are put in a situation as to decide between making a vast amount of money which could result in spending less time with family, they will chose to make the money and sacrifice the value of family.

  • My mother actually quit her job to spend more time with her four kids herself! She then got a job where she only worked two weeks of the month and had the other two off. The hours were great! Something thats not touched in the interview is how good this is for the kids. I loved having my mom home when I needed her. I loved being able to have a home cooked meal and someone there when I went to sleep. I’m glad that a pay check doesn’t keep woman from their children. It’s also great that she found something she loved doing part time. More power to you.

  • A few years ago I was working in a career where I was making very good money for the time I was putting in. The problem was the environment was continually hostile, I tried for several years to persevere but found that this environment was greatly influencing not only my work life but also my personal life. I found myself taking my frustration out on my husband and child, causing my home life to be unhappy. One day I decided to make a change and choose to take a position that allowed me to have a more positive outlook and gave me the opportunity to be with my son and husband more frequently. Although readjusting our finances was quit an undertaking, it was worth every sacrifice.

  • I myself come for a distinct minority group. I am Nigerian and often times, in both professional and academic settings, I find it hard to assimilate. With African Americans, I’m not “black enough” and with Caucasians, “I’m black!”. I completely understand how the lines of identity can get sharply drawn even with people that you feel you should be able to relate to.

    Your story also resonates with me in another sense. I worked at a company for 7 years. I started working there when I was 15 and worked there until I was 22. I was presented with the opportunity of promotion. This opportunity also came with a salary and coming fresh out of undergrad, situations like these rarely presented themselves. I had to make the tough decision to not only turn down the promotion, but to quit the job so I could focus on the rigor and competitiveness that came with law school.

    My situation, although slightly different from this one, also put me in a compromising position. I had to let go of opportunities that were secure and put my faith in the future and my heart. So far, it has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

  • Readers please excuse the following lengthy, in-depth reflection. I can relate to this inspirational, motivating story and must respond to it here with my own story for a scholarship I am applying to.

    I absolutely appreciate this article and can fully relate. I grew up in an under privileged neighborhood as an at-risk youth. Contrarily I was in an accelerated track since elementary school but was somehow dropped from this track when entering middle school in 7th grade( I believe it was because of my last name). I was then set on a track of under-achieving and buying into the stereotypes. I figured that if I could not get into college through a football scholarship, then I had no other route and that I didn’t belong, so why try? this lead to hood life and the assumption that I could only obtain “nice things” in life through “hustling” and step on the next person , as we tend to do in these neighborhoods, because we feel as though we are fighting viciously over the same scarce resources(if any) to secure a better life for our families.
    This mentality carries in to adult hood. As I thought I was maturing, my outlook on the world was that it was “grown up” or “what responsible, ambitious, motivated adults do” to strive for monetary gain through whatever job one might have. I found that even the kids who made it to college from my neighborhoods felt the same. these kids would choose majors in college, not for self-fullfilling or true passionate reasons, but for what major would lead them into a career field quickest while making the most amount of money possible. Within a year of barely graduating from high school with a 1.3 gpa, I entered the military. Mind you that this was just after 9/11 had occured and, like most of America, I fell for the trap set. I felt a sense of duty to “defend” this nation, and combat the “evil” in the Middle East(needless to say I have a totally different outlook now after much awakening to our gov’t politics and foreign policies, etc). I also joined to escape my poor socioeconimic status. I enjoyed moving up the ranks over the next six years, earning the rank of Staff Sergeant, while having a family and through MANY sacrifices. The money was very good and my family was taken care of. Despite this fact, I wanted to return home and help my community by showing them they could do the same; make money through sacrifice. After a short year-long stint at a local police department, I had another epiphany: sacrificing so much just to make earn a comfortable living while watching most of my community still struggle while being too busy to reach out, being too busy to help educate/raise my son with a humanitarian, social justice awareness(leaving it up to a faulty public school), and having to spend more time at work than with the family was not worth the “good” money.
    Since then, my wife and I have both managed to stick to a rigorous and tedious plan of sacrifices in order to budget our living expenses through scholarships, grants, and my academic GI Bill benefits. We have excelled in college with the goal of becoming a public school teacher, and an academic/personal counselor. My wife has graduated from UC Berkeley as a Social Welfare major and Education Minor. She is currently in a Master’s program for Elementary Education at Stanford University. Next FAll she plans to teach at a public school in South Hayward, CA where we are from. I graduated from community college as the Chancellor’s Trophy Award winner with a 4.0 transferable GPA, and with extensive community volunteering to include my passion; mentoring at-risk youth at Richmond high school. I chose to attend UC Berkeley where I am currently majoring in Sociology and Interdisciplinary Studies with a Minor in Education. My goal is to become a guidance/academic counselor for at-risk youth in an under-resourced, minority community.
    I must say that the monetary sacrifice in order to pursue what we are really passionate about while being able to spend much more time as a family, raising our son with greater involvement with his education and leisure time, and being hand-on in community up-lift efforts is more than worth earning a lavish pay check.

  • My mom was also a single mother of 3 who would not take a job that did not allow her to attend our activities or take off when we were sick. My mom would always say ” I can get another job, but I cannot get another child like you all”. We always want a job that will earn money, however when you make a difference in a person life it is more rewarding than the money.

  • I think it is great that she found a flexible job that she loves doing and that still gives her enough time to be with her family. I see so many people that over-work themselves now so that they can enjoy themselves later in life. Personally I would rather enjoy what I do and have time to play right now, even if that means giving up a huge salary or a powerful position. My favorite quote is, “don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”

  • This story is indeed inspirational. I can relate to this story even though I am young. I did not have to give up a job for kids, but rather had to give up my teenage years to become an adult and work for my mother. She was recently unemployed for almost two years and had been a single mother of two children for almost nineteen years. What kept me going to work was the motivation that my mother gave me in wanting what was best for her, I am grateful to be coming to college and earning a degree to help her and my future family.

  • This is a special story because although it is inspirational it is also attainable for many different people. I am a future teacher currently in my second year at a university and this article brought a couple of things to my attention. This Associate teacher, because she came from a latino background was able to sympathize and understand students of different backgrounds within her classrooms. This quality is something that I strive to obtain despite my white middle class upbringing. I can not wait to be able to experience what she does in my own classroom

  • This story really touched home literally. I was forced to stop my education to take on motherly duties to one infant and one toddler in 2002. I never thought at 22 I would be taking care of two children I didn’t biologically have but I wouldnt change it for the world.
    In 2010, I was forced to with another decision to take care of my mother who was ill or keep my well-paying job of eight years. Of course this was a no situation to decide one over the other. I was going to take care of my mother and that’s exactly what I did. I will say it has been quite a humbling experience for me. In life you do not realize that things are so precious until they are taken from you. I had no way of paying for my expenses or any income to truly take care of my children or myself. I packed up our apartment and stored all of our things in storage. I took the bare neccessities with us and moved in with my mother. It was the only option in order to survive.
    As my mother was in recovery and better off then previous of the months before, I decided I was going to get back into the workforce. I looked for job after job and couldnt find anything that would remotely get me back to my previous 70,000 a year job. It was fustrating but I decided that I wasnt going to be defeated. I took the first job available after no success in the work force. It pays me significantly less (24,000) but I am happy that I am on my way to getting back to my independence.
    It has been a rough year and a half, but I wouldnt change it for the world. I would drop everything for my children or my mother. They are all I have in this life. I wouldn’t change any decisions I have made because I feel it made me a stronger person. It has changed my life and opened my eyes to the importance of life and all that its brings to me. I hope that this story encourages others or inspires others who may be in the same situation.

  • I found this article inspiring and most of all encouraging. I plan to teach elementary school some day and to get some pros and cons about the area of teaching helps a lot. I commend this woman for giving up a huge sum of money every year to make a difference for children. I’m sure she does a good service to those she comes in contact every day.

  • This story really resonates with any woman. We are constantly placed in situations where we must decide between our own self-fulfillment or the good of our family. If one doesn’t choose to be a full time mom figure, then one is left with the guilt of being a sub-par mother. But if one chooses to be a full time mom, one’s own independent desires are put on the back burner, sometimes causing resent. Society has evolved in a way that now women are struggling to manage both, overworking themselves beyond belief. This situation causes stress and tension within the self but unfortunately almost every woman will have to deal with this experience.

  • As humans, we are constantly forced to make decisions. I think that it is through making the hardest decisions that we learn the biggest lessons. Anyone can make a decision. To make a courageous decision, though, is harder. Society has evolved to think that money is what is most important. However, if we truly step back and take a look, then is money truly everything? Anyone can make money or a family. It takes true effort to keep them. When we make decisions that sit well with us, then I believe that we can be happy. I commend you for your perseverance and dedication. You are a hero.

  • This career story is very inspiring. I found myself in a similar situation when I had my son. I had to decide whether to reduce my work hours by finding another job, or keep my job and compromise speeding time with my husband and son. It is nearly impossible to live in Hawaii and rely on one income to survive. My husband took a graveyard shift at his job so that he could stay home with our son during the day to save money and I worked as a supervisor at a bank during the day and attended school online. When my husband received a great job opportunity that he could not pass down, I decided to become a stay-at-home mom to care for our son. His new job conflicted with my current job. During my stint as a homemake, I searched for jobs that would accomodate my schedule. I resumed work as a collections representative at a cable company. Although I am not earning as much, I am thankful that I get to spend more time with my family and have more time for school. This has been a very difficult time for my family, but once I graduate, I know that this decision will be worth it. This story also displayed overcoming diversity and conflict ans putting family first.

  • I can also relate to this career story, it is very inspiring. As a young African-American male i face many stereo types that aren’t true. As a human, it is first nature to look and judge someone off what is given. It is simply because you are trying to learn as much about that person as possible in that first instance. But this story touched me because one day i also want to teach and coach, and when this day comes, i want to be judge off my character, creativity, intelligence, confidence, and charisma, not from my style of clothes i choose to wear or the color of my skin. This career story makes me think of the cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover, but rather its content.’

  • This is a very inspiring story. Many people often times relate their careers to the amount of money that they are making. In actuality, there is no point in making so much money if you cannot enjoy it. Though it does require some money to do certain things in life, there are many other things that could make one happy. For me personally, that was also family. Although I was not making 6 figures, I was pretty close. At the end of the year after I reviewed my tax returns, it did not seem as if I had made the money that I was making. Why? Because I was still stressed. I was not able to enjoy the things and people that I enjoyed most, which was family. I think if everyone invested in careers in which still allowed them to be happy in their personal lives, it would allow them to perform at their jobs at a higher level.

  • This story has hit a spot right in my heart. Seeing how this one substitue teacher would rather do her job and not worry about the money she receives. I know many people now day are worried about the extra money but it’s always a blessing to have people that aren’t so worried about it and just enjoy doing what they love to do.

  • This story reminds me a lot of my idol, my mother. She finished her carer as an agriculture engineer and after she graduated she got her own green house. But after she had me and my brother she decided that the time she spends with us is much more valuable that the money she made. Once my brother started school she decided to start teaching so she could be there for us. I admired that she found a passion out of it, it might have started as something simply convenient and end up being a life changing experience Even now with the youngest almost in college and the rest of us already in our career she won’t stop teaching, because she found her purpose in life, helping young people become who they want and dream to be. I can only hope to one day follow into her steps and become the great and inspiring person I can be

  • I can relate to your story when it comes to people discriminating against me. I worked as a Personnel Clerk, which required me to answer the phones and complete Personnel work for Warner’s Apparel Company. We dealt with several temp agencies and there was one Representative that would call all the time and said the next time I come into the office I have to meet you. Well you can not tell what my ethnicity is by my name or my voice. So, when this representative came into the office – I greeted her and she said hello and proceeded to my bosses office and asked if she could meet me, so my boss called me into her office and if you could have seen the look on this person faced. I knew she was surprised and shocked that I was an African American. So, it is sad that we are still experiencing discrimination based upon the color of our skin.

  • My culture is very important to me as well. I am looked at by people and assumed I am “white” when I am Hispanic. I don’t often experience resentment from Hispanics for not looking like them, but I do get told by some people “You are not Hispanic.” and continue to say I am white. I learned that even though people will not always believe me based on my appearance, I can still continue to embrace my culture in my everyday life. My culture is not part of who I am, but rather is who I am. I promise myself to never forget that.

  • I’m currently in this predicament and have been struggling over a decision for the last couple weeks. I’m a single mother of two girls, 7 & 3, and make pretty good money as it pays for all our basics. I’m able to care for my girls without help from state assistance or family or child support and that’s all that matters to me. I’m currently stuck with possibly having to leave my job in order to be more available to my children. I was recently out of work on disability and had a taste of being there to pick up my girls and drop them off to school. I had dinner ready by 5:30pm every night, we got to read books, shower on time, and I was able to provide additional learning material to assist in their development. I went back to work on 10/15/12 and I’m depressed and sad all the time. I hate the fact that I wake up at 5:30am to drop my girls off at 7:15-7:25 every morning. I don’t pick them up until 5:45pm. We are constantly rushing in the evening to complete homework, cook and eat dinner, clean up, and get ready for bed. I feel like we aren’t getting quality time because we are always rushing to complete the next activity. I’m stressed because I have to work 45+ hours per week due to being salary and with recent changes, I sometime has to bring them into the office with me on Saturdays. They are stuck watching me work on a day that should be devoted to them. I’m also stressed because it’s snow season and I have to be constantly worried about who will pick them up if the school has a delayed opening or closes early. I should the woman that’s there for them. They shouldn’t have such long days. I’m the only family they have as mine moved out of the state and their father’s family isn’t involved. It’s very tough trying to be a working mother and provide a stable home for my children.

  • A few months ago I left an internship with a very prominent journalism company in Washington, DC in order to tend to the needs of my family. Health and financial issues were becoming major stressors back home and I wanted to be there for my family in every way. I left the internship, moved back home, and started freelance writing to help bring in money. I helped my mom complete her own college education and I am proud to say that she graduated over the summer. Meanwhile, I have found a great love in writing and because it can be done remotely, it allows me the flexibility to contribute at home.

  • I commend this individual because I started my teaching career this way. I left corporate America to substitute in the school district. I substituted at the secondary level, which included middle and high school. This was a challenge for me but I enjoyed every moment of it. Ibecame known among the full time teachers that started requesting me to take their classes and from this I became a full time substitute Texas History teacher. This gave me the opportunity to complete my MBA and from there I entered the teachers certification program. Substituting open so many doors for me and after finishing the teachers certification program I became a full time Texas History teacher for the state of Texas. When I was a substitute teacher I also taught Intergrated Physical and Chemistry (IPC) to ninth grade students as a full time substitute. Becoming a full time teacher and teaching students is very rewarding. I find this work fulfilling and watching the students face when they know they understand is a joy. My class room was know as our house and we leave all other things outside. You have to have good classroom management skills and you must stick to your rules you and the students have set. Prusuing my Doctorate of Business Administration so that I can teach on the college level is my goal so these students will have a professor that understands how they have been taught and what they have not been taught. I also hope to share my knowledge with the staff of my future University.

  • I am currently a freshman at the University of Arizona studying to become a school counselor. My mom quit her job and took a 50% pay cut about three years ago to follow her dream of becoming a teacher. Like the woman interviewed, she wanted a more flexible job that would allow her to spend more time with my other three siblings and I. Although we had to learn to adjust to the new lifestyle, we are so grateful that she made the choice to spend more time with us and also follow her dream of making an impact in the lives of her students. In a way, I am following in her footsteps and following my dream of making a difference in students’ lives as well. I want to be the adult in a student’s life that inspires them to do whatever they set their mind to.

  • As I read this article, I realized
    the interviewee and I shared several characteristics. We are both
    Hispanic, we both get looked down upon for not “looking” our race,
    and so on. The most intriguing similarity that popped out at me though was
    how she sacrificed for her children. I am not a parent, but I am the big
    brother at my house. I have three younger siblings and they all rely on me to
    show them the rights and wrongs of life. What they are not aware of is that I
    am also trying my best to support them financially. My father is the main
    source of income at our household, but one sole income can be difficult for a
    family of six. My mother is a stay-at-home mom, due to my younger siblings.
    Since my mother cannot work, I step up to the plate. I enjoy helping my family
    with bills, it rewards me with a great sense of pride. Aiding my family feels
    nice, but working often presents me with stiff challenges. I am currently a
    full-time student, so balancing school and a full-time job can be very
    stressful. Last Winter I was working at a warehouse where I would clock in at
    5:00 p.m. and leave anywhere between 1:00 a.m. to 3:00 a.m. The toughest aspect
    of my balancing act though was waking up at 7:00 a.m. to get ready to take my brothers
    and myself to school. Working anywhere between 40 to 60 hours a week and sleeping about four hours every night was a very
    daunting task, but I kept going. Although I was constantly exhausted and weak,
    the thought of my brothers having a better life kept my drive strong. There were
    times when I wanted to put a stop to everything and collapse, but my love for
    my family kept me going which is something I believe we can all relate to.

  • I appreciated the candidness off the interviewee. There have been times when doing research on teaching that I have only been able to find the rewarding aspects of the career and when the negatives are mentioned they are very vague which is not helpful. The interviewee is honest and very insightful. I look forward to being a full time teacher and although I am also afraid I know that I will be helping children learn and that brings a great sense of fulfillment for me.

  • I am just getting started with my life, but I have already encountered many annoying discriminatory situations. I wish these situations did not exist in this beautiful world, but they do. I personally have never been negatively discriminated against, but unfortunately many of my friends have, and even worse, they do it towards each other. In high school, I was never part of just one click. I saw no reason for that. Instead, I hung-out with whomever I thought was interesting- which meant gays, lesbians, Latinos, blacks, geeks, and straights. I found them all to be interesting and lovable, but they did not see each other that way. The best part however, was when I could bring two of my friends from different groups together, and watch as they found some common ground and made a connection. I understand the feeling our brave substitute teacher describes when she gains a connection with her Latino students by speaking their language. The feeling is “priceless!”

    This substitute teacher left so much for the sake of her children. To go from a six figure job to being a substitute teacher was not be an easy decision to make. I think, even though she left so much behind, she gained so much more by being able to spend more time with her three teenagers and eleven year old. What good is all that money she would be making at her old job if she and her children were not happy at home? She faced many obstacles dealing with her ethnicity, but she did not give up. Instead, she learned to work with and around the politics that face Latinos and help those who needed it. I will keep this in mind when I have my own family to look after. May my hard work benefit and bring me joy as much as it did her, and one day, maybe all of my lovable friends will find each other interesting so we can all achieve great things together.

  • This mother is a great example of what I hope to achieve in my job field. I never want to be tied to a job just because of the financial benefits. I really want to strive to be involved in a job that makes me happy, is rewarding, and helps other. It seems that many of my peers (I am a junior at a University) want to find the job that will give them the most monetary support but don’t think about their own physical and mental health that may become strained from this sort of high stress/ high demand job. I also really love the teachers viewpoint on acceptance and though she doesn’t outright state it she seems to really exude the idea of a love and patience towards all. There is always room for more acceptance, patience, and love and she seems to try her best to teach this to her students even if for a short time.

    I hope to one day have a job that is as rewarding to me as substitute teaching is to her. I commend her for leaving such a high paying job to pursue a career that makes her happier.

  • Years ago I worked on Wall Street advertising bonds. I was making lots of money. I has happy in my job but not in my marriage. I left my job and joined the Army, this is something I always wanted to to. I stayed in for 8 /12 years and now I am out doing something that I love. I am an at home parent, but not really at home. I am a student at Florida Gulf Coast University in Florida but I am at home more now for my children. I can now help them with their homework and attend their school plays or musicals.

  • I think its great what this teacher is doing. Seeing the struggles and scrutiny she has faced, and still can continue to face is unbelievable. She faces criticism from her own ethnicity because she doesn’t look like she’s a part of it. I can relate to this because it happens to me all the time. Im an hispanic male, but I face scruitny from the hispanic community. To them, I dont “look” or “act” like I’m hispanic. This teacher wants to help the kids, and Its important we have someone like that because they are the future, and we need to see more people like this around the youth’s lives.

  • Being an undergraduate student, I have yet to experience a
    high-paying job and I do not have any children but I have had the opportunity
    to teach incoming freshman at my high school. I was a choreography student and
    for two years I was not only their teacher but also a mentor to them. It was so
    fulfilling to have some one come to me and say, “thank you, I finally get it” or
    “I will miss you.” I have also tutored people while a freshman at my university
    and to see that my help was helping them improve really showed me that I was
    making the right choice like the substitute teacher. I’m currently seeking a degree
    in Chemistry Education.

  • im a mother of a wonderful son and just recently I left a 15 year career in law enforcement so that I could get away from 12 hour shifts and be at home at night with my son. im in school now to finish my degree and follow the career of my dreams. I want to show my son that hard work and dedication to your dreams is whats gonna make them come true.

  • I am currently getting my degree to become an art teacher. I have always thought about possibly becoming a substitute teacher, and if no full time jobs are available when I graduate I will probably go this route. My main reason for wanting a teaching job is to have more time with my family as well. I just had a son and I have two step children, so having summers and weekends off sounds the most ideal to have quality time with them. I do realize that teaching is not 6 figure job and that most days will be hard. But I can’t wait for the days that students will “get it”, like you say, and thank me for being the great teacher I know I will be!

  • I have a similar situation. I had a great career traveling the world, making fantastic money, but I left because I wanted to have children and could no longer travel. I have since become a single mom and gone back to school. For the past year I have been going to school full time during the day, and waiting tables at night. I no longer have time with my kids. I am lucky enough to have help from my parents who I am currently living with. They have agreed to help us so that I can quit working and finish my degree this year. I will be able to have dinner with my kids and put them to bed every night. I am also considering teaching, so that I am able to have as much time with my kids as possible. I live in Florida which has some of the lowest paid teachers in the country. It is disheartening that we as a society don’t value teachers more. They are the ones helping to raise and educate our children and our future generations.

  • Wow I really enjoyed you story. I my self have changed my career. However, I have finish my degree because without it I cannot teach. I would like to work and be available not only for my daughter, but life as well. I can deal with a busy schedule and would love to teach elementary students. I would love to be the influence that would lead them to a better future. Also, I was born in Cuba, but was brought to the US when I was 11 months old. But I do speak, read, and write my native language. So I think I would be able to help all those children that need that extra touch.

  • This story touched me very much, as I struggle with the same issue every day. I am a mother of 3 children, I’ve been working all my life, and always feeling guilty that I wasn’t giving my children enough attention and time. When my 3rd child was born I decided to quit my job to be with the family and really start devoting more time to my children. However I also decided to go to school and take classes online, so I could have a flexible schedule and learn at the same time.

    This has been pretty hard because being a full time student and having 3 children is pretty time consuming. So now I have to balance my own homework, my kids homework, their after school activities, and my youngest is two years old, so he is a handful as well! But I am very happy that I made the change from work to school. Now I am the one who send my children to school and greets them when they come home, it’s been very tough I am happy to be there for them.

  • Amazing story. It is for sure an incentive for me not to give up on my dreams. I also want to teach, howerver, I want to teach Community College students, but I know I have a long way to go. I am still working on my BA and I need a MAsters to be able to teach college level. My other challenge is that I want to start a family, but I want to make sure I can provide for my family. There are many decisions I need to make and I hope my efforts will pay off someday.

  • I love how you face a predicament in
    your personal life and rose above it. It is only another story to take into
    consideration about not giving up on life. I am of Hispanic origin as well and
    have faced discrimination at my previous job at Hollister Co. Coming from a
    Hispanic majority run city, due to my skin complexion and origins from Spain
    and El Salvador; i get looks from Latino/as when they see me. It is
    discriminating, but i love the reactions on their faces when i speak to them in
    Spanish. They get a surprised look and put a smile on their face knowing that i
    am not “whitewashed”. Knowing that there are not a lot of Spanish speaking
    employees at Hollister, I decided to stay with that company due in part to the
    friends I made and the people I get to assist when they cannot speak English.
    It is practice for me and I love to help someone from the same ethnicity.

    I have personally not had an experience
    like you in my life, but my father has. He used to work for airplanes as a
    mechanic. He was making good money, but he had to give it up because his work
    would reside two hours away from home. In doing so, he was able to find a job
    near home and actually got paid more. Things happen for a reason and they have
    a meaning in the end – an incentive to those who do well. He told me before he
    passed to Keep Moving Forward. I have taken that into deep consideration as i
    have been falling back to those words since i was six years old. It has gotten
    me to where i am at today as a student receiving his education at a higher
    education facility. I love what i am doing, know where i am going with my life
    and it is thanks to him.

    I am grateful for what i have and exhilarated to
    know that you are on top of things and used to be a single parent. My mother is
    currently a single widow due to her husband passing. But that only made us
    stronger as a family. It made me independent and responsible for my own
    actions. I chose to be responsible to allow my mother to not have to worry
    about me as much. And i have succeeded with that. Thank you for sharing
    your struggle and how you navigated through it.

  • Just a few years ago, I did kind of the same thing. I wish I could say I left a 6 figure job, but it was more like 5 (LOL), but still at least 11K less. And for a single mom, that is ALOT!! I was driving 45 min to and from work to an office job, to sit in my little cubicle. I had moved up on the ladder as far as I could (and still remain sane and happy). While I was very good at my job and had 11 years under my belt…I just felt stuck there. It was not the career I wanted for myself (the pay was what kept me there). I decided that that could not be my reason for staying. So, know I work in child care at a school that is only 5 min from my home. I love the school, the kids and even the management. Wasn’t sure I’d ever say that! They have helped me learn so much about their business and running a business that I am now currently doing research to start my own business that relates around kids. I guess I have to thank that old job for teaching me so much about career, business and all the computer skills I got. With that and now the child care I can definitely see myself running a great business and being even more happy with my life.

  • This kind of reminds me of what happened to my mom her final years at Starbucks. She was the brand manager there but she didn’t seem to get any respect. She is very educated and worked her way up through the company. When she got let go we didn’t know why and they didn’t really give her an explanation. She felt it could have been racial and sexism but she didn’t complain and after a year of not working she found a better job that she really enjoys.

  • I am an older single parent with a teenage son currently in high school. I do have a older daughter that I did not have the privilege of raising. Both partners I had children with had some form of a personality disorder. When I had my first child I was too inexperienced to understand what was going on. Orchestrated by my partner’s adopted family our child was put up for adoption. Devastated by this I threw myself into my studies/work, comparative religion and intuitive development.

    Much later in my life after acquiring a degree of success in my chosen careers (cross cultural studies and the building trades) I had another child. As insightful as I thought I was I did not realize the depth of dysfunction present in my partner. After years of dealing with what my therapist called “crazy making” I filed for custody and got it. My son is doing very well and I am regaining my equilbrium.

    Through the course of caring for my son, I went back to school with the intent of teaching and working in the field I now work in Media Arts. One of my dysfunctional patterns that has been present throughout my life is a form of dyslexia, my son also shares this trait. Returning to school and learning to work within the box in order to succeed in the academic world was/is a great challenge to me, but I have been able to do well with it. As I have learned to own/understand my dysfunction I have also found it to be one of my greatest strengths, a strange and wonderful gift of sorts. Funny how life works!

  • My whole life I have been blessed to have great teachers from kinder garden up to high school. Reading this story reminds me of all of the great teachers that I’ve had. They were caring, passionate, and could tolerate almost anything just like this substitute.

    Teaching has to be one of the most difficult jobs out there. Personally, I could never do it myself. This is why I am so grateful for all the teachers I have had up through high school. They made class fun, interesting, and made it a learning environment. If it wasn’t for the teachers I have had my whole life, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

    Thank you for your hard work, time, and effort. Teachers like you are why students enjoy school everyday. Maybe some students won’t realize while they are in your class, but they will come to realize it when they aren’t anymore.

    In addition, this story also reminds me of my mom who is currently working and raising four children. One is in college (myself), one is graduated out of high school and is working, one is just entering high school, and one is in middle school. My mom is the biggest blessing in my life and one day, I hope to be able to pay her back HALF of what I owe her. If all things go to plan, I will complete my doctorate degree and become successful. In doing so, my mom and the rest of my family will have the opportunity to attend college as well.

  • After reading this article, it brought joy to my life. I have been trying to explain this to friends and famiy, do a Job you love. With so many opportunities in the world its important to do what works for you. Even if its leaving a six figure job to be closer with your children, what the subsitute teacher did takes courage. Teaching and becoming a role model is a very important figure that is hard to come by. Her courage lets me know its ok to chase my dreams and do whats best for me. This story has inspired me as well, being a young latina women trying to move up in a large company can be discriminating. But as long as I know others are willing to better their lives as well It keeps me moving. I’m very proud of my culture and very open minded to other cultures as well. I hope the teacher keeps education as a priority and inspires her own children as well.

  • I can understand your decision to leave a job with that kind of salary because you had to take care of your children. I was at a time in my life where I had to quit my job too because I had too many issues finding someone to take care of my small children when my husband and I was at work. I had one child in school but the other one was not old enough and I could not afford daycare. I did not have much support from my family with the second child like I did with the first. As a result I was out of work for 18months and we had to relocate to find a cheaper cost of living on one income alone. During the time that I was out of work I took a class for substitute teacher at the local community college in my area. I felt like that would probably be an ideal job for me because it was during school hours along with my children and the hours would be flexible so I would only work when my husband was off. I have a lot of respect for teachers it is a challenging job becoming a substitute is a good way to see if it is something you would want to do long term.

  • I have such great respect for substitute teachers. As a teaching major in my final year of undergraduate study, I am excited and terrified to have my own classroom. I can only imagine all the various difficulties substitutes endure. Walking into a classroom of students, who you do not know, to teach a curriculum that you were only just introduced to takes a mountain of courage and skill in my opinion.

    I have yet to act as a substitute teacher myself but I have been a babysitter and tutor. I just returned from a six-month study abroad experience in France and, while there, I was lucky enough to get a job babysitting and tutoring four children in English two days a week. They were ages four to ten and their levels of English ranged from none at all to beginner. It was a complicated scenario, to say the least, to try to teach my first language to four children whose first language is my second language. The language barrier was immense and made getting to know my kids rather difficult.

    One of the children was particularly difficult because he did not want to learn English and he was not shy about letting me know. Each day with him was a struggle to keep him involved and from physically fighting with his sister. On my very last day as their sitter and tutor I was finally able to get through to him. I taught him several phrases in that one day that he immediately ran to show off to his mother once she arrived to pick up the children. It warmed my heart to see how proud he was of himself for succeeding and to see how happy it made his mother.

    Babysitting was honestly one of the best experiences I had while in France. I learned so much from my students and their families. They helped me improve my French and introduced me to the French family lifestyle. I will be forever grateful for their lessons.

    The successes of all four children help to remind me of one of the many reasons I want to go into a field where the salary does not exactly reflect the value of the work. Helping children grow and learn is beyond rewarding to me. Your choice to do the very best to help your own children grow and learn by helping others to do the same is admirable and I hope to bring that sort of thinking into my own classroom.

  • This story is a stunning example of the phrase: Money can’t buy happiness.

    Now a days, I feel like there is such a strong emphasis on “making the big bucks” that we forget that there is more to life then having a high paying career. Although having such definitely has it’s advantages and is a good goal in life, there is little satisfaction when you are not enjoying what you do. We let the big clouds that rains dollar bills fog up what we should really be looking at, and that is our own happiness.

    I personally relate to this story because my parents are all about encouraging me towards the six-figure life style. Coming from a family of chinese immigrants who came to America with little to no money, they picture a life for me so different from what they started with. I cannot blame them because they only have my own well being in mind. I took advanced level courses in high school under their encouragement, and found myself drowning in school work to the point where I found myself in the Emergency Room having a panic attack that had hit me while I was doing homework. However I continued doing as my parents said and went to college studying Pre-Medicine and again, barely able to swim in the ocean of homework from intense courses required for Medical School. I found myself completely miserable and crying almost every night because I hated myself.

    I hated myself because I believed I wasn’t good enough for my parents. My grades weren’t good enough for them and my extracurricular activties weren’t good enough. I even felt the University I was attending wasn’t good enough for my parents. Crushed under the stress of school in order to achieve a six figure career in the future, I was nothing but unhappy.

    This story is much of a wake up call. What is the purpose of devoting your life to a high paying career when you dislike it so much and know your happiness lies in elsewhere? Money does not buy happiness. However, doing what you enjoy and being rewarded does buy happiness. Lately I’ve been realizing that in the future, my parents will not be looking at my paychecks, they will be looking at whether I am happy or not and ultimately that is what matters most.

  • I have worked in the Education field for about 5 years. I was recently at a Child Development Center and I worked with children from 0-10 years old. So I can relate to those moments when students understand and thank you for teaching them new things. Now I am full-time student pursuing my dream of becoming a Mathematics Teacher. I am also married and when my husband and I decide to have children I would like to be with them majority of the time and having the option of becoming a substitute teacher will help me bring in some income and spend time with my future children. However, I haven’t had to deal with discrimination while I was in Hawaii because being Hawaiian helped me. Now that we recently moved to Florida and I hope I don’t come across discrimination. You are an inspiration!

  • This story really touched me. I felt as though her culture means a lot to her. It showed the importance of not giving up on her dreams. Many people in todays society are worried about the extra money. On the contrary, it’s a blessing to have people that aren’t so worried about it and just enjoy doing what they love to do.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. A few months ago I started thinking about leaving the corporate world and taking a position within the school district so that I can also spend more time with my children while giving back to my community. My husband is in the military and it is quite difficult to manage a household and children (who are all under the age of 10) while working fulltime.
    Your story was very insightful for me because it gave me hope. Working in the corporate world is very stressful and time consuming fo rme. I work long hours and sometimes on the weekends which is not healthy for my family. The work/life balance is no longer there and that is what I need to change. Your story has given me renewed hope and strength to make my career change.
    I love working with kids and I often volunteer on a weekly basis to help the schools in anyway I can because I believe it is important for parents to be able to spend time with their children and be actively involved in their education. I believe substitute teaching is a wonderful way to give back to the community. It is also a great opporotunity because it provides you with the chance to spend more time with your kids.

  • I have been a substitute teacher for over 12 years, and I love it. I don’t sub as much as I used to because I now teach English composition at the community college, where I also am the English tutor. In 2000, I moved out to NV to start over and luckily I had a mom who came and brought me out. I have been fortunate enough to have had the freedom to quite jobs I didn’t like. The reason I like subbing is because I am not a full time teacher, I do not have to deal with all the politics and bureaucracy that goes along with being a union-salaried teacher. On the up side I choose when I want to work which was especially great before my daughter entered school. Also because I’m not permanent, I am free to tell the students the truth about life as I see it. When I was writing my young adult novel, subbing at the high school was my research environment! I truly listen to them and try to perhaps give them some validation about themselves they don’t receive anywhere else. One of my greatest moments that came from subbing is when I bumped into a student who had graduated 3 or 4 years ago. He was working at customer service at a store. We met each other’s eyes and I smiled. I said, “Do you remember me?” And he asked, “Do you remember me?” And I said, “Of course. You were in Mrs.sss’s class and yeah.” We chatted a bit and suddenly he said, “You know, you made a difference in my life.” I said, “How? I’m just the substitute?” And he said, “You got us.” That made my month.

  • This is nearly my situation. I too left a six figure position, which I maintained for 30 years to go back to
    school and become a teacher in the field I always loved. Making money, while necessary, is empty and
    simply takes valuable time from the art of living and fulfilling one’s ananke.

    The benefit of existing is we, as a species, gain so much; it’s called experience. Often that proficiency
    is compensated with income and that is not necessarily a negative event. However, what we do with that understanding is what is fulfilling on the human level. We can take the income and aid others or pass the knowledge and benefit the masses. Either way, this is what determines who we are and how we are remembered.

    Commissioned paintings and monuments (even by masters) often lose their meaning over time; but when we educate others; then we have an eternal tribute. A statute, planted with the seeds of knowledge, watered by the enthusiasm of education and fertilized with the power of experience. This gives our ecosystem all that is needed for eternal existence (at least for the next 4.5 billion years).

  • This is a touching story and inspirational. I am married with 3 school age children. I recently retired from the Army and had a dramatic decline in income. I wanted to spend more time with my family and devote time to religion. After 20 years I decided to go back to school and obtain my degree. I have really been out of touch in educational practices and studies and going back to school was eye opening. My reward has been learning that I like to learn. I have a better balance of my pursuit of higher learning and my family envolvement. By going back to school has evoked a calming effect on my personality. And this has allowend me to be at peace with myself and with my family.

  • This post inspired me. I hope to never let money stand in the way of a relationship with my family. When I was young, my mom worked all of the time. I rarely saw her as she was gone from 8 in the morning until 10 at night. She didn’t have to work so much. She hired employees to take her position, but always found herself back at the office.Growing up with no relationship with my mother took a hard toll on me and my younger sisters. I hope to have a wonderful job one day, however, I will not let my work interfere with my family relationships.

  • I’m not in the same predicament, but I can say that making sure that you have enough time with your children is very important because it can effect the children in away. I just started my junior year in college and I know how it feels when your parent doesn’t have enough time for you because they are to busy focusing on their job. My father is a hard working man, but sometimes we wish that he would have a little more time for us.

  • I applaud her decision to choose her children over a high stakes position. A lot of people are all out for just the money but the fulfillment and things that really matter are what’s really important. Cuddo’s to you.

  • I admire her view in regards to her experience as a career professional woman and a mother. Her response in regards to her rewarding moment is what I can relate too on a daily basis. As an LVN I feel gratified to help and serve others, being thanked from my patients is a satisfying and unexplainable feeling. Her patience, dedication, and efforts to her work as a teacher shows how monetary value is not important. The value of changing or helping another person’s life serves more of a purpose than any other job.

  • I had been working since I was 17, along with attending school, and soon to be raising a child by myself. This was in 1999. Since then I have become a mother again to a now 14 month old baby girl. I was working at a local bank, and had been for the past 7 years – and planned on returning after my maternity leave had expired. As that date grew closer and closer – I found that I had no desire to return to the land of the working, so that I could leave my child in someone else’s care.

    At this point I decided that I would return to school. I am pursuing a degree in Psychology, and so far have done all of my classes online. I have been on the deans list since I began. I am potentially looking to become a mediator, so that I can have the flexibility to be there for my family – while also being there for other people’s families.

    Although I was not making 6 figures, it was a difficult decision to leave the comfort of what I had built in that last 7 years. To now be dependent on my fiancé’s income, my part time income, and my student loans/scholarships/grants to survive has made me really see what the real necessities are in my life. In order to be here for my children, I have had to make sacrifices, and I do so happily knowing that the investment I’m able to make in their life will pay off – and in the meantime I am bettering myself by going to school and setting an example for them. I hope to be able to achieve my dreams of being a devoted mother AND working. There is a very delicate balance that a regular 40 hour workweek does not lend itself to.

  • I am astounded by the way she expresses herself through this
    interview. I can absolutely understand that she has learned so much working in
    this field, but most importantly, I can see that she has become passionate
    about her teaching. The fact that she has embedded both, how to effectively discipline
    her children and engage them in her learning concepts, is something great to
    point out to the audience because it gives them an insight on how becoming an
    educator can positively influence one’s lifestyle. Furthermore, I applaud her
    for declining a six- digit salary job; reason is, she seems to actually be
    happy doing her job, which in rare cases, she won’t perceive it as work, but as
    a passion. Unfortunately, most educators lack of passion for their job; this, sadly,
    affects the vibe that is being portrayed while teaching their students.

  • I was a social worker for 7 years with the state and completely understand leaving a job for family. I left to be able to spend more time with my children but also to go back to college full time to obtain my 2nd Bachelors degree. I am currently attending college to obtain a degree in Early Childhood Education with a specialty in Special Education. I currently have a AS in Behavioral Science and a BS in Psychology. I loved being a social worker but we have not received pay raises in over five years. I felt that I needed a change since I was stressed all the time. I made decent money with the state and had great benefits but the stress level with the job was bad.
    I knew that when I left my state job that I wanted to continue with the state in some way and be able to continue to work with children, just not in the same way. I love working with children and feel that they all, especially the “special ones,” deserve an education. I have two loving children and a wonderful husband who support me in this dream so I am fortunate in that, but I understand that there are people who do not always have the support they need. I want to be a teacher who not only is there for my students but who is there for their families as well. Not all parents are aware of what is available in educational situations for their children who are considered special needs. I like to be an advocate for those children and families.
    I worked for 7 years in a job that I both loved and hated on alternating days depending on what was going on in my life. I wish that I could say that things always turned out well for everyone, but that’s just not the case. I loved it when I was able to help parents and children be reunited but that is not always possible and it hurt me to have to go in another directions for those families. The only consolation I have is that the Lord looks out for those families and that the legal system made sure that in the end the kids had the “Forever Families,” they needed and deserved.
    I worked 40 to 60 hour work weeks and only got paid for 40 and my children let me know that they felt that I spent more time with “other people’s children,” than I did them. That took it’s toll on my stress level and I knew that it was time to make a change in my professional and private life. I understood that I was spending more emotion and time with children that were not my own and was losing some of myself with each case. I decided that I needed to make the career move back to my original plan and finish my degree to become a teacher.
    I decided that a life where I was stressed and depressed due to my job, even if it was a job I loved was not the life for me. I went to work as a social worker for the same reason most people do I wanted to help people. I know that I did help some but felt that I did not help as many as I could have if circumstances and finances would have allowed it. I feel that as a teacher I have the chance to help many more children than I could have as a social worker.
    I am in school full time now and working part time and I enjoy being able to be with my own two children more often. I still have contact with my old coworkers and some of my clients and some of the youth and I enjoy knowing that I was able to help those people. They are more like extended family and friends than ex-coworkers, clients and youth.
    I hope that when I finally get my degree I can put it to good use. I know I will never save the world or even every child, but I like to think that I can help them have a better life with a good education.

  • I have been in a similar situation. I worked for a CPA firm where I was doing about 50 hours a week. The money was great but I was missing out on many of my children’s activities and missed being a mom in general. I gave up the salary, started working from home for less, but was completely happy.

    The lessons I learned from this experience is that all money isn’t good money and what you said above that there is politics in EVERY job you will work. Politics was a very hard thing for me to deal with. I also realized real quick that racism is still very alive. I am of mixed race African-american and Caucasian and many people mistake me from being from an island of some sort or Hispanic. Some feel that this gives them the freedom to speak about other ethnicity in my presence. Including in my work place. This made me want to be a part of our diversity group and our party planning group to help create a more diverse work environment. But politics still played a big role in each of the departments.

    I now teach my children on how to speak their mind and to be proud of who they are and where they have come from. I also want them to be able to educate people around them in whatever career field they go in.

    I admire teachers because I know they have a huge job with little or no resources and most are raising families of their own. Keep up the good work.

    Thank you

    Christina Weaver

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to people’s perception of you. I am Mexican, but since I am light skinned many Hispanics look down on me. They assume I am not a “true” Hispanic and do not know anything about the culture. However, I attended school in Mexico for a couple of years and have been exposed to the culture abundantly. Despite the discrimination, being of Hispanic heritage has helped me language wise; I am fluent in Spanish and have been able to translate and communicate between English and Spanish. I know it will help me in the future as well since I am a future educator and many parents will have Spanish as their first language.

    I do not have any children myself, but I have been exposed to teaching in a classroom. I agree that at times it can get out of control and can be discouraging, but at the end of the day knowing you have helped a student understand a concept is truly gratifying. Seeing how thankful students are for a teacher’s knowledge, attentiveness, and care is motivating.

    I appreciate your contribution to society and agree with the decision you have made to spend more time with your family.


    Jocelyne Aranda

  • Saying yes to a marriage is saying yes to the relationship every day. It is hard to leave a happy and fun and rewarding workplace. Having 5 smart kids makes up for the decision to leave work. There are times that I would be sad because we do not have the excess money to send them to camps but then every time they need my personal attention when they are sick or need to go to the school meetings, I would be praising God that I am not working. However, I realized I need the intellectual stimulation and also I want to be improving so when they become independent and away from home I can be working again so I am currently enrolled as a MBA student.

  • In the past I came across situations
    where I had to choose between fulfilling my goals in a way that would solely benefit
    me or in a way that would bring aid to others as well. And throughout all my
    decisions, I chose to take the path that would benefit others just as the woman
    in the article did. Due to my parent’s work schedule they failed to have any
    time to care for their two younger children and that meant that a babysitter
    was needed. And though they could have acquired a sitter from various agencies,
    the cost to fund the sitters was too high and due to our ethnic background as
    well as my sister’s rare disability, finding someone that could meet all those
    needs were difficult. This is where my skills of caring and practically raising
    my siblings came into play. My parents wanted me to help take care of them
    before I went to school and after I returned home. This required me to form my
    class schedule around my sibling’s needs and that forced me to place a hold on moving
    out, registering for certain classes, working certain days and times,
    spending time with friends, and partaking in entertaining activities. At first
    I was disappointed that I was the one to sacrifice my goals, but then after
    some time I realized that their helplessness required my assistance and as their
    older sister it was my job and honor to care for them as if they were my own.
    From this experience I gained patience, admiration for the youth, hope, and the
    ability to appreciate time. In addition, I learned how to make important decisions
    as well as how to be more altruistic.

  • I was a single mother of two children and at a dead-end job with no place for advancement. I was so frustrated that my dreams had been crushed because of my stupidity. But I put my chin up and on foot in front of the other and carried on. I met a wonderful man that has given me the ability to do what I wanted to do when my kids were little but I couldn’t or wasn’t ready to do it. My kids are now teenagers and they see that I do have struggles in college. But they see that I am striving to make it to the end. I am determined to walk out of this experience with the experience to be the best at my job. This teacher gave up her career to be with her kids. I am going to work as long as I can as long as I possibly can and help the lives of little children.

  • I also work with students with emotional and learning disabilities. Although I didn’t leave a six figure income to do so, I changed my entire career path once I had the experience of working with kids. I worked with high school age students who most have been “labeled” emotionally disturbed for 10 years. 90% of these students were considered at-risk and had very strenuous home lives. Although there were many challenging days, the bond I was able to form with so many of them along with the positive impact I made in their lives made it all worth it. Working with these specific students confirmed for me that this is the career path I wanted to take. I currently continue to work in education serving an at-risk youth population, however, I have chosen Social Work, specifically Probation, to pursue a career in. I am excited about the opportunity to make a difference in young lives in a preventative manner. Although the educational or social work field is not financially lucrative, it has so many other rewards.

  • I work as a para for children with special needs at a K-3 school. I am also a single mother of two. My youngest child has been diagnosed with Autism. I am African-American and the only African-American that works within my school. I am the first in my family to graduate from college and want to pursue a career in special education. I too have turned down great paying jobs, because I want to be there for my children. Currently, I make enough money to support them, but it really want to continue my education. However, I have no means to do so.

  • I have worked in banks for a while. I wanted to make it higher up the ladder, but was scared. Then me and my husband had babies. He is in the military so we move every four years. With my oldest in first grade and my youngest staying at home, I decided to pursue online school in the healthcare field. I desperately want to make something of myself, be proud. I am so nervous because it has been so long since I have worked that I hope to get hired. I love staying home with my kids, but bills need to be paid. I guess such is life. Plus the fact that I have to relocate all the time doesn’t show well on my resume, but I always prove to them somehow that I am, and can be an excellent addition to their team.

  • As a private piano teacher, I sympathize with this substitute teacher. Our lives on this earth are predicated on experiences that help us grow. Therefore our life altering decisions should not be made based completely on capital loss or gain. I respect this teacher as well for recognizing that her children’s education is more important than her salary, and her being there for them while they are young is crucial for their positive development.

    When I was eight, my dad passed away and left me something that changed my life: a spinet piano and hundreds of music books. Some of my best days were spent arranging and reading his books. Since then, I have wanted to be a musician.

    It all started when I was in elementary school. Having spent my after school hours vigorously learning to play the piano, I would most often spend the “required practice time” practicing recital repertoire. When I finished, though, the world of sound was now at my fingertips! I would spend hours upon hours putting sounds together (inventing intervals and chords that I wouldn’t find out
    existed until many years later) to create new sounds, ultimately filling my ears with a profusion of beautiful vibrations. This love of assimilating sounds was fostered even further when I came to high school and joined my high
    school’s choir and percussion ensemble. During my time in the program, I learned a great deal about the interworking of harmony and the omnipresent overtone series. This convinced me to apply to California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) in the Fall of 2008. This program allowed me to study many different subjects, including advanced theory, musicianship, counterpoint, and the aesthetics of music.

    If it weren’t for the teachers early on in my life, my musical career would have never taken me to this place a vivid imagination and ultimate respect for mankind. Teachers shape the youth and are some of the most important figures we can have in our lives. I encourage everyone to make an effort to teach whenever the possibility arrises, if not for themselves, then for the betterment of the society as a whole.

  • I agree with the statement that there are politics EVERYWHERE even if you try not to get involved. I’m only a college sophomore and have worked in an office setting for the past 2 summers. The environment was fun but can be a bit hostile when it came to talking about politics. Because I was the youngest worker there I kept my mouth shut. I have found myself to be a moderate and honestly can side with liberal and conservative views. However, because I was younger and I did say something, my opinion didn’t really matter no matter if it related or not. I am happy I left that environment and now my opinion is respected by my peers at my new job and haven’t felt that hostile feeling here yet.

  • I am currently a college student and after reading this, I have actually learned a lot from it. I can relate to some things just as discrimination because I am asian but that does not bother me. I also agree with how it is important to identify yourself. I think that is really important because you are who you are and nothing can change that. If you keep rejecting yourself for who you are, you will just keep hating yourself and lose the importance of being you. This has really help me reflect upon myself. After reading her answer to the question, I went back and try to think of my answer which made me think if I am doing what I really want to do and if I am satisfy with who I am.

  • I’m heading into college however of course tuition and living takes a lot of money during attendance. My dad could easily have an early retirement, but like this woman here he sacrificed his retirement for his family show me and my sisters could go to college. What a hero.

  • I relate to this story because I personally am about to leave my six figure job to return back to school and study conflict resolution. When I first announced this to my family they were supportive but apprehensive about my decision. They all wanted to know if I have really thought this through. I am an immigrant in US and I have gone through my share of being an international students, paying high amount of fees and racking up my student loans. But at the same time, I was lucky enough to climb the corporate ladder and got myself to a place where I managed to be debt free and living a comfortable life. So when I decided to give this all up to go back to school and specially in a field which is not considered lucrative was very surprising to my family. But I come from a background where I have seen conflict day in and day out. I have been involved with organizations that work in conflict regions and I have come across people who have inspired me to make a difference. Hence, I will be embarking on this new chapter of my life this fall. Thank you for this article.

  • I worked at a doctor’s office for more than 4 years, earned minimum wage. I worked as a Receptionist but also helped doctor’s as well as nurses in the office. I not only handled phone calls, file charts, or helped patients but also did nurse’s job of taking vitals, doing EKG, PFTs, typing reports, etc. With the amount of work I did and experience combined, I know I should have gotten more than what I earned. I got offers from few other doctor’s with better salary and benefits, but I wouldn’t learn like I did making least money. Although, I wasn’t getting enough money, I was learning a lot. I can relate to this article because I stayed at the job where I was paid less. On the bright side, it was the best learning experience. I learned to raise my voice, learned how to use different equipment used in the medical office, got CPR certified, improved my communication skills and much more.

  • I admire your choice in careers and agree that teachers are underpaid. Teacher’s deserve so much more respect from students and parents than what I have witnessed myself attending public school all my life. I believe the government should raise the average wage for teachers because educating our society is of the up most importance.

    Thus, I admire the fact that you left a six-digit salary to be able to stay at home with your children. Now a days, that may not be the easiest thing to do, especially when you are a single parent.

    I can relate to the part of the interview where you talk about being Latina. Both of my parents are Hispanic, and I speak fluent Spanish. However, many/all assume I am “white” and have been teased by other Latinos for it.

  • As of right now, this situation speaks directly to me. I have had the privilege to become part of an international dance troupe (Culture Shock, Oakland) and because of my families financial crisis and the debt that I owe to the school, I had to turn away from this amazing opportunity. I am a double major in African American studies and theater and dance performance studies, therefore dancing is my life and a place in which my professionalism flourishes. However, i can’t even dance because these times are hard hitting. My home is in Stockton California and ever since my car was totaled in an accident, I have not been able to commute back and forth to see my family. In just 3 weeks I will practically be homeless because I will have to travel from Stockton to Berkeley every single day using my mom’s car. This is not a predicament that anyone should have to go through, but we are still striving to make things work by making plenty of sacrifices, starting with limiting my opportunities in life with my dance company. Anyone who knows what it means to sacrifice something very personal to them understands the pain, anger, stress, sadness, and heartache, not to mention confusion that goes along with all of the other emotions that caused the sacrifice to happen in the first place. Money seems to never be there in terms of the things that are necessary and essential to life, so I absolutely have no choice but to drop everything and help support myself and my family. I do not want to have to drop out of UC Berkeley. This place is amazing and the opportunities to help my community as well are far too much to lose. I just really want to be able to afford a place to live here in the Berkeley area so that this commute won’t be such a burden on my family and I. If this scholarship can help with aiding in some sort of financial aid assistance I would be saved!

  • I too left a secure position that paid well to be available to my children. I had four children of my own, but my sister passed away at a very young age, 24, leaving three little girls. Of course, being their only aunt, I moved them in to form one large Brady bunch family. I didn’t stay in the same profession though, I actually worked and went to Beauty School and obtain my Manicuring license, and opened up my first Nail Salon. Running my own place gave me the flexibility to schedule my own hours so I could schedule in the children and their activities. A few years later, I went back to school and obtained my Esthetician license and opened a full service spa.
    I realized that my passion was servicing people. I loved to listen and talk, as well as problem solve, while insuring that for at least a few hours they could feel wonderfully relaxed, releasing the cares of everyday life and hear God.
    After 30 years of this wonderful profession, (never had a client leave upset), I found that I was free to pursue my dream of finishing college and becoming a MF, so once again I’m venturing on a new career, that will still entail listening and talking, but more important, helping others to accomplish their goals and dreams.
    I’m so happy that I made that move for my family many years ago, for it started me on a fearless journey of listening to my heart and realizing it’s never to late to make a change.

  • I;m also very Hispanic but since I appear white and have a white name thay alll assume i’m just this little white girl from Cali. I;m not i’m a hispanic girl from the ghettos of Riverside, CA

  • I can relate to being discriminated by my own race. I’m black and in middle school, I went to a school that mostly had black people, yet they bullied me because I was darker than most of them and acted as if my skin color was some kind of disease or something. I don’t remember going a day in 7th grade without being called “blackie” or being told things like “you’re never going to get married” or “you deserve to die” and it was all because I had darker skin than my peers.

  • This is very moving piece on this person’s career move. I too am a parent, but I just returned to school fulltime to pursue a career in Agriculture Technology. As a Hispanic I can relate. After various jobs working in different occupations not related to ag, I avoided a career in agriculture because of the stereotypes that were given to Hispanics. “hard labor little pay” It wasn’t until I worked one summer in a small ag company that I fell in love with the technology and the life cycle of plants and how they are important to us humans and animals. If I could also go back, I would have wanted to pursue this career and also advocate for Hispanics in my community.

  • I am really touched by this article. I am currently in college and afterwards I plan on marrying my high school sweetheart. He is currently in the military and I also plan on commissioning (in a different branch) after I graduate. Reading this article has helped me better to understand the importance of family. Sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to be happy and I feel as though after I graduate on of us will have to compromise or make a sacrifice iff we plan on starting our lives together.

  • I too understand the importance of family, though I can’t say that I gave up a great job to spend more time with them. I find myself struggling constantly to stay afloat financially, sacrificing precious time with loved ones to do what must be done. Regardless of which side of the coin we may find ourselves on, I have the utmost respect and admire you for your choice pertaining to you professional life.

  • Although, I cannot say I’m a teacher, I still
    can relate to this story, because my mom is a middle school band teacher. I can
    very easily see exactly what it is like for teachers in their jobs. I have
    three siblings, and my mom worked as a teacher before she had us. Then she was
    a stay at home mom and then went back to teaching once we were a little older. Several
    things the woman spoke about in the blog post reminded me of things my mom has
    told me. For instance, that politics are a part of every job. Many times, my
    mom has experienced headaches caused by situations with people she works with. Administrators
    would say things had to be a certain way, and she’d have to comply. She says the
    part that completely makes up for that, though, is seeing the happiness kids
    experience through music. Ever since she and a few others have started working
    at the middle school, the numbers of kids in music has expanded immensely. Now,
    the majority of the students in the school are in at least one music group. She
    loves being able to teach kids and help them experience music and watch them
    grow. She wouldn’t trade memories with them for anything. Plus, since she works
    as a teacher, she has still gotten to spend time with us, and she loves that
    part, too.

  • I left a work at home position a year ago in which I was making a large amount of money because I knew I wasn’t being the mother that I could and I wasn’t able to have that family/work balance. I decided to stay home solely for a few months but now decided to go back to work but this time outside of the home. I am now working outside of the home making close to what I was making when I was working from home. However, I now have the perfect balance between work and family. I love it and wouldn’t change it for the world. I get to go to work in addition to having the adult interaction and then I get to come home and be the best mommy I can be!

  • Although I am not the one who is leaving a job for the sake of family, this story does remind me of my father who is leaving the Army for the sake of my family.

    My father has been in the service for the past 24 years and plans to retire and become an ROTC instructor at a nearby school so that he may spend more time with me and my family. While my family has been without a father, we all began to fall apart. My father and mother began to have marital issues and my father’s relationship with me, my brother and sister began to deteriorate as well.

    So, in order to make things better for the family, my father is retiring from the Army this year.

  • This woman understands that success is what you deem it to
    be. To her it’s the enrichment of her life through teaching and the ability to
    spend all the time she needs to take care of her family. Her statement about
    being able to learn something from every opportunity reminds me of one of my
    first days at my current job. I work in a warehouse for a local retailer and
    mostly focus on inventory count and restocking the sales floor. However, when I
    had first moved into the position they were still trying to decide what role to
    put me into. They decided to give me the responsibility of receiving a large
    shipment in addition to completing several other tasks I had little to no training

    For me, it definitely was a high stress situation having to learn
    everything on my own without any assistance from experienced workers. It was a
    lot of learning by trial and error in an atmosphere where there often is little
    room for error. In the end it reminded me that you can accomplish anything that
    you set your mind to—so long as you keep a level headed perspective. Really, it’s
    an interesting thought that you can learn so much from the smallest

  • Although I am not Hispanic, I can truly understand the challenges working within the education field. As I am employed in a public elementary school, I observe and live through these different experiences. I completely agree with the fact that being an educator is a hard, but rewarding occupation. There are times when the job can be really draining, especially working with special needs. However, the reward is priceless. Watching a child succeed, and supporting them all the way is the reason why I love my job.

  • This interview made me feel better about the decision I made regarding my career choice. I no longer desire to become a PA. Instead, I am considering clinical or human services positions under a psychology major. Although PAs will make tons of good money, I couldn’t deal with the levels of stress the courses brought me. I was not comfortable with taking Bio courses so I switched. I also did not want to be behind in my courses, going into years of college where I would have to start paying for college out of pocket (money I already don’t have) so again I switched my major. I just want to be able to financially support myself, the family I plan to create, my mom, sisters, and grandmothers who inspire me to keep pushing. Changing my major and reading this interview has taught me that money isn’t everything and to follow what’s most important in my life. Although my story isn’t about giving up a job to support and be with family, I made some decisions that will help me still support my family no matter how much or how less the job is paying.

  • This “Career Story” relates to me in many ways. I currently a well paid teacher and love my job, but I am leavening the comfort of my home to start my PhD. Starting over in a new place with a new
    job (making nothing in comparison to the job I am coming from) is very scary,
    but I know the reward will be worth it. Just like the author of this career
    story, the real joy of being a teacher is seeing our students evolve and
    understand things in a new way.

    Just like this author, I am Hispanic but do not look like it. This has giving me an opened mind when dealing with ideas about ethnicity and culture. I was raised to not speak Spanish and many
    older people in my family were ashamed of our mixed heritage. This story
    reminds me how lucky we are to have so many options and to be proud of all the
    hardships our families went thru for us.

    This story also makes me think about the definition of success. Many people only think
    about success in dollars amounts. Most think I am crazy to leave a well paying
    job for the unknown. When true hardships
    are faced head on I will overcome them with strength and courage.

  • Just over the summer I was working a pretty good paying job, but I never had the time for family or friends. I was constantly working and needed flexible hours because I felt like I was working my life away at age 18. Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for the things you want or need in life. I know the feeling you get when you see that your helping others and leaving an impression on them (it’s one of the best feelings)…

  • Hello,

    This is a great article that has opened my eyes forever. I am currently a college student at UMBC and I can relate to this story very well. I am first in my family to attend college. My parents are working non-stop in order to pay for my tuition. I am not considered for FAFSA and due to that all the burden is on my parents. Paying for my tuition, paying bills for the family and taking care of the family as a whole is a big burden we face everyday. They could easily be related to this article which where they have sacrificed their time for their family for my and my young brother’s bright future.

  • I am currently an undergraduate student trying to receive my bachelors degree in elementary education. I have always thought one of the toughest jobs was to be a substitute teacher and have always admired substitute teacher’s bravery. I also love how the article mentions the rewards of being a teacher or substitute teacher and the downsides. My senior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to go through a cadet teaching program that allowed me to teach and observe at an elementary school. I taught fourth grade at the elementary school I attended and was in the same classroom with my fifth grade teacher. He was one of the best teachers I have ever had and was lucky enough to have him as my advising teacher. During this time I was able to implement lesson plans and experienced the sometimes tough job teachers feel while teaching. However, when I was teaching lesson plans or working with one student, I loved it when they had the aha moment. That is mostly why I wanted to become a teacher is because I love helping others and I love seeing the look in the students eyes when they understand what I may be teaching.

  • This story has left me more at ease regarding my mom’s decision to quit her job seventeen years ago. My mother earned a bachelor in food science and technology and used to work at a dairy plant in which she was in charge of quality control. She loved her job, but decided to quit soon after she learned she was expecting me. Her worst fear was to have a miscarriage while working due to the few risky activities her job entailed.

    During that period my dad was the solely financial support our family had. My mom went back to work again after I was born. This time on a daycare’s kitchen. She worked there for over a year, but finally decided she prefered to stay home and raise me, than remain working.

    I personally never understood her decision, and used to constantly question it, especially during the times we experienced financial difficulties. I would often think that if she were working on her chosen career like she did many years ago, we wouldn’t be struggling as we did. During our times of financial harship, my mom would have to seek work as a housekeeper, babysitter, or simply began selling secomdhand clothes to help my father keep our family afloat.

    Seeing her tired after performing such jobs would infuriate me and her decision of staying home with my brother and I; I would think her potential was being wasted.However, I now seem to understand the nature of my mom’s decision. I always saw it as a sacrifice, as some sort of burden. Now I can clearly see that she never saw it as a sacrifice. For her staying home and raising us was a more gratifying job, than the one she had at the dairy plant.

  • This story is extremely touching. I always believed words have the power to change people and this article supports justifies my claim. This is why I loved reading blogs such as this because I feel though I can relate to people ad ope my mind to what other people may be experiencing. I feel more empowered, encouraged, determined, and passionate to try harder in order to keep myself versatile and well educated in a lucrative career. I keep thinking I need to dedicate my time to studying and school, I never set up time for family or friends. I felt like self-determination and ambition was the key to success. I know in life , you will have to make sacrifices for the things you know that you primarily need however, I feel that its important to spend time with others in order to give you joy and peace, that could never be replaced by anything else. You find those family and friends will support you no mater what happiness to you. and people should express appreciate to those people.

  • I think it’s great that you left something that paid a lot to devote more time to your family. Sometimes jobs that pay less end up being more rewarding that jobs that pay more. I am currently majoring in Early Childhood Education, aiming to become a teacher at a low-risk school. I am consistently told to rethink my major and switch to something else before it’s too late. I am confident that I want to become a teacher. My heart is completely in it. Many of your answers I can completely relate to. When I teach lessons and the students “get it,” there really isn’t a better feeling than that. It is indeed, truly rewarding. I hope you continue to find satisfaction and happiness in being a substitute teacher.

  • I have never been a teacher or substitute, but I have been in classes in high school and middle school that of course either had a teacher or substitute. When we had a sub in class everyone would try their hardest to try to trick the sub into letting us have a free day, and some people would even try to make it hard on her or him by being worse then normal. As a student I never really took much notice I would usually try to make sure that they did not do anything to extreme to the poor person who was subbing for our teacher that day. Now, that I have read about this I am happy that no-one started fights in the classes and we weren’t too harsh and usually followed the subs.

    I have a even more respect for the subs and what they do!

  • I think it’s amazing how you wanted to spend more time with your children. My mom is a teacher now and she has a love/ hate relationship with her school but she loves teaching. My mom has recently stopped being as involved with the school, so that she can spend time with my sisters and I when we are home from school or so that she can come to the events that we are in at school. I go to a school about 30 mins from home so it’s easier for me just to go home to support my mom if she needs help correcting papers or if she just needs someone to talk to. We also go to my other sisters’s events together to. I really feel like her having more time for us, has brought us closer together.

    I understand that teaching is hard and stressful, that’s why I try to help my mom as much as possible when I do come home. This year I’ll probably be put to work more because I’m deciding to not live on campus but just to commute every day since I do live only 30 mins from school. I think she will appreciate the help and she won’t be so stressed out every weekend. She will actually be able to enjoy them.

  • The career story of this young lady is very inspiring and
    admirable. To give up a job that is financially rewarding in order to
    ultimately do something that she loves for less money is a sign of a strong
    character trait that many individuals lack today. Furthermore, to select a
    career as a teacher, a job very few can do, is commendable. This story is one
    of a very brave lady and human being and one in which many should learn from.

    I find this story to be very relatable in many aspects. When
    she mentions how other Latina women would look down on her for not being “her
    version of what Hispanics should look like,” I instantly understood her plight.
    I have been ridiculed all too frequently by fellow African –Americans for
    trying to assume a much different role than the one they believed I should
    have. I have been criticized for trying to further myself in education,
    intellect, and the professional setting. I also can relate to the importance of
    family as I am one who loves and appreciate mine so dearly. Most importantly, I
    understand what it means to go after what you love. Throughout my life, and
    especially as I have gotten older, people have always told me the type of major
    and career they believed I should have. Through it all, and with a strong foundation
    of a supporting family, I have the comfort of going after what I want in life.

  • I think it is amazing what a person would do for the people he/she loved. I know a lot of people would still keep their job and just see their family whenever they have free time. My mother is the type of person to quit her job to stay home with her family. It takes a lot of heart to do.

  • I am a 67 year old African American student who is attempting to complete my BA degree in 5/2016. I will be the first person to complete a degree from a university. I am very proud of myself to be able to have a GPA of 3.51. I work a 40 hour job Monday through Friday for a Head Start Program. The challenges are overwhelming but i have been able to stay in the race with the grace of God. Unfortunately my financial aid has been depleted to be able to continue my completion for my degree. I have had days where I just want to cry but i know that I must complete the race. I have some people giving advice and some saying prayers for me. I couldn’t ask for a better university to attend and encourage me that everything will be okay. I know that God has plans for according to his will. I have to stop and think and keep the faith that God has everything under control. Like everything else we as humans want things to happen according to our will. I love work working with my Head Start families. They put things in prospective mode and keep me grounded. I love to see my pass families in the community and they share with me how well their children are doing in kindergarten etc..So all of the persons reading my post keep the faith and say your prayers everyday and Gos will give us all undeniable favor. Bless all the single-mothers and fathers that are a remodel for their children.
    God Bless

  • I am currently studying to be a bi-lingual teacher. Although I know it doesn’t pay very well, I’ve wanted to be a teacher forever. I recognize the power and privilege that majority groups have and I will use mine to raise awareness with the students I teach.

  • I am currently a student in college who is single. I think that being single is a good thing for me because it can allow me to go through my college years more successfully. Under my perspective, it can be distracting for me to have a boyfriend or husband in college because it can take my time away from doing the marching band and my academics. It has been said that education is what makes everyone successful in life.

    My ethnicity is that I am half Korean half white. It kind of bothered me that people thought I was Chinese or Japanese because of my eyes. People also asked me what I really was when I told them that I was neither Chinese or Japanese. It kind of bothered me because there are other countries in Asia that have the same ethnicity as in China and Japan and that would be Korea and Vietnam. Although people make this kind of judgment to me, I am still happy to have a little bit of diversity in me. I think diversity is meaningful because it can show how different countries around the world can be from one another.

    I have had experiences of working with children. Over the summer of 2014 and 2015, I volunteered at a special ed school. My job was to push the wheelchair kids around, feed the kids breakfast and lunch, help the kids do their classwork, and help the teachers prepare for the lessons. It was a fun experience working with these children because it taught me the lesson that young kids especially with disabilities need a lot of assistance. The experience of working with children also helped me think of what I am interested in studying in college. One of my interests is special ed and another interest is early childhood education. With my knowledge of working with children, I can be able to manage it if I became a teacher.

  • Like this woman, I’m currently in a similar situation. I’ve been struggling with the
    decision to go back to school or just continue to work and make money to
    support my son. I’m a single mother of a 5 year old boy and I make decent money
    in the fact that it provides us the basic amenities. I’m taking care of my boy
    without any help from the state government assistance or child support. It’s
    definitely not easy, but it’s worth it to me to be able to show my son that
    hard work and determination really can be all you need to succeed.

    I know that going back to school will cause me to have to sacrifice a lot of time away
    from son. I work Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 5:00pm and then I will
    need to devote my evenings to studying and homework. I know it won’t be easy,
    but it is the best way for me to be able to give my son the life he deserves to
    have. With some financial assistance towards my education, it could make my
    dream of being (more) financially independent a reality. I am not looking for a
    handout by any means, but what an academic scholarship would be for me and my
    child’s lives is a hand up.

  • As a working single woman of color I am faced with hardships that only I can understand and I am always finding myself fighting to understand why I was born this way. I began life having to fight, weighing 1lb 8 oz, only to drop to 1 lb 3 oz after birth, placed in an incubater, not breathing on my own, needing leg stirrups to correct my walking until I was almost 2 years old and going back and forth into the hospital for the first four years of my life. God has spared me for some reason and I am still living day to day without complications and now at 37, I am finding myself in a career of 15 years, serving students in a low socio-economic status (SES) community that is at-risk for drop-out and I am single, no children and just went an ovarian cancer operation. I am healed and completely trusting that I have a reason for being where I am and want to acknowlege that although my life is not hard, it is not easy. I am providing myself with friends who I believe care, members of the community who trust me and family who love and mentor me daily for continued support and feedback in education. What matters to me most is to make a difference in the lives of our youth. I want to continue to provide and give them what is necessary to be productive, ethical and responsible mature young adults who will eventually become lawyers, doctors, dentists, firemen/women, physical therapists, barbers/salon techs, technology experts in their field and even teachers. To me this is my dream, I don’t want to be depressed anymore trying to discover who I am, I want to know it, live, it and breathe it daily without pressure to be something/someone I am not. I currently reside in Florida and I love it but I need more assistance so that I can be comfortable with my life to pursue my educational goals and dreams.

  • I’ve been one decisive person when it came to choosing a career. There were times when I did not have the support I needed. This went on for a while. One summer I volunteered as a teacher assistant to full fill my community service for graduation. I completely loved it. Some days were harder then others but it was worth it. That summer I made up my mind that I would major in early childhood education. Although, I was advised not to because the pay was not worth it.

    Being Hispanic, surprisingly, I’ve never really faced discrimination in till this year. In February after searching for a job for two years I was finally hired. It was intense, I was working up to 22 hours a week and I was a full time student with other responsibilities. When the summer came I took on two other jobs. One of them being housekeeping.

    When my mother and grandma first came to this country this was one of their first jobs. I will never be able to experience the life of an immigrant, but I wanted to see what it was like. I wanted to see what it was like to work in an actual demanding job. I enjoyed it, I met many people in the position my mother and grandma were in decades ago.

    For the first time I was discriminated. Because I was Hispanic guests immediately assumed I was an immigrant and did not know English. I got questionable comments like, “Wow, your English is great!” or “You don’t have an accent.” I would smile and explain that I was born in Burlington, Wisconsin. That was quickly followed with an, “I’m sorry” and awkward smile. While in the lunch room the opposite was going on. I was being picked on, on my struggle with the Spanish language. I’ve been practicing my Spanish since Sophomore year (currently in AP Spanish) and those comments would hurt the most.

    Today, I’m a senior and I know exactly what I’m doing. I will be majoring in Political Science and Spanish. I will pursue a Law degree and hope to represent and help children. I also have a goal of perfecting my native language because I couldn’t be anymore prouder of being Hispanic.

  • My name is Alexis and I would honestly consider myself a substitute teacher as well, except I work at a childcare center. Right now, I’m a student at Towson who’s learning to become and Early Childhood Educator. I completely understanding the difficulties of having little work that is not consistent all of the time; some days I work from 6:30 in the morning to 9:30 in the morning, sometimes I do a split shift, or sometimes I do a whole ten hour day. As a student at Towson, I’m also learning a lot about diversity and how my classroom will also have ELLs (English Language Learners) and children who struggle with learning disabilities. What I really enjoy learning about the most is the use of different experiences to make things more memorable and exciting. I have yet to gain the experience as a teacher in a classroom, but I truly hope I am given the opportunity to experience what you have when children come to trust and understand you and the lessons you teach! Those really are rewarding moments when a child appreciates what you are doing as a teacher.

  • This blog post was not what I expected. In fact, I was groaning in my chair because I could not find a blog post that was close to me or my interests; however, this young woman’s story seems to follow a very admirable journey. The more I read, the more I realized that her story was mine. I am a Mexican-American undergraduate student and often feel the similar repercussions of being a minority in an institution of higher learning. I often attend cultural events that celebrate different cultures on campus and realize that there is so much work to do. Individuals still sneer individuality and diverging cultures. Instead of celebrating and experiencing new worlds, people still feel confused and angry towards those with different roots.
    This woman has faced a lot of tough decisions. She had to make the choice of selecting comfortable living or living at all. What use would it have been to her if she would have worked her whole life and missed the milestones of her children? Also, I appreciated the post because I too see myself as a dreamer. I hope to accomplish different goals in my life, one being to share with others that which was shared with me. Stories and experiences are told and gifted because they are the piece of wisdom that give direction. They are the validation that one is not alone or abandoned in a chaotic and bustling world.
    I too wish to be a lawyer and I too wish to be the voice of the voiceless. Being able to accept many opportunities is a blessing and in turn, I must assist those who were not as lucky.
    The individual of this blogpost is correct. There is not enough credit given to teachers or substitutes when they are the members of society that hold the future in their hands. They mold and support the growth of students and often instill their unmet dreams in them. It is important to celebrate and cultivate this practice, for societies would be nowhere without the progress and advancement of those before us.

  • I am an 18 year old African American, currently an intern for a US Senate political campaign and a freshman at Towson University. My interest for politics began to sprout during my senior year of high school in a comparative government class. As a young African American man I feel fortunate to have already found an internship and a chance to network in my desired field. However, in my time working as an unpaid intern I have found that I chose the right major. In my day to day work as an intern I speak to and interact with hundreds of local voters, no encounter ever being the same. There are many people I run into that I can see the shock and confusion when an 18 year old black kid knocks on their door to talk politics. Although sometimes I feel offended I often realize that by pursuing my interests and goals i can shed a new light on someones perspective.

    Even when encountering black voters i found that initially many people were not willing to talk about a white politician when his opposition is a black female but, after hearing me out and seeing how serious I take what I’m doing I started to notice a little more open mindedness. In my time as an intern I have learned and continue to learn more about my own passions and inspirations. While I am only 18 through this opportunity I have given myself some comfort in knowing that I am going in the right direction.

  • Your story is very similar to my own story and I can definitely
    connect with you on many of your obstacles that you were struggling with. I too
    am bilingual (English and Spanish) and it is true, the job market for bilingual
    individuals is huge and they salaries offered are even better. But I am also a
    mother to a gorgeous, little one-year old boy. I am in the midst of fighting
    the battle between a working mom and a stay at home mom. I want to be able to
    provide for him up and beyond but I also do not want to miss if first steps or
    his first words. Thank you for sharing your story. I have a lot to reflect

  • I am inspired by the teacher with flexible schedule, the mother of several children and woman of hispanic descent. This determination and heartfelt kindness reminds me of my mother, Elizabeth. She is Chilean-Puerto Rican descent, she is first generation American and overcame similar obstacles with regards to her ethnicity. Instead of allowing others to create barriers, she overcame the barriers with a positive attitude and

    a determination to care for her children and husband. My mother started working as an Emergency Medical Technician when I was a small child. My mother advanced with her hard work of many stressful hours, she worked the night shift while my father worked the day shift at the Railroad. Despite the hours they were gone, I am always felt loved and cared for. Once the third child, Johnathan was born, my mother decided to

    hang up her EMT career, while she pursued the career of a motherhood. During my schooling she always took the time to teach us, by volunteering at my school as an assistant to the teacher, she carried a position on the PTA and was always an advocate of my art and creative endeavors. Despite my disabilities, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and ADHD, my mother would stay up late working with me on flashcards and supporting my

    extra study habits to compete academically, despite my obstacles. The lady in the article also was an advocate for other Latinas and her own children, this is also a reflection of my mother, who like the author, didn’t “look” the Latina part, but was. She had to prove herself to peers and subordinates because people who are uneducated don’t understand that you can be as white as a sheet of paper or black as a sharpie

    and still be Latina! My mother, Elizabeth, supports the Latina culture and does her best to interweave the culture backgrounds of our family, Chilean, Puerto Rican and Spanish, to remind of us of where we come from and what we can achieve. Like the lady in the article, my mother did not finish her degree, but didn’t allow this to be an obstacle. She pursued her endeavors with vigor and a positive attitude. I look up to her

    and respect her decisions to support the family.

  • Being a minority myself, I completely understand the difficulty of dealing with
    less educated/ignorant people. I am Turkish and Muslim and– well, do I even
    need to continue? We all know the islamophobia that’s overtaken the U.S. over
    the past few years, especially after 9/11. In fact, I used to be
    embarrassed of telling people about my religion and would frantically run away
    whenever the topic came up, not because there was anything wrong with it–
    contrary to popular belief, my religion embraces peace, harmony, kindness to
    all human beings, and equality for men and women– but because I was constantly
    compared and likened to the handful of terrorists who abused Islam and its
    teachings. In less than a moment, I was labeled as something equally as
    disgusting. It was like taking a giant sticker and pasting it on my forehead–
    “Muslim. Terrorist. Foreigner.” And I didn’t like those nasty
    connotations. I didn’t like how my entire profile changed by such a
    ridiculous label, my face contorted into something less pleasing, like an
    ice-cream cone that you suddenly realize has an ant inside of it or something. But overtime,
    I grew to embrace and love my religion. Today, I will stand up for anyone who chokes beneath the reverberating stares of cold and misinformed people. I know how it is, because I’ve been there. And while I don’t walk around screaming that I’m Muslim (what exactly would the point be to that?), I am proud of it and will always try my best to help others be proud of it, too.

    There is one particular evening that comes to mind that I’ll never forget. It was 5
    o’clock on Friday night, I was on a bus, and I was tired. Arm swinging from the
    rail above, I sleepily watched an ugly woman with a Donald Trump
    t-shirt (go figure) turn around, look me straight in the eyes, and say “I
    don’t trust any of your people” in a haughty sort of way, then nastily
    shuffle off, her fat thighs rubbing against each other. I hoped it hurt. I
    hoped it hurt a lot. And, at first, I didn’t realize that she hadn’t even been speaking to
    me, just sat there tired and groggy and slightly annoyed but not surprised and tired, then
    turned around the saw a girl in a green hijab with tears in her eyes. That woke
    me up. I walked off the bus in a daze, don’t even remember doing it, and made
    that ugly woman, whose thighs were bright red and bulging through the edge of her shorts at that point, apologize. Now, I know what you’re thinking– you made her apologize? Indeed, I did. I think it may have partly been due to the fact that I embarrassed her in front of everyone, including her kids, but she did apologize–
    it didn’t change anything and I’m sure she didn’t mean it, but she apologized. And the girl in the green hijab—Sera was her name– smiled, and that was amazing.

    I’ve found that, in life, if you stand up for something that you believe in, you will always be respected and revered, no matter your race, name, or religion. And if you stand quietly with your shoulders hunched low,
    crawling through the masses praying desperately not to be noticed, then I’m afraid you will
    always be the ant in the ice-cream. I will never again be the ant in the ice cream.

  • Being a minority myself, I completely understand the difficulty of dealing with
    less educated/ignorant people. I am Turkish and Muslim and– well, do I even
    need to continue? We all know the islamophobia that’s overtaken the U.S. over
    the past few years, especially after 9/11. In fact, I used to be
    embarrassed of telling people about my religion and would frantically run away
    whenever the topic came up, not because there was anything wrong with it–
    contrary to popular belief, my religion embraces peace, harmony, kindness to
    all human beings, and equality for men and women– but because I was constantly
    compared and likened to the handful of terrorists who abused Islam and its
    teachings. In less than a moment, I was labeled as something equally as
    disgusting. It was like taking a giant sticker and pasting it on my forehead–
    “Muslim. Terrorist. Foreigner.” And I didn’t like those nasty
    connotations. I didn’t like how my entire profile changed by such a
    ridiculous label, my face contorted into something less pleasing, like an
    ice-cream cone that you suddenly realize has an ant inside of it or something. But overtime,
    I grew to embrace and love my religion. Today, I will stand up for anyone
    who chokes beneath the reverberating stares of cold and misinformed
    people. I know how it is, because I’ve been there. And while I don’t
    walk around screaming that I’m Muslim (what exactly would the point be
    to that?), I am proud of it and will always try my best to help others
    be proud of it, too.

    There is one particular evening that comes to mind that I’ll never forget. It was 5
    o’clock on Friday night, I was on a bus, and I was tired. Arm swinging from the
    rail above, I sleepily watched an ugly woman with a Donald Trump
    t-shirt (go figure) turn around, look me straight in the eyes, and say “I
    don’t trust any of your people” in a haughty sort of way, then nastily
    shuffle off, her fat thighs rubbing against each other. I hoped it hurt. I
    hoped it hurt a lot. And, at first, I didn’t realize that she hadn’t even been speaking to
    me, just sat there tired and groggy and slightly annoyed but not surprised and tired, then
    turned around and saw a girl in a green hijab with tears in her eyes. That woke
    me up. I walked off the bus in a daze, don’t even remember doing it, and made
    that ugly woman, whose thighs were bright red and bulging through the edge
    of her shorts at that point, apologize. Now, I know what you’re
    thinking– you seriously made her apologize? Indeed, I did. I think it may have
    partly been due to the fact that I embarrassed her in front of everyone,
    including her kids, but she did apologize– it didn’t change anything and I’m sure she didn’t mean it, but she apologized. And the girl in the green hijab—Sera was her name– smiled, and that was

    I’ve found that, in life, if you stand up for something that you believe in, you will always be respected and revered, no matter your race, name, or religion. And if you stand quietly with your shoulders hunched low,
    crawling through the masses praying desperately not to be noticed, then I’m afraid you will
    always be the ant in the ice-cream. I will never again be the ant in the ice cream

  • My name is Scott Barrera and I also identify as Hispanic. I have faced a similar situation as you because of my name and my fairly white skin. However, unlike you I wasn’t brought up with Spanish because my father didn’t want me to have an accent and my mother didn’t speak it. This caused a lot of trouble in my life because i was forced to redefine what being Latino meant to me. I grew up surrounded by Spanish and the Latino culture but i couldn’t connect through it with the language and this caused a lot of identity issues with me. My struggles with my ethnicity has caused me to pursue a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology where I can better aid other people who may be going through similar issues as I did. I have since learned Spanish by studying abroad, graduating with a Spanish major and having conversations with my family. I definitely can understand being able to empathize with other marginalized identities because of my own Latino identity.

  • Hello. My name is YeonJun Kim. Thank you for sharing your story. This story struck me deeply because I also have a deep passion and belief that the best way in investing in our future is to invest in to teachers. The position of Teaching is one of the lowest paid jobs not only in the United Stated but even through out the world. While our capitalistic nature holds value and money opportunities at jobs at massive banks and corporations, I firmly hold the belief that the value of being a teacher should cost way more .How can we complain about future generation going downhill when we only hold the value of their mentors at $26,000 annual salary. A garbage man gets paid more than the average teacher in our society today. That notion alone gives our society no right to complain about our education going downhill. I think its time for our society to realize the value of money and what aspects of our culture our society holds to the highest regard, because it definitely isn’t toward the betterment of our future generations.

  • I resonate with you as the child who grew up with very busy parents. I would like to offer a glimpse into how I perceived our busy life. I loved and enjoyed every minute of it. I remember having many breakfasts and lunches in the car, in fact that was really our kitchen, and I feel those moments fostered a close relationship between my parents and I, talking about our day and listening to the radio singing songs. When the day came when my parents were able to buy my first car in high school I was actually very sad because I knew the days of eating in the car chatting with my parents were going to be over, so I actually delayed that day as much as I could. And if I could turn back time I would delay even further, it was great bonding time.

    I was always dropped off early and picked up late, but don’t worry, it really never fazed me, there are so many other kids in the same boat, it’s just like more recess after school. When my mom had to work on weekends and I would have to go with her because there was no one to look after me, it was exciting to me. Watching my mom get ready for work, going to her work environment and meeting all of her co-workers, it was like a field trip. I credit being around my parents co-workers learning to introduce myself, answering questions, shaking hands, etc. on developing social skills, it really is a great learning experience. Then of course, I wanted to help my mom work so she would give me a stack of envelopes and I was in charge of stamping them, it made me feel useful. Going to work with my mom gave me a sense of pride seeing her work hard for our family and it lit the desire in me to want to work hard and be responsible, I loved it.

    The times I had with my parents were just right for us, we treasured our moments together and that was the life we knew and it was great. So if you are in a place in your life were you feel you are always rushed and do not spend enough time with your kids, I say make the most of the moments driving from place to place, or the days when you can take them to work with you. As a child it is nice to feel that you are always with your parents, even if you are working and they are stamping envelopes, it gives you something to bond over and talk about later, I always preferred it over having a babysitter.

  • I don’t have any kids but I am currently in college pursuing a degree in education. I would have to say that my favorite part about teaching is the experience with the children. I love when their eyes light up at the moment of understanding the material. However, I understand the difficulty of picking up and trying to leave off at a reasonable spot when you are not the actual teacher. I have had to do my fair share of work in the classroom and deciphering notes at times though a thrill can be difficult at least in my experience. As well as trying to reel in the class as they tend to think its a ‘free day’ But I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

  • Your story is truly inspiring and I have so much respect for you after being able to read the discrimination you faced and what you gave up for the sake of your family. To me there is nothing more important than family and what you did for them was so selfless and something many people should admire. I can relate to your story in so many ways, first of all I am Hispanic as well. My family and I moved from Mexico to the United States when I was eight years old. At the first I did not see many difference between me and the other kids, because I lived in very small town where most of the people were Hispanic. However, when I traveled to other places in the U.S. where there is not a very big Hispanic community I really left like I was looked down on.

    Every time I would go shopping to the mall in Tucson, Arizona or San Diego, California the clerks would look at me and tell me “wait we’ll have someone who can speak Spanish right with you”. To me that was so offensive because they judged me just by the way I looked and did not even take the time to even talk to me or let me say something, they just automatically assumed I did not speak English. Even though it was hard for me to have to deal with people sometimes looking down at me, I never felt ashamed of my ethnicity. Like you, I believe that there are so many amazing things about having a Latino background and that diversity is extremely important. Being able to be fluent in both Spanish and English can open so many doors for me and I am very happy that by knowing two languages I can communicate with more people.

    Aside from being able to relate with you because of our ethnicity, I also feel like we both share a lot of the same values. I thought that you leaving your job for your kids was such an amazing thing to do like I mentioned before, and not a lot of people would do that. I feel like I would do the same for the sake of my kids or other family members. My parent’s also taught my sisters and me that there is nothing more important than family and sometimes you have make sacrifices for them. I am so happy you shared your story with not just me, but many other more people because thanks to people like you children, teens, young adults, and even grownups have someone who they can admire and get inspiration from.

  • I am not a mother or teacher, but I am a minority myself and I understand the struggle you dealt with. People automatically judge and stereotype and it is truly unfair and hurtful.

  • While I don’t have any experience raising children or changing careers the way the woman in this article does, I connect strongly both to the discrimination she faces as a Latina and her excitement about teaching. As someone currently studying to be an educator, I share her beliefs about the passion you can bring to a classroom. I cannot wait to have those “Aha” moments with my students in the future. At the end of the day, being a teacher to me means connecting with your students and using that connection not only to better educate them, but to help them grow as people as well.
    As a pale skinned half Cuban, I also identify with the discrimination that this woman received from people in her own ethnic group. I don’t look like people’s idea of a Cuban or a Hispanic. This leads to many people making derogatory comments towards Hispanic ethnic groups in front of me, assuming I won’t be affected by them. It’s difficult to include yourself in a group that you know you belong to when everyone else is saying you’re an outsider. I hope to do the same as this woman has done and use my experiences to better educate my students.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story, it truly is inspiring. I am no mother or teacher, unfortunately I can’t relate. But I can relate to you being discriminated against. I’m originally from a predominantly African American community, in North Carolina. Growing up I was always seen as different because of the way I spoke. People always tell me I talk “White” or I dance like a “White girl.” I still hear it til this day.

    A few years back I moved to California to a predominantly white community. I attended an all white school there were only three African Americans in the whole school. It was a major culture shock for me. I received racial judgment and comments through my years there. People thought I would be this “loud ghetto black girl.” They would ask me if I lived in another city which was considered a rough part. A lot of times I felt as if I was too black for white kids and too white for the black kids. It was a struggle for me having to always explain myself and my situation. According to science we are all 99.9% the same. People should base there judgment off of personality not your skin tone.

  • I share a similar experience to the author in that I am from a minority population and have sacrificed for the sake of my family. I am an Asian American, and have experienced discrimination and stereotyping in my schools and community. My high school was generally very accepting but there were a few incidents that I was made fun of because of my short stature and my eyes. As an Asian, my eyes look like they’re close whenever I laugh or squint even a little bit. It started out as a joke, but then it kept happening and they wouldn’t stop after I asked. The people in my high school that didn’t know me that well, used to place Asian stereotypes on me. Among these were being a hard worker to the point of exhaustion, having strict parents, and that I didn’t know how to speak English. These were all stereotypes that were wrongly applied to me as an Asian American. I have also sacrificed for my family. When it came time to apply to college, I only applied to those within a few hours of home. My parents had just gone through a divorce, and I wanted to be close enough to home for my sister and in the event that I would have to come home in a time of emergency. My dream college was in New York, but I settled for one in Illinois so I could remain closer to home.

  • This story is very relatable. I grew up bilingual and multicultural, these could either be an obstacle or a advantage in life. Something that really stood out to me was when she said, “I try to convince others of the value of diversity and the importance of looking at people’s hearts instead of automatically making assumptions because of their looks. Explaining the facts, showing empathy yet standing firm to defend Hispanic values and culture works best for me”. I feel like this is the main struggle I go through as a multicultural person. Sometimes finding that balance and trying to not abandon any culture over another can be very stressful and hard.

  • Thank you for sharing

    I think it is so noble of you to leave such a well paying job for your family. Your story really resonated with me because my mom has given up so much for me and my siblings. My mother is also a single mother of four, and has struggled raising us but she has done a great job. I think you are such a selfless person and I really appreicate your sharing your story.

  • Thank you so much for sharing.

    I’m in the process of becoming a teacher myself, and as much as I love my potential career, family shall always come first in my eyes. Seeking out a new job is a tremendous step in one’s future, including mine. Countless hours at school, fueled by coffee and endless note-taking, has lead me toward my future endeavors in their potential career.
    Teachers, for centuries, have molded children into learners and learners into leaders. Educators have been chosen to be bridge between the uneducated and the sophisticated. They are the only profession on earth that navigates humans out of the unknown and the rose-colored fog into their future career and desires.
    I have so much to share and a passion to teach, whether I remain encased within my hometown or explore the world; everywhere I go, there are students hungry for knowledge. I hope to shed light on current events while teaching, as well as embrace the past through various cultures, including some that are now extinct and the few that thrive on. I’ll encourage my students to embrace their differences as well as everyone else’s. I want them to gain an understanding that, through all of our differences, we are still human – we are the same. We all have a passion to absorb knowledge and blossom into the best version of humanity we can.
    I want students to strive on through their studies, even when it gets tough, and to appreciate the gift that is education. I want them to, not only be outstanding students, but humble learners whom pass on information to anyone and everyone seeking it.
    My passion to teach is not only driven by filling minds with lessons of traditional subjects, such as math, science, and English, but to instruct how to be a better person. A person who will create the future, a future that will be more understanding, capable, and compassionate than my own. It is my desire to break down the walls to connect and inspire students who will grow tired of the media’s continuing distortion of our issues and reform the world as a whole.
    As being a current teacher-aid, I see how much students can struggle in school, whether it be from leaning disabilities or because a language barrier; and I so desperately want to help and address them.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I applaud all parents who make sacrifices in order to raise their children. I grew up in a time when my mother switched careers so that she could be more available for her children. When she decided to do so, she received little to no encouragement since she would be earning less as a result of changing her career. As a first generation college student, I am so grateful for the support my mother has given me and how she has raised me. I have learned through her example different aspects of life that is often not is learned in school. I am inspired by your story and I believe more women such as yourself need to be acknowledged for the important role held by mothers.

  • Thank you for sharing your story. I love seeing parents who sacrifice so much for their child, so that they could have a better future.

  • Though I am Caucasian, I have also been on the receiving end of discrimination due to race. My mother raised me to never judge a person by the color of their skin, not under any circumstances. Growing up I lived only a few miles from Davis Monthan Air Force Base. Many of the families living in my neighborhood were quite diverse. I found myself in the minority race at my institution; I may had never noticed if it wasn’t for the discrimination I encountered.
    My best friend from kindergarten was an African American girl name DD. The two-of us were inseparable until she switched schools in 5th grade. In middle school she made a comment (in front of me) about her hating white people. I did not respond right away, I pretended the comment did not phase me instead. Later I explained to DD how this hurt my feelings and even pointed out how mad she would have been, had I been the one to say this to her. She apologized and we are still friends to this day. This was just one of many times I was shunned simply because the color of my skin did not match someone else’s.

    I am a single mother of one little girl. When I was pregnant with her I had been a hairstylist for many years. Something about becoming a mom is so life changing. I knew, the moment the doctors put that sweet little girl in my arms for the first time, everything I would do from then on would be for her. I realized soon after her birth that I would not be able to be the mom she deserved unless went back to school. I wanted to understand more about myself, psychology, and most of all, I wanted to set a good example. I quit doing hair and returned to school to further my education.
    Though I did not give up a six-figure career, hair was a career I am very passionate about. I love doing hair and still practice with family members and friends at home. I am so glad that quit doing hair, though I do miss it. I have accomplished my associates and have been accepted to a four-year college. I am already a better mother for having gone back to school. Though School limits my time spent with her, I focus on making my with her time constructive. I make time to read to my daughter every night, we always eat dinner together and I look for events to attend with her as often as possible.

    I think being a mother is first and foremost important in everything I do. I applaud you for giving up a six-figure career for one that allows you to focus on your children. I believe, if I were in your shoes I would have made the same decision. Children don’t rich parents. Children need caring, involved parents who participate in their children’s lives. Thank you for sharing.

  • Besides some jokes based on stereotypes and some name calling (without any true ill intent) during middle and high school, I did not experience much discrimination. However, that changed after I started an occupation in a pharmacy. My superiors were good people, but the customers were a different story. Some would prefer to speak with a different person due to the fact that I looked Hispanic, which I proudly am.

    This was a first for me at the time and caused me to be a bit surprised and confused. I took a calm approach to this problem, just as you have. I did not retaliate and passively directed them to someone else. I helped those who allowed me to and on occasions, when everyone was too busy, I assisted those you did not originally want me to. In the end, they fell in love me (not romantically) and my customer service, to the point where they requested me to help them the next time they came.

    It may be a due to Hispanic culture, but family is very important to me as well. While I was born in the US, my parents are originally from Ecuador. Although I did not leave a six figure job as you did, I did leave a promising position in a pharmacy in order to take care of my family. My family (parents, siblings and other relatives) were going through health and internal problems. I decided to leave my occupation and some of my academics in order to direct my focus towards solving my family’s problems. Fortunately it paid off, my family is finally in good standing and now I can direct my attention towards my academics once again

  • I loved this article written because I related to it in so many ways. Although I do not have my own children yet, I have a clear understanding of what it is like to have a mother who sacrifices for her children. Growing up, my mother gave up her job as a nurse to be able to be home with my siblings and I. She was there to send off us to school in the morning, home at night to feed us home-made nutritious dinners, bathe us, and read us bedtime stories before bed.
    I can confidently say that having a childhood that involved a dedicated mother who worked endlessly to be there for her children had such a positive affect on me and my life. Now at my college age, my foundation for life and self-confidence is so much stronger than it ever could have been because I had a mother whose love was boundless. This article reinforced the value I have for dedicated mothers, as I hope to be one one day for my own children.

  • I am a divorced single parent, retired from Wayne County Sheriff’s Department (2005). I am also a Foster/respite caregiver. I adopted two sons and enjoy mentoring at the elementary levels in Dodge County of Georgia. I enjoy volunteer work at the Christian center while in school working on my degree. I am a Christian Southern Baptist after migrating to the South from the North. Although I worked two jobs for almost 17 years I enjoy help raising my grandchildren ages 18months, 6yr, and 7yrs. I decided long ago that money was not everything. Family brings all the happiness I need. I enjoy traveling and studying other cultures. My interest is in bringing families together or creating new families to produce positive citizens in the future. I am interested in opening a orphanage ranch to service many small Counties ( Telfair, Laurens, Dodge, Bleckley and Pulaski), I was given the opportunity to receive a scholarship in the past due to a perfect gpa. I am no longer in that status but pray that I can be in the number to receive a scholarship. I work hard in my studies and I want to make a difference in my community. Thank you for this opportunity.

  • This is very inspiring that you gave up so much to provide for your family. I, too, think to be as selfless as you proved to be. Yes, having the money would have made yourself financially stable, but the stability of your family could have been in question. With this in mind, I strive to have a family-based mindset when I go into the workforce. Both of my siblings have autism and I do not think my family would have gotten through a lot of struggles without each other. Your post just highlights how family and connections make all the work worth it in the end.

  • I love your story, thank you so much for sharing. Thank you a bunch for sharing the experiences of being a teacher. I plan to be a college professor so I was very interested in reading your story.

  • My name is Charisa Bell, being still a student myself I find that teachers are taken for granted for all the work they do towards helping us students. It is a profession that is filled with a drastic difference between quality and quantity. Teachers have been one of the most influential part of each students’ success. Teachers have no choice to make any less quality of their work for their kids because they are paid so little. The balance for teachers to teach a mass quantity of kids at a quality that each student can understand and move on to the next level is one of the hardest jobs we have in society today. I can relate to this because as a college student and having a job is trying to balance quality and quantity, more work and the pressure to do your best simultaneously. Both being a student and being and employee you have to strive for the best valued work always. And one day hopefully those will both balance out for teachers and students.

  • My name is Neha Bisht and I completely relate to this article. I know the feeling of turning something down for the sake of your family. For instance I got married when I was 19 and got pregnant at 20. My husband and I are both the same age so we were not expecting to have kids until we both graduate together. After delivering my baby, I realized I have to take a semester off in order to recover and take care of my child rather than relying on daycare. Now that Fall 2017 is over and I will start my class during Spring 2018, I still feel as if my place should be at home taking care of my baby. So for the spring, I’m only going to be a part-time student rather than full-time. I want my child to know that my main responsibility is being a mother which comes first, even if it means I have to sacrifice a bit of my education along the way.

    I also want to say that I can share the feeling of being discriminated at public schools when I used to attend for my internships. I am an Indian and the religion I follow is Islam. So I’m literally the only person wearing a headscarf around my head and have everyone’s eyes on me. Working in an environment where it’s mostly filled with non-Muslims that feel slightly uncomfortable with my presence makes me feel uncomfortable. However I’m able to have more tolerance for those that different than me since I know what it’s like being different. While some of the staff members might feel uneasy around me, all the kids are surprisingly welcome and interactive towards me since I was the only one that stood out.

  • I recently declared my major in college as computer science, which is a relatively safe field in terms of the job market and pay. However, I changed my major to music education, which is much riskier when finding a job and the pay is much lower. Despite the risks, music is my passion and I would much rather do something that I love for the rest of my life than playing it safe.

  • Currently I am trying to earn my bachelors in Music education so that I can be a future band director. In my life I have been put down by men who are also trying to go into this field by telling me that I’m going to be below them. I haven’t faced much discrimination for being Hispanic other than people also don’t believe I have Mexican heritage. I once had a Spanish teacher who asked everyone with Hispanic last names if they could already speak Spanish, but she did not ask me as I have a lighter skin tone and my last name is German. It is very disappointing when people refuse to see all of my strength and perseverance as a Hispanic woman because to me it is a big part of who I am.

  • My name is Samantha Pearson and I am a current student at the University of Arizona studying Elementary Education. I am currently in a program that allows students to be substitutes on Fridays. Being in education is hard. Being a substitute is hard because the children don’t know you or trust you. It is hard to adjust to the life of being a sub instead of a teacher. Kuddos to you because I cant imagine subbing full time.

  • I can absolutely relate with this writer when it comes to being a proud Hispanic and being able to speak fluently in more than one language. Being fluent in both English and Spanish has been a huge benefit to me at work. Some of the kids that I work with speak mostly Spanish or they have parents that only speak Spanish. It feels good to be able to translate for them when they need it and to help them feel understood.

    For me, being a minority has been a blessing. I understand what the writer says about being more tolerant of other cultures. I know what it is like to be judged based on one’s race or heritage, so I make it point not to do that to others. I am always sensitive about other’s cultural tendencies and preferences.

  • Your story on how you choose to be an educator despite having a higher-salaried job genuinely touched my heart. During my undergraduate years, I initially planned to pursue a career as a quantitative analyst on Wall Street at a large business firm such as Goldman Sachs. However, I talked to several people in the profession, and they all informed me that chasing a career like that means having to give up practically any free time to spend with friends and family. Thus for several years, I was struggling to find my ideal career.

    During that time, however, I worked as a math tutor and mentor for at-risk urban students, and the feeling I got after a day’s work was so indescribably fulfilling. Thus, I decided to pursue a career as a math teacher in an urban environment, where my skills would be needed the most. I knew that by choosing this profession, I would probably never obtain a six-figure salary. However, the feeling of being a positive influence in children’s lives and helping disadvantaged youth gain access to a quality math education was much more valuable to me than money. And I am thrilled that I came upon your article to know that there are fellow role models out there for minority students.

    By serving as an educator, I seek to be a role model for underrepresented minorities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields. No matter my role, I am committed to showing others that their background, medical history, or social status has no effect on what they will be able to accomplish by applying hard work, determination, and by staying goal-oriented towards a brighter future.

  • My name is Ilseh Busarelo, I am currently enrolled at SJSU and after reading your questions and answers I can say that you have given me a lot of hope in terms of teaching. People are always telling me that teaching does not pay enough or people do not respect teachers but I continue with my chin up because I know that people need them. Teaching is about the love you put in and a passion for educating others, the money does not matter if you are providing a service to your community. I hope that someday I can be as resilient as you and prove to others that teaching is more than just trying to pay bills but trying build a better community.

  • I can relate to making minimum wage for a job that gives you no benefits and how hard it is to live off of the wage that you have received.

    I work 2 low-paying minimum wage jobs in order to pay the bills that I have to pay and because of the very little money that is left over after each month, I cannot afford to get an education and I do not want to get loans that I have to pay back for the rest of my life.

    You are a highly educated individual and it kills me that just because you want to spend more time with your family, you cannot work the same six-figure-corporate job you once did because it is not flexible and understanding of your wanting to be with your kids.

  • I can relate totally, I am currently a Substitute Teacher, I Teach K-12 at two different schools. Subbing, has lead me to getting my Post Bacc in Education. Substitute Teaching is on one the hardest, but can be the most rewarding job to have. I gained lost of experience on how to manage child and communicate with other Teachers to collaborate and for mentorship. I feel like I am a better Teacher now. I also got to learn the in’s and out’s of the schools I worked at, which gave me an idea on where and where not to work.

  • Wow. This article was able to super remind me of the huge advantage that is being bilingual.
    The quote “The biggest advantage is the feeling of trust generated when a Spanish speaking person realizes that you are reaching out to them by speaking their language,” followed by the remark that “that is priceless!” resonates with me upon recalling a certain incident that occurred whilst volunteering at a food pantry with fellow peers, when I encountered an instance of choosing to use my abilities to help others.
    I had overheard other volunteers that were slacking off been told to stop talking to their friends at the other stations and knew changing stations might get me in trouble, since the volunteer leader had begun to get frustrated, and warned us to stay on task at our assigned places. I was at a station helping organize foods into baskets when I realized another group of volunteers was struggling to understand a woman trying her best to express her needs in her second language. I couldn’t just continue to stack the cans in the back closet overhearing the miscommunications of the simple task of helping the woman fill her cart with the groceries she needed that was made difficult by the language barrier. Once I came over to help, I was able to quickly get her groceries much more effectively by speaking in Spanish. As I waved her goodbye, with a look of gratitude on our face, I turned to see a line of Spanish-speakers had formed behind me waiting to be help them next. I began to lead the rest of the volunteers, explaining to them what each person needed, so that the line could move along quicker, and everyone could be helped in a timely manner. I was told many thanks from the shoppers, even been asked to come back since it had been so much easier with me leading, and knew I had made a difference deciding to speak up.
    The fact that bilingualism can break barriers in this way and can do so much good in helping others and making them feel understood, especially to groups of underserved people in the community, is amazing. And it is a gift we should always cherish and use. Even if it isn’t a talent we possess, the attempt to understand and work with people different from ourselves or from different backgrounds is also essential and has great value. It’s the same ethics that allow us to realize whats more important in life, as the teacher in the article did.